FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 16, 2016

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Social Impact Media Awards and Skirball Cultural Center present


Fourth Tuesday of the month, April–August 2016, at 7:30 pm

Monthly series of documentary films and panel discussions
showcasing the best global impact cinema from the

4th Annual Social Impact Media Awards

LOS ANGELES, CA—The Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA) and the Skirball Cultural Center announce a monthly screening series of 2016 SIMA award-winning documentary features. The SIMA Impact Cinema: 2016 Winners Series at the Skirball presents eye-opening films that celebrate storytelling from the front lines of today’s global issues. Presented at the Skirball Cultural Center on the fourth Tuesday of every month from April through August, each screening will be followed by a panel discussion with filmmakers and key stakeholders in the issues at hand.

Established in 2013, SIMA recognizes excellence in social impact cinema worldwide, distinguishing films for their potential to inspire activism, compassion, and social transformation. Selected from 255 films and 96 countries, the five 2016 winning films come from Ethiopia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and the United States. In Crocodile Gennadiy (Almost Holy), viewers will come face-to-face with a local vigilante who kidnaps and rehabilitates drug-addicted street kids. The True Cost reveals that exploitation has many faces when it comes to the fast-fashion industry. From there, audiences can explore the changing fates of the “cursed” Omo Child in the Kara tribe in Southwest Ethiopia. Next, Dreamcatcher follows Brenda Myers-Powell, a former prostitute turned mentor, as she illuminates the trials and tribulations of young prostitutes in urban Chicago. And lastly, Tell Spring Not to Come This Year journeys deep into an Afghan National Army Unit’s harrowing first year after the departure of NATO forces.

Panel discussions will enable audiences to learn more about the making of the films and delve even deeper into the stories told. Filmmakers will share their creative choices, their means of connecting with vulnerable and sensitive subjects, and their often daring methods of recording harsh realities. Additional panelists will include humanitarian aid workers, government officials, NGO representatives, cultural anthropologists, social justice activists, as well as development, education, and human rights experts.

Daniela Kon, SIMA Founder and Executive Director, explains, “These courageous filmmakers and activists re-imagine socio-political filmmaking. They set new standards for transparency, integrity, and creativity, while transforming their cameras, their narratives, and, by extension, their audiences into vehicles for social justice. We're proud to champion such an extraordinary range of global stories and filmmakers at the Skirball, and look forward to meeting the demands of LA audiences in the midst of a national debate on diversity in the film industry.”

“Partnering with SIMA is a natural fit for the Skirball,” says Andrew Horwitz, Skirball Vice President and Director of Programs. “Creating opportunities for marginalized voices to be heard and space for meaningful conversation is central to our dedication to social justice and democratic ideals. With this exceptional series of timely and important films, SIMA has identified voices that urgently need to be heard. The Skirball is proud to provide a place to hear them.”

About the Films

The 2016 Winners Series at the Skirball will be presented at 7:30 pm on the fourth Tuesday of each month from April to August, beginning on April 26 and concluding on August 23. Each screening will be accompanied by a panel discussion. Detailed descriptions of the films follow. Panelists will be announced in the coming weeks.

For the latest updated information on the series, please visit

Tuesday, April 26, 7:30 pm

Discover the story of Gennadiy Mokhnenko, a pastor who has made a name for himself by forcibly abducting homeless drug-addicted kids from the streets of Mariupol, Ukraine. Award-winning director Steve Hoover (Sundance 2013 Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for Blood Brother) presents a captivating portrait of a man who, amidst the ongoing struggle for post-Soviet revitalization in Ukraine, still has hope for the future. Winner of the SIMA 2016 Awards for Best Documentary and Best Editing, as well as the Jury Prize for Stylistic Achievement. Directed by Steve Hoover. (Ukraine, 2015, 96 min. No MPAA rating. Viewer discretion advised. In English and Russian with English subtitles.)

Tuesday, May 24, 7:30 pm

The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. A story about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the fashion industry is having on the world, The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary that asks us to consider who really pays the price for our clothing. Spotlighting stories from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, and featuring interviews with the industry’s leading influencers, including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth, and Vandana Shiva, The True Cost is an unprecedented project that invites us on an eye-opening journey into the lives of the people and places behind our clothes. Winner of the SIMA 2016 Jury Prize for Lens to Action. Directed by Andrew Morgan. (USA, 2014, 92 min. Rated PG-13.)

