The 2018 Storyhunter Staff Pick 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, the producers who take brands to new heights, the journalists who work tirelessly in the pursuit of free press, and those who span across all corners of the globe.
Congratulations to everyone who worked on these unforgettable stories!
Best Short-Form Documentary
Venezuela Violinist Flees Violence to Seek U.S. Asylum
NBC Left Field
Storyhunter filmmaker: Carlos B.*
Carlos B., a Venezuelan born, NYC-based documentary filmmaker, was covering the deadly protests against Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro when he first saw Wuilly Arteaga playing his violin on the front line. Artaega became a symbol of resistance, and was jailed and tortured by Venezuelan authorities. He fled to the United States for safety, and awaits the government’s decision on his political asylum. Here, Carlos is able to reunite with Wuilly, and capture his story as it progresses.
The Amazonian Tribe Defending Their Land with Technology
Al Jazeera English
Storyhunter filmmaker: Julia M.
Nearly 70% of the Ecuadorian Amazon has been leased to oil companies, much of which is territory inhabited by nine indigenous nationalities. The most recent oil auction by the government is set to include the territory of 18 roadless Waorani communities. In order to fight this decision, the Waorani developed a high-tech mapping project. They have mapped 180,000 hectares with 10,000 GPS points. Armed with technology, this Amazonian tribe is saying, “our land is not for sale.
The Muslims Preserving Kolkata’s Last Jewish Synagogues
Storyhunter filmmaker: Ana G.
Atlas Obscura published this mini-doc on the Muslim caretakers who look after the historic Jewish synagogues in Kolkata, India. They discuss the similarities between the former Jewish inhabitants and themselves, and how they were able to coexist. Documentary filmmaker Ana G. pitched and produced this story for Atlas Obscura, who are known for their surprising and untold stories from around the world.
Best Branded Editorial Video
Starbucks Journey to Milan
Storyhunter filmmaker: Pete K.
Without the romance of Italian espresso and the Italian people Starbucks would still be a beloved local coffee company with four stores. Discover how Howard Schultz’s trip to Milan in 1983 changed the future of Starbucks.
Best Product Explainer Video
Transforming Finance in Emerging Markets with Blockchain
Storyhunter Filmmaker: Lucas H.
Airfox is a revolutionary finance app that uses blockchain technology to reinvent how people bank and borrow money. They have been particularly impactful in emerging markets, such as Brazil. They wanted to highlight their work using video-storytelling, and hired Storyhunter Lucas H. and his production company Volt Films to produce a series of testimonials, explainers, and case studies from start to finish.
Best Customer Testimonial
War Secrets Revealed by MyHeritage DNA
Storyhunter filmmaker : Mathieu O.
MyHeritage, the DNA based ancestry company that allows you to learn about your lineage, has been highlighting their customers’ real experiences meeting family members for the first time. In this video, a man from South Carolina discovers that he has a brother in France, a secret from his father’s war days. They hired documentary shooter Mathieu O. to capture this sentimental moment.
Best Case Study
Compac Citrus Case Study — Jorge Schmidt
Storyhunter Documentary Shooter: Mathias M.
TOMRA Sorting, a food industry machine manufacture, acquired Compac in 2017. To demonstrate their abilities in food sorting and packaging, they began producing a series of case studies and customer testimonials, using Storyhunter to find the production companies. Their first testimonial with Jorge Schmidt took place in Santiago, Chile and tells the story of how their technology revolutionized Schmidt’s business.
Best Videos for a Nonprofit Initiatives
Beating Malaria in Zambia
Storyhunter filmmaker: Shravan V.
In partnership with Medicines for Malaria Ventures (MMV), Gates Foundation highlighted a drug innovation in Zambia to help lower the severe malaria burden in remote regions. The rectal suppository (RAS) is the first medicine used as a ‘rescue drug’ given to children who are dealing with severe malaria symptoms. The RAS provides a buffer of relief and time needed in order to transport the child to a health facility where they can receive full treatment. They hired Storyhunter to Shravan V. to build out a production team, and capture this compelling produce this video from start to finish.
HERproject: Empowered Women, Dignified Work, Better Business
Storyhunter Documentary Shooters: Naotomo U., Shravan V., Adam R., and Anirban M.*
BSR, a global nonprofit that develops sustainable business strategies and solutions, needed to film a video showcasing the business women empowered by their HERproject initiative. They chose to tell the stories of three women from Bangladesh, Kenya, and China. The video demonstrates how women in global supply chains are changing the lives of their female colleagues by sharing knowledge and skills through their Peer Educator program. BSR hired four different local Storyhunter shooters to film the stories.
Best Agency Video
Pluralsight One: Our Commitment to Driving Social Impact
Storyhunter filmmakers: Djorven A., Naotomo U., Mohannad R.
Tectonic, a creative agency in Chicago, was creating a branded film for Pluralsight working to equip nonprofits with the technology skills they need to create the future. This short film features four individuals from around the world answering the question, “What do you want to create through technology?”. They hired Djorven A., Naotomo U., Mohannad R. for shoots in Kerala, Kenya, and Jordan, and put together this incredibly moving video.
Best Educational Videos
Modern Leadership: Give & Get Honest Feedback at Work
Storyhunter editor: David H.
Skillshare is an online learning community for people who want to learn from educational videos. Alongside industry professionals, they create and curate informational content for a large audience. They use Storyhunter to find and hire editors to help put together their series, like this one on Modern Leadership.
Best Untold Story
This Self-Taught Taxidermist May Be the Last One in India
Storyhunter filmmaker: Karen D.
