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Javier Flores, World Heritage Office
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SAN ANTONIO (May 3, 2021) – On May 1, 2021, the City of San Antonio's Department of Arts & Culture's Film Commission division and the World Heritage Office announced the winners of the 2021 #FilmSA Contest during a virtual celebration streamed on Facebook. With the theme of "New Beginning. New Vision. New City," the contest asked filmmakers ages 14 – 21 to showcase how San Antonio has continued to celebrate its heritage and culture during the pandemic.
"It is inspiring to see our youth play such an important role in documenting the importance and perseverance of our cultural community," said Department of Arts & Culture Director Debbie Racca-Sittre. "The talent, tenacity and thoughtfulness demonstrated by these winning filmmakers is outstanding, especially as they worked on the submissions while also experiencing first-hand the impact of the pandemic including virtual learning."
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Winners of the #FilmSA Contest, who received cash prizes of $1,000, are:
- Kyle Ward (14 – 21 age group winner) – As a sophomore at John Marshall High School, "San Antonio Strong" is Ward's first attempt at entering a filmmaking contest. Ward's film focuses on many of the locations that make San Antonio a top place to visit and how the city is welcoming back visitors in a safe way. Involved in many different extracurricular programs, Ward enjoys filmmaking as a way to express himself and his view of the world.
- Evan Materne and Amadeo Rivas (18 – 21 age group winners) – Both graduates of San Antonio's North East School of the Arts, this filmmaking team's "Maria's Café: A Small Business in a Big World" showcases the dedication of a San Antonio family owned restaurant to support its community while navigating the challenges of operating a restaurant during a pandemic. Materne is now a student at The University of Texas at Austin and Rivas attends Our Lady of the Lake University, with both driven to continue to use filmmaking to capture important cultural stories.
"The exciting aspect about this contest is how it involves our youth in the conservation of our heritage and culture, not just in the film that results from their work, but in the connections made through the filmmaking process," said Colleen Swain, Director of the World Heritage Office. "Through these visual representations, we are all able to reflect on what it means to be a World Heritage City and be encouraged to preserve and promote our cultural heritage in our own lives."
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Along with their cash prize, the winners of the #FilmSA Contest will have their films automatically entered into the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) International Video Production Competition, a contest with the same theme as the #FilmSA Contest. The international competition provides winners from locally held contests in the OWHC network to compete for additional cash prizes and recognition at the OWHC's Virtual General Assembly in September 2021.
San Antonio is a member of the OWHC network, an organization that connects more than 300 cities with a UNESCO World Heritage Site in an urban environment. The five historic San Antonio Missions were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015 and are the first and only World Heritage Site in Texas.
More information about the #FilmSA contest and the winners can be found at www.filmsanantonio.com. Information on the World Heritage Office and San Antonio's World Heritage designation is available at www.sanantonio.gov/worldheritage.
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