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The 2017 Storyhunter Staff Picks Awards

Welcome to the Third Annual Storyhunter Staff Picks Awards! Each year, we honor the filmmakers and publishers who have used the Storyhunter…
The 2017 Storyhunter Staff Picks Awards

Welcome to the Third Annual Storyhunter Staff Picks Awards! Each year, we honor the filmmakers and publishers who have used the Storyhunter platform to tell incredible stories.

At many points this year, the Storyhunter team has been inspired, moved, informed, and fascinated by the films produced by our community. The videos below represent the best of Storyhunter: the creators who bring untold stories to light, who work tirelessly in the pursuit of free press, and who span across all corners of the globe.

Congratulations to everyone who worked on these unforgettable stories!

Best Short-Form Documentaries

Protectors of the Penguins

Publisher: Hakai Magazine
Storyhunter filmmaker: Jessie A.*

Jessie A., a London-based documentary filmmaker, was traveling in South Africa when she filmed this short documentary on the world’s last wild African penguin population. She pitched the story to Hakai Magazine, an online publisher that commissions short docs about stories from the world’s coastlines.

The Last of the Iron Lungs

Publisher: Gizmodo
Storyhunter filmmaker: Jared C.

This documentary explores the life of one of the last polio survivors in America, whose paralysis is so extreme that he lives in an iron lung — a relic from life before the polio vaccine. The video has gone viral, receiving over 33 million views and 300,000 shares on Facebook.

Best Short-Form Documentary Series

Surviving, Fighting, and Escaping Boko Haram

Publisher: AJ+
Storyhunter journalist: Vlad S.

This three-part documentary series follows the stories of displaced families and refugees fleeing the violence waged by Boko Haram in Cameroon and Nigeria. From escaping Boko Haram to fighting back through education, this series is a powerful look at the lives affected by the group’s violence.

Best Mini-Documentary

The Academy Where Butlers Are Born

Publisher: Great Big Story
Storyhunter filmmaker: Alberto C.

Great Big Story turned to their freelance network on Storyhunter to hire a shooter to film this story on the International Butler Academy in the Netherlands. The video shot by Barcelona-based filmmaker, Alberto C., shows how students go through an intensive ten-week training to become one of the world’s most elite butlers.

Best Mini-Documentary Series


Publisher: Great Big Story

Great Big Story’s mini-doc series, Uncharted, explores the hidden treasures of the Earth. From Japan’s site of reversible destiny to Brazilian lagoons, these videos bring some of the world’s most unique and little-known places to the public eye. Watch two of the series’ films below or explore their playlist.

Storyhunter filmmaker: Naotomo U.
Storyhunter filmmaker: Kadeh F.

Best Branded Video

Seabourn — Passage to Inspiration

Brand: WSJ Custom Studios for Seabourn
Storyhunter filmmakers: Kevin R., Ben K., and Kieran H.

This branded video brings you to the Amalfi Coast in Italy to experience the culture of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. With this video produced by WSJ Custom Studios and Seabourn, a luxury cruise line, viewers can explore the beautiful coast and Mediterranean landscape.

Paid Program: Discover America's Last Frontier
With multiple restaurants on board, each with its own luxury flair, and countless opportunities to sample regional…

Best Branded Video Series

Starbucks Upstanders: Season 2

Brand: Starbucks Coffee

Upstanders is a branded series of short docs that celebrate ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things to affect positive change in their local communities. For the series, Starbucks hired a number of Storyhunter filmmakers to help them cover topics, such as a woman befriending her assailant and a mother rallying her neighbors to welcome refugees. Watch a couple of the stories below or see the whole series here.

Storyhunter filmmaker: Adrian B.
Storyhunter filmmaker: Damon R.

Best Untold Story

See the 1,000-Year-Old Windmills Still in Use Today

Publisher: National Geographic
Storyhunter filmmaker: Komeil S.

In Northern Iran, these wooden windmills that have truly stood the test of time — believed to be operating for over 1,000 years. This National Geographic documentary explores the history of these windmills and their last remaining protector.

Best Story Access

Walk along the US/Mexico Border Wall in 360°

Publisher: Essential
Storyhunter journalist: John D.

Essential and Storyhunter have teamed up to bring you 360° video stories shot on the Essential phone from all over the world. This fascinating video takes you through a tunnel under the US/Mexico border with a coyote, or human smuggler. With this video, Storyhunter journalist John D. gives viewers unparalleled access to a first-hand experience of how some immigrants cross the U.S. border.

Best Video for a Cause

Happy International Women’s Day

Publisher: Global Citizen
Storyhunter filmmakers: Sulayman H., Sifiso K., Sam P., Talha A., and John D.

Global Citizen is a social action platform that aims to solve the world’s biggest issues. For International Women’s Day, they asked girls around the world a question: What’s the hardest thing about being a girl in your country? Global Citizen used Storyhunter to hire five documentary shooters in five countries to film the featured sit-down interviews.

Best Ongoing News Coverage

Covering the Rohingya Crisis

Publisher: AJ+
Storyhunter journalist: Rajib M.

AJ+ has produced ongoing coverage of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar through videos published on their social media channels. These two videos filmed by Storyhunter journalist Rajib M. tell the stories of a young Rohingya mother who gave birth on the side of the road and a teen who escaped the violence with her family, only to lose her mother and brother when their boat sank.

