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Video Contest for College Students - Press Release



NEW YORK, April 30th, 2015  Daniel Ramirez, a Film/ TV Production major at the University of California, School of Cinematic Arts, took the top prize of $2,000 in The Christophers’ Twenty-Seventh Annual Video Contest for College Students for his video entitled “Change of Heart.”  Directed and co-written by Ramirez himself, “Change of Heart” strikes a real and contemporary chord with its audience by presenting a personal, heartrending glimpse into the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

The film begins with a Jewish soldier fortunate to be alive after having undergone a heart transplant. He is being treated by a young Muslim woman, and there is a brief but angry confrontation between the Jewish soldier and the volunteer’s brother, Mohammed, who enters the room. But the girl sends her brother away before the fight can escalate.

 She also silences her patient’s anger towards Muslims by saying it is true that there is no love lost between their two opposing groups. Most Palestinians hate Israelis from a young age, so it is easy for them to become jihadists and extremists. However, she continues, the Muslim soldiers he fights are terrorists, not true Muslims. Her older brother, who was a Muslim studying to be a doctor so he could save the wounded among his people, was killed himself in the same fire fight that cost the patient his heart. The Jewish man accuses her of trying to “infiltrate the enemy” by treating him, but the young woman tells him that by saving his life, she is actually saving her brother’s. Her brother’s heart is the reason her patient is still living. This knowledge has a profound effect on the Israeli soldier whose actions in the future plant a seed of peace that he hopes will blossom in the near future.

            Continuing with the theme of how one person can create a powerful and lasting impact, second place winner Casey Garnett, a General Studies major at Harford College in Bel Air, MD, centers on several young people who talk about those whose examples have made a difference in their lives. These featured students discuss a variety of unexpected heroes who have appeared and continue to appear in our world, from historical figures like Irena Sendler, who saved thousands of Jewish children during World War II, to modern-day role models like their mothers, whose compassion and love for their families and volunteer projects continue to inspire them every day.

Finally, third prize winner Lauren Hard, who is enrolled in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, took a more personalized approach by profiling a man who made a great difference in her life and the lives of many others: her uncle who recently passed away, New York Javits Center carpenter and family man Brian Lamb. Against a backdrop of heartwarming picture and video footage, Hard narrates just how deeply her friendly, faithful, but unassuming uncle will be missed by all who knew and loved him. In his honor, the community hosted their first annual family day this past summer after his passing, combining two things they knew were important to Brian: faith and family. They hope to continue this tradition, in Lamb’s memory, for many more years to come.

            The Christophers, a non-profit organization founded in 1945 by Maryknoll Father James Keller uses the mass media to encourage individuals to use their God-given abilities to change the world for the better. The Christopher motto, adopted from the ancient Chinese proverb, is: “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”


First Place:

“Change of Heart”

Filmmaker: Daniel Ramirez

School: University of California


Second Place:

“One Person”

Filmmaker: Casey Garnett

School: Hartford College

Third Place:

“A Tribute to the Life of Brian Lamb”

Filmmaker: Lauren Hard

School: Columbia University