The No Malice Film Celebration

Date: September 19, 2021
Location: Navy Pier's The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

The No Malice Film Celebration honored the work of ten remarkable filmmakers, ages 11-21, who are the winners of The No Malice Film Contest, presented by the Lincoln Presidential Foundation, The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. These young artists created outstanding short films as part of Healing Illinois, a racial healing initiative of the Illinois Department of Human Services in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust.

Azalee Irving

Five acclaimed filmmakers, Troy Pryor, Rita Coburn, Pamela Sherrod Anderson, Steve James, and T. Shawn Taylor, created moving works in their own careers and shared their knowledge with aspiring filmmakers through online workshops. CHA Program in Documentary Filmmaking Director Liliane Calfee created filmmaking in the classroom seminar for teachers to get schools involved. The contest films were judged by a panel of 21 professional film critics and filmmakers who were impressed by the creativity and empathy displayed by the filmmakers.  Illinois schools will use the films, and supplemental curriculum created by educators, to talk about race and the harmful impact of bias and injustice.

Winning Directors and Films:

Ages 19-21:

  • 1st place: Anna Lee Ackermann, "As We Are Planted"
  • 2nd place: Michael Proctor: "A Call to Fight lies: Practical Steps to Fight Injustice"
  • 3rd place: Zaknafein Luken, "Hate is Not Welcome Here"

Ages 15-18:

  • 1st place: Kenya Apongule, "Hush"
  • 2nd place: Sean Emmanuel Atienza, "Puzzle"
  • 3rd place: Azalee Irving, "Interracial Relationships"

Ages 11-14:

  • 1st place: Niko Pecori-Robinson, "Be the GOOD"
  • 2nd place: London Shields, "Racial Healing in Oppressed Communities"
  • 3rd place: (tie): Abigail Eldridge, "We the People"
  • 3rd place: (tie): Jessica Wong, "Racial Justice"

The winning films premiered at a red-carpet celebration hosted in partnership with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Barbara Gaines, its visionary founder and Artistic Director, and her entire team help to create an amazing experience for our talented young filmmakers as did the Master of Ceremonies, Chaz Ebert who referenced how the stunning theater space emphasized both the joy and the gravitas of the occasion since the films presented were all about how to unite and heal the various factions in our society.

"Racial healing begins with an acknowledgment of the problem and a willingness to work hand-in-hand toward a solution. Judging from the creativity and compassion exhibited by these young filmmakers, I have tremendous hope for humanity, and also tremendous hope for the future of cinema. It gives me great satisfaction to employ the arts to give greater meaning to life itself,” said Chaz Ebert, president of The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation.

Watch the No Malice Film Contest Celebration: