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Storyhunter 2016 Staff Picks

Born from our tradition of Storytime Fridays, where we get together at our Brooklyn office and watch videos produced through the platform…
Storyhunter 2016 Staff Picks

Born from our tradition of Storytime Fridays, where we get together at our Brooklyn office and watch videos produced through the platform, we are proud to present our 2nd annual Storyhunter Staff Picks!

Whether published on Facebook or YouTube, shot in New Delhi or the Mojave Desert, these videos all have two things in common: they were made through the Storyhunter platform and they’re unforgettable.

Congratulations to all the filmmakers and editors who produced these amazing videos!


It’s Always St. Patty’s Day for This Lady

Publication: New York Post
Storyhunter Production Company: Taper Media

After posting an assignment for story pitches related to St. Patrick’s Day, the New York Post was pitched this gem of a story by video journalist Fanny Texier and editor Martin Loper of Taper Media. Once the production company got the green light, they shot and edited it, only going through two rounds of editing notes before it was ready to publish and which received over 37 million views on Facebook. Enjoy this intimate portrait of a quirky character that you’ll only find in NYC.

It’s a tradition to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, but Elizabeth Sweetheart takes it to a whole new level. Everything in her life is green, from her clothes to her hair, and she’s become a local celebrity in her New York City neighborhood.

The Lone Man Building a Cathedral By Hand

Publication: Great Big Story
Storyhunter Filmmaker: Diego Herrero

A timeless story of a man building an enormous cathedral on the outskirts of the city, Madrid-based filmmaker, Diego Herrero, shot this mini-documentary for GBS after answering an assignment calling for pitches about unique, inspiring people around the world.

For 53 years, Justo Gallego has been building a cathedral by hand on the outskirts of Madrid almost entirely by himself. Gallego has no formal architecture or construction training, but that hasn’t stopped him from toiling on this herculean task. At 90 years old, Gallego knows that he will not be able to finish the project in his lifetime. But he keeps at it anyway, day after day, driven by his faith.

Why India’s Youth Are Dating In Secret

Publication: Seeker, Discovery News
Storyhunter Journalist: Sidrah Fatma Ahmed

Based in India, freelance multimedia journalist, Sidrah Ahmed, produced and shot this mini-documentary for Discovery Digital Networks that provides a look into a relevant issue for India’s youth.

In western culture, the idea of forbidden intimacy before marriage seems pretty antiquated, but for young adults in India it’s the reality they face everyday. While not technically illegal, being physically intimate before marriage is considered immoral by many Indians, and public displays of affection often result in verbal and sometimes physical attacks. Young couples are forced to jump through hoops just to get a few hours of privacy. That’s why a new start up is trying make the process easier. StayUncle helps young couples find rooms at participating hotels that guarantee their anonymity and safety. They hope that they can contribute towards changing cultural values in India and make it easier for couples to express their affection to one another.


Great Big Story: Uncharted

This year, Great Big Story stunned all of us at Storyhunter with their Uncharted series. Each Uncharted documentary takes the viewers to some of the world’s most interesting, bizarre, and intriguing places. To develop the series GBS relied on an open assignment calling for pitches from around the world, as well as more specific assignments that they had identified back at HQ.

Title: A Medieval Abbey Trapped by Tides and Time
Storyhunter Journalist: Hela Khamarou

Great Big Story’s most watched video on Facebook with 16 million views, this is a wonderfully shot story, made possible by the persistence of their editors and Paris-based video journalist, Hela Khamarou, who fought to get this incredible drone access.

Mont Saint-Michel emerges from the tides in Normandy, France, like an ancient village from a fairytale. The coastal town built on a massive granite rock cuts a dramatic silhouette against the sky, rising from disappearing marshes to a Gothic Abbey at its height. With a permanent population of around 50, this popular tourist destination has a history dating back to at least the Roman era. Fancy a tour before the tides roll in?

Title: Wasteland Weekend Is the Real Life ‘Mad Max’
Storyhunter Filmmaker: Jonathan Barenboim

Los Angeles-based DP, Jonathan Barenboim, brings us an unusual and incredible look into the strange world of Wasteland Weekend in the Mojave Desert.

Deep in the Mojave Desert, there’s a post-apocalyptic party going on. It’s one part burning man and one part “Mad Max” with a lot of gearheads mixed in. Take a stroll through the end of the world with us.


Daddy Daughter Hair School

Publication: 60 Second Docs
Storyhunter Filmmaker: Irene Carolina Herrera

Tokyo-based filmmaker, Irene Herrera, shot this heartfelt story about an important issue fathers face. The viral video received over 28 million views and 300,000 shares on Facebook since being published on November 29.

It’s not about the braid, it’s about the bond.

Ghana’s Eco-Friendly Bamboo Bikes

Publication: AJ+
Storyhunter Videographer: Stefan Wagner

Besides the fun look at bamboo bikes, Germany-based videographer, Stefan Wagner, brings us a close look at a Ghanaian entrepreneur who’s making a difference in her community. This video went viral with over 30 million views and 600,000 shares.

Meet the Ghanaian entrepreneur who’s building bikes out of bamboo.

Refugees Have Always Sought Asylum in America

Publication: ATTN:
Storyhunter Filmmaker: Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman

You wouldn’t think a video of sit-down interviews would perform so well on Facebook. But the context and the emotional stories of these Holocaust survivors really resonated with people, and LA-based director, Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman’s video was shared over 130,000 times and racked up more than 7 million views.

