The inaugural No Malice Film Contest for Illinois youth and young adults has extended its deadline to Monday, May 31st. The content is presented by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation and the Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation. Young filmmakers between the ages of 11 and 21 are invited to create short films that explore and promote racial healing. The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation will help run the contest and select winners in three age groups. The project is funded through the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation with a grant from Healing Illinois, a racial healing initiative of the Illinois Department of Human Services in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust.
The name of the contest is inspired by President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address in which he called for Americans to end slavery, rebuild the nation and bind up the nation’s wounds “with malice toward none, with charity for all.” But as we learned during 2020 following the death of George Floyd and the social justice protests across the globe, the wounds still sting. To heal, we must first listen to the expression of people’s pain and lived experiences. Storytelling through film has the power to change hearts and minds. My late husband Roger Ebert said that movies are a machine that generates empathy allowing us to put ourselves in the shoes and emotions of another. Empathy can lead to more understanding and compassion, acts of kindness and or forgiveness. It’s essential that the next generation who will lead us to a better place has a chance to be heard. Perhaps they can help forge a path toward unity and harmony through their art.
We will award cash prizes at a red-carpet debut to be held at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois on July 31st of this year. First place winners in each age bracket will receive $2,000; second place winners in each age bracket will receive $1,000; and third place winners in each age bracket will receive $500. The winning films will also be shown at the Ebertfest Film Festival at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Illinois schools will use the films, and supplemental curriculum created by educators, to talk about race and the harmful impact of bias and injustice. Students will compete as individuals or in groups in three age brackets: 11-14, 15-18, and 19-21. Live action films must be between three minutes and seven minutes long. The minimum length for animated films is 45 seconds.
As part of the No Malice Film Contest, contestants and anyone interested in filmmaking have access to prerecorded sessions led by expert writers, producers, and directors. The sessions highlight the art of telling powerful stories using the medium of film. Guest speakers have included Pamela Sherrod Anderson, founder of Graceworks Theater and Film Productions and an award-winning writer, filmmaker and playwright; Rita Coburn, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and co-director of “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise,”; Oscar-nominated documentarian Steve James, who directed the famed movie “Hoop Dreams” and “Life Itself,” about Roger Ebert; Troy Osborne Pryor, a Chicago-based producer, host, and actor and founder of Creative Cypher; and T. Shawn Taylor, a writer, journalist, consultant and documentary filmmaker. You can find all the videos in the official YouTube channel of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
You can view my appearance this morning on WGN in which I announced the new deadline for the No Malice Film Contest below…
For more information on the No Malice Film Contest, visit the official site of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.