NewsCulture“The mask I don’t want to wear” wins the PLURAL+ youth video festival

“The mask I don’t want to wear” wins the PLURAL+ youth video festival

New York, December 9, 2020 (Innocent Iroaganachi, SIGNIS Correspondent). In the era of a pandemic when everyone is advised to wear a mask to protect oneself and others against COVID – 19, João Pedro Silva Maciel, and Vinicius Pousa from Brazil, adopted the concept of the mask, to frame an interesting audio-visual concept titled “The mask I don’t want to wear” denouncing issues that humans and the society should not wear. In the mist of the dissatisfactions, expressed in the world through ignorance, injustice, lack of respect, and understanding, as were present in the content, the video carries a message of hope and fraternity.

The 2020 Plural Plus film festival jury was composed of Charles Ayetan (Togo), Innocent Iroaganachi (Nigeria), John Geaney (USA), Pamela Aleman (Canada) and San May Nwe, a.k.a. Sunny (Myanmar). All members of SIGNIS. According to Charles Ayetan, the chair of the 5 jurors who assessed the film, alongside the others that were submitted, the motivation for the selection of “The mask I don’t want to wear” for the 2020 award is because, “the content clearly highlights pressing issues affecting universal values such as diversity, inclusion, human dignity and migration.” The jury also commended the artistic and technical dimensions, such as the narrations, visuals, editing, soundtrack, which combine to “stimulates strong emotions capable of leading to awareness and breaking down the masks of isolation, of categorization, of division that we place on the face of others.”

The awards ceremony which was streamed live on the pluralplus website: on December 4, had in attendance, the filmmakers, SIGNIS Plural + jurors, officials from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In presenting the award, the Chair of the SIGNIS TV Desk, Frank Frost remarked that the “jury called it a very poetic video, turning a COVID pandemic mask into a metaphor for fighting the much more pervasive global sickness as xenophobia and ill effects that flows from that.”

In appreciation of all the young filmmakers who participated, António Vitorino, Director General IOM remarked that “despite the obstacles due to Covid – 19, you were not discouraged from using your talent to create videos that captured your ideas and stories.” Similarly, Melissa Fleming the UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, commended the filmmakers saying the “videos demonstrate the special power of storytelling, to move people to care and to take action,” against actions that affect issues such as migration, diversity, inclusion, refugees, migration, and xenophobia.

Over 500 films and videos that had strong condemnation of xenophobia, discrimination, Christianophobia, Islamophobia, stereotyping and racism were received from young people for the 2020 plural plus award, from over 70 countries. In his appreciation of the films Miguel Ángel Moratinos of the UNAOC, acclaimed that for the viruses of poverty, violence, discrimination, etc, the videos were “the best vaccine to immune all of us to continue to fight for a better world.”

João Pedro Silva Maciel in his acceptance of the award in the company of the co-producer Vinicius Pousa, said, “we need to have more empathy and we need to make the whole world aware of this, through arts and education and most importantly, we must remove the bad masks which choke minorities and prevent them from breathing the same air as us.”

Other categories featured in the award ceremony include 2020 categories of films from up – to 12 years old, films from 18 – 25 years old, films of safe worship and films of the future we want. Even amid this difficult global situation, young people remained resolute and be able to show their creativity, as reflected in their productions to the whole world, projecting contents that “tell us that a better world is possible.”

The virtual event featured short films produced by other young filmmakers from across the globe on the pressing issues of migration, diversity, social inclusion, the prevention of xenophobia, the future of our world, and interreligious dialogue. Every year, PLURAL+ gives young people around the world the opportunity to express their vision and their creativity through multimedia production. To learn more, visit


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