Tuesday, June 28, 7:30 pm

At the age of fifteen, Kara native Lale Labuko learns of mingi. This traditional belief held by the Kara tribe in the Omo Valley of Ethiopia demands that certain individuals—whether born out of wedlock, or whose top teeth grow in before their bottom teeth, or those who are born a twin—are “cursed” and should be killed. Lale not only strives to save these children’s lives by adopting them as his own, he also attempts to reconcile with Kara elders to end the practice in order to protect the longevity of his people and his culture. Filmed over a five-year period, this documentary paints stunning portraits of Ethiopian landscapes as it follows Lale’s journey where he confronts his own death, negotiates deeply rooted superstition, and navigates the difficult position of leading a cultural movement. Winner of the SIMA 2016 Jury Prize for Ethos. Directed by John Rowe. (Ethiopia, 2015, 89 min. No MPAA rating. In English, Kara, and Amharic with English subtitles.)

Tuesday, July 26, 7:30 pm

Dreamcatcher examines the cycle of neglect, violence, and exploitation that leaves thousands upon thousands of girls and women believing that prostitution is their only option to survive. Following Brenda, a former teenage prostitute who worked the streets of Chicago, Dreamcatcher enters the day-to-day lives of these young people and sees their world through their eyes. While many have overlooked these women, thankfully Brenda has not. This unflinching exposé contrasts seeming hopelessness against the difference that one person can make in the lives of many. Winner of the SIMA 2016 Award for Best Director. Directed by Kim Longinotto. (USA, 2015, 104 min. No MPAA rating.)

Tuesday, August 23, 7:30 pm

Tell Spring Not to Come This Year follows a unit of the Afghan National Army (ANA) over the course of their first year of fighting in the Helmand province without NATO support. This intimate and humanist film explores a largely unheard and misrepresented perspective, revealing the deep personal motivations, desires, and struggles of men on the front lines. Without a NATO soldier in sight, the film presents the war in Afghanistan through the eyes of the Afghans who live it. Winner of the SIMA 2016 Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Sound Editing. Directed by Saeed Taji Farouky and Michael McEvoy. (Afghanistan, 2015, 82 min. No MPAA rating. In Dari with English subtitles.)

About the Social Impact Media Awards

The Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA) celebrates social-documentary storytelling of excellence and connects international audiences and organizations with the best global impact cinema. SIMA started as the first documentary and educational media awards, honoring members of both the independent film and global humanitarian industries. Over the years, SIMA developed a screening series spanning 6 continents, educational programs, community outreach initiatives, and an ever-expanding film catalogue, The SIMA Collection, curating and distributing the best impact cinema from around the globe. Through the annual SIMA Awards and year-round film programs, SIMA provides a catalyst for these important works, and serves as a film reserve for educators, journalists and screening partners worldwide. |@sima_awards

About the Skirball

The Skirball Cultural Center is dedicated to exploring the connections between 4,000 years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals. It welcomes and seeks to inspire people of every ethnic and cultural identity. Guided by our respective memories and experiences, together we aspire to build a society in which all of us can feel at home. The Skirball Cultural Center achieves its mission through educational programs that explore literary, visual, and performing arts from around the world; through the display and interpretation of its permanent collections and changing exhibitions; through an interactive family destination inspired by the Noah’s Ark story; and through outreach to the community.

Visiting the Skirball

The Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049. Museum hours: Tuesday–Friday 12:00–5:00 pm; Saturday–Sunday 10:00 am–5:00 pm; closed Mondays and holidays. Admission to exhibitions starting March 1, 2016: $12 General; $9 Seniors, Full-Time Students, and Children over 12; $7 Children 2–12. Exhibitions are always free to Skirball Members and Children under 2. Exhibitions are free to all visitors on Thursdays. For general information, the public may call (310) 440-4500 or visit The Skirball is also home to Zeidler’s Café, which serves innovative California cuisine in an elegant setting, and Audrey’s Museum Store, which sells books, contemporary art, music, jewelry, and more.