Best in News & Politics

Fighting ISIS: Makeshift ER Treats Civilians Fleeing Conflict in Mosul

Publisher: NBC News
Storyhunter journalist: Emily K.

In June, near the front lines of the battle for Mosul, a team of volunteers and doctors set up a makeshift ER to treat injured civilians fleeing the conflict. This NBC video by Storyhunter journalist Emily K. provides a look into life under ISIS and how volunteers are helping to save lives.

Best Investigative Journalism

The Story Behind the Viral Photo of an Opioid Overdose

Publisher: TIME
Storyhunter journalist: Simon B.

This piece takes us deep into the story behind a tragic opioid overdose in Ohio. Storyhunter journalist Simon B. captures first-hand accounts of the police officers who found the scene and took the viral photo.

The Story Behind the Viral Photo of an Opioid Overdose
The photo showed a couple passed out in a car with a young boy in the backseat

Best Viral Video

This Indian inventor wants to blow apart the great sanitary pad scam

Publisher: Zinc
Storyhunter filmmaker: Mithun P.

This Indian inventor’s story was all over social media early this year, with over 27 million views on Facebook alone. The short doc by Zinc covers the inventor’s mission to create affordable sanitary pads for women in India — despite being ostracized by his family for doing so.

Best Animal Videos

Brazil’s Beekeeping Donkey

Publisher: Great Big Story
Storyhunter filmmaker: Zakee K.

This Great Big Story video brings viewers to Itatira, Brazil to meet a community of local beekeepers. One beekeeper, who needed help hauling his honey, created a beekeeping suit for his donkey in this piece shot by Storyhunter filmmaker Zakee K.

This Couple Accidentally Adopted A 650lb “Mini Pig”

Publisher: BuzzFeed
Storyhunter filmmaker: Jorge U.

Esther the pig is a social media sensation with a fascinating history. In this video shot by Storyhunter filmmaker Jorge U. for Buzzfeed, we find out how the couple adopted a mini pig that turned out not to be so mini after all.

Best Environmental Video

New Delhi on Brink of Becoming World’s Most Polluted City

Publisher: NBC Left Field
Storyhunter journalist: Rajneesh B.

This year, New Delhi surpassed Beijing’s pollution levels, prompting more than 6,000 schools to close and a 30% increase in patients with pollution-related illnesses. NBC Left Field, a new, experimental arm of NBC News, commissioned Rajneesh B. to film this short doc that shows viewers what it’s like to live in one of the world’s most polluted cities.

Best 360° / VR Video

Diving underwater with elusive devil rays

Publisher: Seeker
Storyhunter filmmaker: Daniel C.

This 360° video takes us deep underwater to swim with Mobula rays, also known as devil rays for the horns on their head. Shot by Storyhunter filmmaker Daniel C., the video gives viewers a rare look at the dwindling population of sea creatures.

Best Drone-Work

Thailand Sanctuary Built Without Nails

Publisher: Great Big Story
Storyhunter filmmaker: Nicolas A.

Believe it or not, this huge shrine in Thailand is made entirely out of wood without using a single nail to hold it together. The stunning drone work on this video shot by Nicolas A. allows viewers get up close to the highest parts of the Sanctuary of Truth to see the intricate, detailed wood carvings.

Best Use of Motion Graphics

Mahershala Ali on the N-word

Publisher: Closer Than They Appear by Jetty & Al Jazeera
Storyhunter animator: Jason D.

Using Storyhunter to manage their freelancers, Al Jazeera and Jetty created a new podcast series called Closer Than They Appear. For this video, Jason D., a motion graphics designer on Storyhunter, brought a short clip of the podcast to life through animation.

Best Livestream

LIVE from DC: Dancing against discrimination from Trump Hotel to the White House

Publisher: Fusion
Storyhunter journalist: Armando G.

Armando G. is a prolific livestreamer for Fusion on Facebook. Earlier this year, he went live from Washington D.C., where activists armed with rainbows, glitter, and music, held a dance protest against discrimination.

Best Podcast Series

Closer Than They Appear

Publisher: Closer Than They Appear by Jetty & Al Jazeera
Storyhunter Production Crew: Carvell W., Show Host & Audio Storyteller; Jessica W., Show Senior Video Producer; Joe P., Show Animator & Motion Graphics Designer; Graelyn B., Show Social Media Editor & Production Assistant; Paulana L., Show Social Media & Production Assistant; Jason D., Motion Graphics Designer; Silvio C., Video Producer; Candice W., Music Composer; Andrew S., Sound Designer; Vincent W., Sound Designer; Myke W., Sound Mixer; Brandi H., Production Assistant; Jillian R., Production Assistant; Kathryn W., Production Assistant; Erica M., Field Producer

Jetty, a part of Al Jazeera, debuted this partially-animated podcast series hosted by Carvell Wallace. On the show, Wallace confronts his own family’s history while also addressing the current state of America. So far, they’ve published six episodes with guests ranging from actor Mahershala Ali to Dr. Ayez Virji.

*You must be logged in to the Storyhunter platform in order to see freelancer profiles. Want to start hiring freelancers around the world? Request a demo.

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By the Storyhunter Staff