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Shalaun D. Nelson Wins Jury Award and Apple iPad for Her Film “A Look Through My Eyes”; Naomi Nelson Wins People’s Choice Award and Apple iTouch for “Why Not?”

The votes are in, and the winners have been announced for POV’s This is My Family video competition. PBS’ acclaimed documentary series POV (Point of View) partnered with organizations, individuals and filmmakers across the country to collect video stories that expand the definition of family. The Jury Award and an Apple iPad goes to Shalaun D. Nelson of New York for her film “A Look Through My Eyes” which she describes as “a film about my father and trying to understand where he fits in my life and the impact he’s had on me with his actions and his absence.” Naomi Nelson of Seattle won the People’s Choice Award and an Apple iPod Touch for “Why Not?” a personal story about her experience in foster care and how she beat the odds to attend a four year university.

POV’s jury, comprised of a diverse panel of parents, youth, filmmakers and celebrities familiar with the issues of adoption and family, selected for “A Look Through My Eyes’ for the Jury Award based upon the criteria of honest storytelling, execution of the video in a concise, visually appealing way and overall originality and creativity of video. One juror commented: “The best of the lot. I love that we never see the father and only hear about him or see what he has written. She’s capable of doing a feature film.”

Five finalist videos were chosen by the jury, and POV website visitors cast their votes. “Why Not?” won with more than 1,000 votes. “This is the real thing, not polished. She is a great character in the midst of transformation and you can’t ask for anything more,” said one viewer. “The message that love can help heal and that this girl was able to achieve so much should bring hope to a lot of people in foster care. I would love for this to be shown to teenage foster children,” said another.

The four finalist videos are the music video “Band of Brothers: I’m Alive” by the Belles-Silcock family; “Coming to NY” by Robert Castillo; “4-Minute Memoir” by Ellie Markovitch; and “Mother” By Kimberly Scott.

This is My Family, which garnered close to 50 video submissions and more than 2,500 votes, is just one component of POV Adoption Stories, a national public-awareness campaign funded in part by The Fledgling Fund to examine issues facing adoptees and families. POV, in collaboration with an advisory board consisting of adoption professionals, media experts and filmmakers, created a multi-tired campaign consisting of three documentaries — Wo Ai Ni Mommy by Stephanie Wang-Breal; Off and Running by Nicole Opper and In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee by Deann Borshay Liem — that aired on PBS in August and September 2010, subsequently streamed online (where they were viewed over 65,000 times) and are available for free community screenings; plus online multimedia resources that include an adoption factsheet and resources for the classroom including Discussion Guides and Lesson Plans. To date, the films have been shown in 29 cities in 22 states to an estimated 4,300 people. For information on how to host a local screening, go to the POV / AmDoc Community Network and sign up.

In addition, the three documentaries, particularly Wo Ai Ni Mommy, were the most-emailed videos on the PBS Video Player for several months following their POV broadcasts. Total traffic for adoption films content reached 175,000 pageviews.

Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and beginning its 24th season in 2011, the award-winning POV series is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers. Airing June through September, with primetime specials during the year, POV has brought more than 275 acclaimed documentaries to millions nationwide and has a Webby Award-winning online series, POV’s Borders. Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today’s most pressing social issues. More information is available at the POV website.

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POV Pressroom
Produced by American Documentary, Inc., POV is public television’s premier showcase for nonfiction films. Since 1988, POV has been the home for the world’s boldest contemporary filmmakers, celebrating intriguing personal stories that spark conversation and inspire action. Always an innovator, POV discovers fresh new voices and creates interactive experiences that shine a light on social issues and elevate the art of storytelling. With our documentary broadcasts, original online programming and dynamic community engagement campaigns, we are committed to supporting films that capture the imagination and present diverse perspectives.