BY ISN STAFFNovember 3, 2015

Stones, a short film by Creighton University student Nico Sandi, has won First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in the Voices From the Margins’15 social justice film contest co-sponsored by America Media and the Ignatian Solidarity Network. A gripping profile of the last man to be executed in Nebraska, Sandi’s entry bested 70 submissions from over 50 universities throughout the U.S.

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Click to watch “Stones” and the other winning entries.

The general public was invited to vote for their favorite video. Fan voting comprised 15% of the final tally, which included voting from a distinguished panel of judges. Panelists included WGBH Boston VP John Bredar, creator of the FOX hit series “Glee,” Ian Brennan, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, Jesuit priest and best-selling author James Martin, S.J., Pulitzer-winning journalist and human rights advocate Sonia Nazario, HBO documentarian Alexandra Pelosi, WNBC anchor Shiba Russell, NBC congressional correspondent Luke Russert, Emmy-winning journalist Maria Shriver, and Catholic Relief Services CEO Carolyn Woo.

Second Prize went to Steven Abriani of Loyola University Chicago for Wind in the Trees, an exploration of the voices of LGBTQ youth and overcoming feelings of depression and suicide. Ifeanyi Ezieme of Pepperdine University won Third Prize for Black Tracked: an Auto-ethnography of Ifeanyi Ezieme, which examines Ezieme’s experiences as an African American male in an urban school.

Official selections were:

  • My Eyes are Up Here, which depicts the story of a young woman named Sophie who seeks to overcome stereotypes surrounding her prosthetic leg, by Abigail Armstrong, The University of Alabama;
  • Hermandad en Ferguson, which examines the the struggles and peacemaking efforts of Ferguson’s Hispanic community, by Mary Dulle, Loyola University New Orleans;
  • More Alike than Different, illuminating the relationship and friendship of a sister with her older sibling who has down syndrome, by Haley Labian, Loyola University Chicago

The films can be viewed here.

Winners will receive prizes including camera gear from BlackMagic Design. Sandi and the other top finishers will premiere their films at a new film festival at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ) this weekend. A record crowd of 1,600 will attend this year’s Teach-In, which is the largest annual Catholic social justice gathering.

“The Margins ’15 finalists illuminate the broad range of justice issues that college students are engaged in today,” said Christopher Kerr, Executive Director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. “We are delighted to partner with America to highlight their talents and the “voices from the margins” they have illuminated through their efforts.”

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