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Under 18 category

Winner in the under 18 category Dolly Deeb, who is a 15 year old student from Jordan made a moving film “Forgiveness” (above) which focuses on her struggle to come to terms with the terrible terrorist attacks that hit Jordan and how she found the strength to forgive through her Christian faith.

Commenting on the news that she had topped her category, Dolly Deeb said:

“I am so grateful to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation for giving me this award and great opportunity. I am also thankful and proud that our beautiful Queen Rania, the beloved Queen of Jordan is involved in such a big event and judged my film. The message of my film is for young people to plan love instead of hate and life instead of destruction. Violence leads to more violence and death to more death. My faith inspires me to forgive and forget. This competition is a unique experience , it gives me the chance as a young person to express my faith and to share the message of forgiveness with all.”

18 -25 category

Shiv Tandan, a 19 year old university student from the National University of Singapore from Haryana, India produced “The Guide” (above) and won the 18-25 category. This film tackles pre-conceptions about faith head on using humour; the tour guide takes a visitor on a tour through a mosque in India, giving insights into Islam and its history and it is not until the last scene it is revealed that the guide is in fact a Hindu. He calls for the audience to seek more than religious tolerance and for society to embrace other faiths and cultures.

Commenting on the news that he’d won his category, Shiv Tandan said:

“ I never expected to win! Religion is a big thing in India, and we talk about it a lot anyway, so the topic was close to heart; which is why I suppose I got the determination to do a good job out of it. I learnt a lot from the research I did; much thanks to the wonderful friends and family I’ve been blessed with. I’m really excited! Thank you!”

Film Makers category

Esteban Pedraza, a 20 year old Student currently studying at New York University Film School, and originally from Nashville Tennessee, won the Film makers category for his film “People I know” (above). This was an extremely personal story featuring his mother and best friend who have overcome the struggles of single motherhood and drug addiction through their faith.

Commenting on the news that he had become the first Faith Shorts 18-25 Filmmaker of the year, Esteban Pedraza said:

“Winning the Tony Blair Faith Foundation Faith Shorts is my biggest accomplishment so far. It’s made even better by being in the name of worldwide faith and a foundation that promotes good in the name of all human beliefs.”

BAFTA awards

The winners recieved their awards at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in front on 200 guests including Tony Blair himself, key religious figures and members of the arts, entertainment and film industry.

Faith Shorts is a global film competition run by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation providing young people with the opportunity to express their faith through film. Entries flooded in from Egypt, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Argentina, Canada, Pakistan, UK, New Zealand, Lebanon, USA, Nigeria, Singapore, and the Philippines. They were drawn from Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Humanist backgrounds. The themes of the films have been wide ranging from family loss to overcoming adversity, personal devotion and hope.

Tony Blair, patron of the Faith Foundation and one of the competition judges, said:

“I’d like to congratulate the winners of BAFTA 2010 for their powerful films. I’ve been deeply inspired by the films I’ve seen.”

“The stories they tell are incredibly powerful, some challenging, others uplifting. They all confront head on the prejudices that so often abound about different religions. I am proud to have been a part of providing these young people with the tools to share their faith with the world and I am sure the films they’ve produced will be a powerful resource in breaking down barriers between different cultures and religions.”

Jugding Panel

These stories have impressed the global judging panel which includes Tony Blair, Jonathan Caplan QC, Hugh Jackman , Anil Kapoor, Amr Khaled , Jet Li, Kishore Lulla, Wendi Murdoch, Natalie Portman, Nik Powell , Queen Rania of Jordan, Rabbi David Rosen, June Sarpong, Deepak Verma and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation Fellows.

Anil Kapoor, star of Slumdog Millionaire and TV series 24, said of Dolly Deeb’s film;

“The film maker clearly communicates that her faith teaches her the importance of forgiveness and it is this practice that has truly freed her.”

Faith Shorts judge and Hollywood actor, Hugh Jackman said after watching the films:

“I had a great time judging and viewing all the films. I think they were all very brave, very personal in nature, very honest and I found them inspiring and touching.”

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation is delighted to announce that the Faith Shorts film competition is going to be taken forward next year in conjunction with Insight Film Festival.