India’s ban on hunting has nearly killed the art of taxidermy. Santosh Gaikwad, an anatomy professor, became interested in the practice, and may be the last taxidermist in the country. National Geographic found this story when Storyhunter filmmaker Karen D. pitched to their Open Call for stories for their digital initiative.
Best Videos for a Cause
This Secret Gave Her Daughter Cancer
Storyhunter filmmakers: Nicholas M.
Change.org wanted to tell the story of a petition started on their website by the parents of over 50 children with rare forms of cancer. The families all live within miles of Santa Susana Field Lab, the site of one of worst nuclear meltdowns in U.S. history. Melissa, who founded the campaign after her daughter Grace was diagnosed with leukemia, is spearheading the petition to get the site cleaned up once and for all, so that no one else is put in danger. Change.org used Storyhunter to commission Nicholas M. to shoot the video.
Trans Pioneer Moves Equality Forward in Chile
Human Rights Campaign
Storyhunter filmmakers: Mauricio M.
Alessia is the first person to publicly transition at work in Chile. HRC believes that no one should face fear and discrimination at work, which is why they’re expanding their workplace equality programs into Latin America. With filmmaker Mauricio M., they captured Alessia’s story and highlighted how HRC will help people like her.
Best Viral Video
The Yellow Lady: Woman’s World is Drenched in Color Yellow
New York Post
Storyhunter filmmaker: Fanny T.
Garnering 6.8 million Youtube views, this episode of ‘Extraordinary People’, features Los Angeles resident Ella London who is obsessed with the color yellow. “Anything I can make yellow in my life, I will make yellow,” The Yellow Lady said, while giving a tour of her sunshine-hued home. This video falls into a New York Post series with the Pink, Green, and Blue ladies who lead similar, but different color, lives.
Best Animal Videos
60 Second Docs
Storyhunter Documentary Shooter: Rowen S.*
60 Second Docs produced this story on Pigcasso — a famous painting pig in South Africa. The pig’s artwork goes for thousands of dollars and helps raise awareness about animal cruelty. After being saved from the slaughterhouse by Joanne Lefson, a South African animal rights activist, Pigcasso has gone on to create dozens of paintings, including a viral portrait of Donald Trump. To shoot the story, 60 Second Docs posted an assignment on Storyhunter and hired Rowen S., a Durban-based filmmaker.
Donkey And His Mom Celebrate Their Emotional Journey
Storyhunter Documentary Shooter: Jasper N.
This donkey was depressed after he lost his baby boy. But the woman who adopted him knew exactly what he was going through and figured out the sweetest way to make him feel at home. On this episode of The Dodo’s Party Animals, Ronnie’s mom throws him a very emotional 5th rescue-versary party to celebrate their amazing journey. Covered by Storyhunter producer Jasper N., who would go on to do a number of projects for The Dodo in 2018.
Best Environmental Video
The Place Where People Eat Food Grown from Rubbish
Storyhunter filmmakers: Ana G. and Aranya S.
A man in Kolkata, India turned a polluted landfill site into a field for growing crops, which he sells at local markets. This incredible story was found by filmmakers Ana G. and Aranya S. and submitted to BBC Reel via their Calls for Pitches on Storyhunter.
Best 360° / VR Video
The Disappearing Oasis
Contrast VR by Al Jazeera
Storyhunter fixer: Abdellah A.
The Disappearing Oasis, an immersive film by Contrast VR, illuminates desertification, which threatens the livelihood of more than 2 million people living in the oases (fertile areas in a desert) in Morocco. Climate change is one of the main causes for degradation of these fragile ecosystems. Lack of opportunities drive people away from oases leaving empty lands for the Sahara to grab. While locals cannot save oases by themselves, Halim plants palm tree seeds every year to stop desertification.
Best Use of Motion Graphics
The Best Goal of All Time?
Storyhunter animator: Jason D.
Jetty is a new audio-focused media brand from Al Jazeera. In their series, Game of Our Lives, they highlight sports matches throughout history that had monumental effect, either on the sport, or the culture surrounding it. They hired Storyhunter motion graphics designer Jason D. to handle the animations.
Go Inside Violent Yellow Vests Protest in Paris France & Live From Ted Cruz v. Beto O’Rourke GOP Viewing Party at the Redneck Country Club
Storyhunter filmmakers: Flavien C. , Amber G., Cindy M., Andrew K.
Happs, a new digital publisher, focuses exclusively on live coverage of breaking news. They use the Storyhunter network to quickly find mobile journalists on the ground to report on events as they unfold. Below are two of our favorites from this year: the clashes between protestors and Police in Paris, and the tense rally during the senate race in Texas.
Best Ongoing News Coverage
Rohingya Crisis Coverage
Storyhunter filmmakers: Rajib M., Maher S., John O., and others.
For the second year in a row, we honor AJ+ with the Best Ongoing News Coverage award, for their in depth look into the fall out of the Rohingya crisis. After these Muslim people were purged and displaced from their villages in Myanmar, they were forced to live in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Due to harsh conditions and little support from the government, the Rohingya have struggled to prevail.
Best Mini-Documentary Series
Great Big Story
Great Big Story’s mini-doc series, Human Condition, highlights the unique, impressive, bizarre and inspiring people around the world that make it so special. From the Indonesian, hijab wearing metal band making noise in a quiet village, to the sole guardian of the secluded Italian island of Budelli, these videos showcase some of the world’s most interesting people. Watch two of the series’ films below or explore their site.
New York Post
NY Post’s series Extraordinary People highlights some of the world’s most interesting, peculiar, and extraordinary people in a weekly show. From the subway wizard of NYC, to the woman paid to lick peoples’ eyeballs, there is surely something for everyone.
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By Jordan M. Rapaport, Storyhunter Editor