The one thing Holocaust survivors want you to know about today’s refugee crisis. #Undeniable


Kollecto: Revitalizing Detroit Small Business | JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Publication: Atlantic Re:think
Storyhunter Journalist: Carlos Perez Beltran

Carlos P. Beltran, a roaming video journalist based in Caracas, worked with Atlantic Re-Think on this well shot, lit, and edited video for JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Detroit’s approach to urban renewal puts inclusion first. The goal? Fueling a recovery that provides economic opportunities for all Detroiters. Hear from the entrepreneur behind Kollecto — one small business that’s leveraging innovative funding to get off the ground. Learn more about how JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s $100MM investment is helping Detroit’s entrepreneurs get the resources they need to start and expand their businesses.

GoPro: Behind the Piñata — A Mexican Tradition

Publication: GoPro
Storyhunter Filmmaker: John Dickie

Shot on all GoPro cameras, this video was a challenge. The idea was to tell a very personal story using GoPros in unusual ways and Oaxaca-based filmmaker, John Dickie, knocked it out of the park.

Hugo Alvarez and his family own and operate a piñata shop in Mexico City dedicated to creating traditional, handmade piñatas.


Southern Style Biscuits and Gravy

Publication: LittleThings
Storyhunter Videographer: Jared Abrams

Recipe videos have been taking Facebook by storm and freelance cinematographer, Jared Abrams, shot this fun mouth-watering video that received 3.5 million views.

Prepare yourself for the most amazing biscuits you’ve ever tasted. I could eat twenty of these smothered in gravy!


Natalie Robi — Kenya

Publication: Global Citizen
Storyhunter Freelancer: Shravan Vidyarthi

As part of their “I Am A Global Citizen” series on people making a difference in their communities around the world, the video tells a story of a brave woman who educates young women about female circumcision in Kenya. The video was produced by Nairobi-based freelancer Shravan Vidyarthi.

Growing up in rural Kenya, Natalie Robi was the only girl in her community who did not undergo female circumcision. It took her years to realize how lucky she was. Now, Natalie works to encourage girls and women to say no to the cut.

Sleeping Sickness: Combating a Nasty Parasite

Publication: Gates Foundation
Storyhunter Producer: Alex Pritz

Using techniques from media companies and social media videos, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides an insightful and engaging look into African Sleeping Sickness in this video by Nairobi-based producer, Alex Pritz.

African Sleeping Sickness (also known as HAT) is a parasitic disease spread by tsetse flies. It disproportionately affects the rural poor in Africa. Today, the disease is closer to elimination thanks to advances in screening, treatment, and insect control.


Behold the Marble Caves of Patagonia

Publication: Great Big Story
Storyhunter Journalist: Mathias Meier

The Marble Caves of Chile are an incredibly difficult place to get to, but Santiago-based journalist, Mathias Meier, makes this perfectly-shot drone video look effortless.

The marble caves along General Carrera Lake in Patagonia, Chile, are over 6,000 years old. The smooth intricate shapes inside of the caves are the result of lake currents that have carved through the rock over the millennia. Join us as we tour the incredible, natural beauty of this breathtaking part of southern Chile.


AJ+ on the Black Lives Matter Movement

In the last two years, AJ+’s coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement was relentless, beating even traditional news outlets to the stories by developing real-time, mobile journalism workflows. With dozens of mobile videos and live streams across the United States, AJ+ has provided viewers with an outstanding amount of journalism on this relevant topic.

Title: Black Students Matter
Storyhunter Freelancer: Tim Exton

Seattle-based freelancer, Tim Exton, produced two well-shot videos on Seattle schools supporting Black Student’s Lives Matter.

2,000 Seattle teachers showed up for work in #BlackLivesMatter shirts.

Title: Charlotte Protesters Demand Justice
Storyhunter Journalist: Myrna Perez

An excellent example of mobile journalism, Miami-based journalist, Myrna Perez, traveled to Charlotte to cover these protesters’ stories.

Protesters call for justice during #CharlotteProtests after another black man was killed by police.


More Arrests at Standing Rock

Publication: Fusion Media Networks
Storyhunter Freelancer: Sara Lafleur-Vetter and Jonathan Klett

Despite not getting much mainstream media attention, the protests against the DAPL at Standing Rock Reservation were covered relentlessly by Fusion. Storyhunter filmmaker Sara Lafleur-Vetter and Jonathan Klett even stuck around for the snowy, frigid winter to produce this piece. It turns out that despite the wintry conditions, the protests, and the arrests, are continuing.

Sara Lafleur-Vetter and Jonathan Klett teamed up to document this protest with a dramatic snowy backdrop for Fusion in late December, 2016.


Shocking video reveals how Venezuelans survive in the murder capital of the world

Publication: New York Post
Storyhunter Journalist: Carlos Perez Beltran

A prolific journalist on the platform, Carlos P. Beltran gets incredible access to these drug dealers in Venezuela.

Venezuela has the highest murder rate in the world and many of its citizens live in poverty. When options are limited and violence is around every corner, people can resort to extreme measures like drug dealing to survive. Produced for the NY Post by Carlos Perez Beltran.

Think you produced an equally deserving video through Storyhunter in 2016? We’ve been wrong in the past and will gladly add any deserving contenders. Send us the link at community@storyhunter.com.

By the Storyhunter Staff