Home News & Features Hilton Worldwide, Sundance Institute Announce 2013 LightStay Sustainability Film Award Winners

Hilton Worldwide, Sundance Institute Announce 2013 LightStay Sustainability Film Award Winners


MCLEAN, VA.—Hilton Worldwide and Sundance Institute announced the winning documentaries of the second annual Hilton Worldwide LightStay Sustainability Award program. Selected by the Institute’s Documentary Film Program and Fund with Hilton Worldwide, the feature film Revolutionary Optimists will receive $22,500, as will the in-process category winner, Hungry; Studio H will receive $15,000 for honorable mention; and the short film Jungle Fish will receive $5,000. The prizes will be presented at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at an invitation-only panel discussion with directors of the winning films for Revolutionary Optimists, Hungry and Studio H, with moderator and film writer, David D’Arcy, during the Festival on Sunday, January 20.

“Filmmakers have an opportunity to share stories that can catalyze change and elevate dialogue around critical global issues,” said Christopher Corpuel, vice president, product management and sustainability, Hilton Worldwide. “The LightStay Sustainability Award recognizes these compelling documentary projects for inspiring solutions and highlighting the complexities around living in a resource-constrained world.”

“Sustainability issues and solutions around the health of our communities are urgent and critical topics for many documentary filmmakers,” said Cara Mertes, director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund. “Further, the support provided directly to documentary filmmakers through this collaboration between Hilton Worldwide and Sundance Institute will help ensure the sustainability of these independent artists in their careers.”

Thousands of Entries in Competition

The 2013 LightStay Sustainability Award winners were chosen out of 1,500 feature-length documentaries and more than 5,000 short film entries submitted to the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund. The winning films each reflect global issues relevant to Hilton Worldwide’s business and community impact. Showcasing the interconnection between sustainability, economic and community development, the award winners are:

•    Revolutionary Optimists (Feature)—Children are saving lives in the slums of Kolkata. Amlan Ganguly doesn’t rescue children living in slums; he empowers them to become change agents, battling poverty and transforming their neighborhoods with dramatic results. Filmed over the course of several years, The Revolutionary Optimists follows Amlan and several of the children he works with on an intimate journey through adolescence, as they fight for the better future he encourages them to imagine is deservedly theirs. Directors: Nicole Newnham and Maren Grainger-Monsen.

•    Hungry (In-Process)—The eroding biodiversity of our global food crops, and potentially dire consequences of climate change to agriculture, threaten us greatly. Veteran agriculture pioneer Cary Fowler ardently tries to conserve our remaining crop diversity in a gene bank under the Arctic Circle. His journey is just the beginning: Gene banks of the world are crumbling, crop failures are leading to starvation and food rioting, and the accelerating effects of climate change are already visible to farmers everywhere. A perfect storm is brewing for agriculture, as Cary races against time to ensure the security of our global food supply. Director: Sandy McLeod.

•    Studio H (Honorable Mention)—Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller teach the fundamentals of design, architecture and construction to a class of high school juniors in rural North Carolina. Faced with rising unemployment rates, a struggling educational system and extremely limited resources, the people of Bertie County, North Carolina, turn to Pilloton, Miller and their students for help and discover that what the class designs and builds for their hometown has a chance to transform their community for generations to come. Director: Patrick Creadon.

•    Jungle Fish (Short)—For decades, the native people of Guyana have struggled for economic independence. Poverty and illiteracy have forced many of the adults into a life of lawlessness and poaching while their children often flee the country to seek work in Brazil’s dangerous mines. But hope might be prowling in Guyana’s rivers in the form of the largest freshwater fish in the world, the arapaima. The film follows three expert fishermen on a two-week voyage deep into the heart of Guyana’s rainforest to demonstrate that the arapaima can be caught with a fly rod. If they succeed, it will prove that the country’s fledgling sports fishing industry is viable and able to provide a brighter future for the native people, the rainforest they call home—and the endangered arapaima. Director: Louisiana Kreutz.

Last year, Hilton Worldwide launched the Hilton Worldwide LightStay Sustainability Award in support of Sundance Institute and presented the first awards to The Island President and Solar Mamas. The Hilton Worldwide initiative supports the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund’s full range of year-round activities, including by awarding grants to documentary film projects focusing on a broad range of sustainability and global development issues.

Click here to learn more about Hilton’s sustainability efforts.