Winners of UN video contest head off to spotlight hunger in Guatemala

2 March 2010 – Two aspiring filmmakers from Mexico, the grand prize winners of an annual video competition held by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to raise awareness of the world’s one billion hungry, are heading to Guatemala to highlight the plight the drought-ridden country’s people.

More than 60 video entries streamed in from around the world for this year’s hunger bytes! competition, which involved nearly two months of voting on the YouTube website.

Carlos Antonio Michel Sandoval and Miguel Angel Mier Delgado of Zacatecas were chosen in the over-18 category by a panel of judges that included Drew Barrymore, actress and WFP Ambassador Against Hunger, Steve Grove, Head of YouTube News and Politics, and Nancy Roman, Director of Communications, Public Policy and Private Partnerships at WFP.

“There are so many innovative ways to join in the fight against hunger, especially with new media,” said Ms. Roman. “Young people often ask how to help, and I tell them: ‘Use your creativity to get people to talk about hunger in the virtual world’. The new media open up so many new avenues.”

The amateur filmmakers from Mexico produced a provocative video entitled “Dreams” which shows that for some people in the world, weight loss is not choice.

Mr. Delgado said he was inspired by the situation he sees from his life in Mexico. “Hunger and inequality are part of daily life here. Being witness to this is depressing and I want to do something to change it… to have an impact no matter how small.”

He and Mr. Sandoval will now try out their filmmaking skills in Guatemala, which has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world and whose severe food crisis has recently been worsened by prolonged drought.

WFP is planning to assist almost a quarter of a million people in the Central American nation with life-saving food rations over the next 5 months.

The winner in the under-18 category is John Beck, an American student at Ambrit Rome International School, Italy, who won a full web video production kit, provided by AVID Technology, industry leaders in video editing software.

In his video, entitled “Dinner is Served,” a Silver-Service waiter elegantly presents a ready-to-eat food ration, similar to those recently given to hungry people during the Haiti earthquake emergency.

“I really enjoyed working on the video and was glad to see that so many people had seen it and received its message. Every hungry child is our responsibility,” said the 14-year-old Beck.

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