20/11/2014 13:01 GMT | Updated 20/11/2014 13:59 GMT

BRITDOC Impact Award Winners: American Promise, Blackfish, Granito, The House I Live In, No Fire Zone - Films That Have Changed The World!

Five exceptional films have been awarded the 2014 BRITDOC Impact Award, which recognises the standout stories on screen that are changing the world.


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The winners were announced on a huge billboard in the Nevada desert - on a road between LA and Vegas. Each film will receive $15,000 to reward their extraordinary commitment, passion and achievements.

The Nevada desert has revealed the winners of this year's BRITDOC Impact Award

This year, the Award, supported by Puma and Netflix, is shared between five very different titles, united by their success in using the power of storytelling to provoke a change to the society we live in.

The five winners are as follows:

'American Promise':

Dir. Michèle Stephenson & Joe Brewster

The 12-year journey of two African American families pursuing the promise of opportunity through the education of their sons. A vital contribution in bridging the racial achievement gap in America.


Dir. Gabriela Cowperthwaite

An expose of the controversial captivity of orcas, and its dangers for both humans and whales. From protests to petitions, the film provoked a huge backlash against SeaWorld known as the ‘Blackfish Effect’.

'Granito: How To Nail A Dictator':

Dir. Pamela Yates

Telling the extraordinary story of how a film, aiding a new generation of human rights activists, helped tip the scales of justice in Guatemala. In the conviction of a dictator Granito is a testament to the power of documentary film.

'The House I Live In':

Dir. Eugene Jarecki

Exploring the human rights implications of the War on Drugs - the longest conflict in US history, and the least winnable. Could this be the beginning of the end for the ‘war on drugs’

'No Fire Zone':

Dir. Callum Macrae

The shocking proof of secret war crimes committed during the final bloody months of the Sri Lankan Civil War. Holding the Sri Lankan government accountable for human rights violations on an epic scale.

Jess Search, Director of BRITDOC (British Documentary Foundation) says of the winning titles, "We're thrilled to be celebrating these five fantastic films, not only bringing great stories to communities but bringing about real world change. It doesn’t get better than this."

2014 also sees new innovation in the BRITDOC Impact Award with the addition of two new awards:

The Netflix High 5 - Followers of #britdocimpact are invited to participate in deciding which of the five winners receive an additional $5,000 prize. It will be awarded to the film team that gets the most support tweets in the days following the announcement. Tweets up until midnight PST on Monday 24th November will all be counted. The #NetflixHi5 will be announced on on Tuesday 25th November.

The Outstanding Partner Award - A chance to honour exceptional individuals and organisations who work tirelessly alongside independent filmmakers to make positive change in society.

Congratulations go to United Way, nominated by the team behind American Promise, who have been chosen as the winners of this year’s Outstanding Partner Prize.

United Way is a leadership and support organisation for network of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways throughout the US. Many of United Way’s local branches have incorporated the American Promise resources into their work bringing partners together on a local level.

How can you find out more?

As part of the Impact Awards we are releasing comprehensive Impact Reports on the work of each film team and their campaign partners. These stand alongside short films which give an overview of their campaign achievements. This work has been supported by Knight Foundation and Compton Foundation.