Humanity over sensationalism: refugee film wins Insight Award

The Insight Film Festival: encouraging students to make films about ‘faith’
The Insight Film Festival: encouraging students to make films about ‘faith’

The winner of the third Insight Film Festival Student Filmmaker Award, which is supported by the Jesuits in Britain, has just completed a life-changing six-week internship with Loyola Studios, a film production company based in Hollywood. Lina Luciano was given the Award for her film entry Headline! Machiavelli, which focuses on how the European refugee crisis is represented in the media.

The Insight Film Festival aims to encourage filmmakers throughout the world to make films about ‘faith’, by creating events and spaces where such films can be displayed, discussed and celebrated. Participants from all faith backgrounds and none are welcome to submit entries and the Festival focuses particularly on young filmmakers. In doing so, it is seeking to make positive contributions to understanding, respect and community cohesion.

The 2016 Insight Film Festival attracted the highest quality of entries the awards has ever had. Lina says that the hope that she portrayed in Headline! Machiavelli was, and continues to be, in humanity prevailing over sensationalism: “The headlines during the refugee crisis seemed to change… depending on the mood of the nations, and failed to consider the subjects as people. I wanted to expose this through the film and also reflect the compassion that was expressed during this time.”

Creativity and humility

Lina Luciano is a distance BA student at Macquarie University (a public research university based in Sydney, Australia), majoring in politics and minoring in film.  She wants to work in documentary filmmaking, focusing on human rights advocacy, and says that this is a pivotal point in her career, since she has had to work part-time in London (from Australia), leaving her little time to gain additional practical filmmaking skills outside of study and work. Yet, according to the Film Festival’s organisers and judges, her entry clearly demonstrated that she is very talented and has something important to say about the world.

“Lina’s film and passion for filmmaking shone through to all of the Awards Jury at Insight,” says Insight Film Festival Director Abdul-Rehman Malik. “She combined her creativity with a humility which was truly breath-taking to watch and we were honoured to award Lina with this year’s prize. We hope that Lina will follow in the footsteps of previous Student Filmmaker Award winners and use this opportunity to kick-start a promising filmmaking career.”

A commitment to all faiths – and noneLina Luciano in the Loyola studios in Hollywood

The prize for the Insight Film Festival Student Filmmaker Award, including expenses, accommodation and flights, was provided by the Jesuits in Britain; Lina’s internship was hosted by the Jesuit Loyola studios in Los Angeles, where her film project ‘Youth without youth’ investigated the alarming rate of children being tried as adults for crimes or associations with crimes. Until recently, they could get sentences of between 25 years and life – without parole. Lina, Loyola and the Jesuit legal team are working on a project to show the unethical nature of this legal system in regards to juvenile justice.

“I'm very grateful to the Jesuits for funding the Insight prize,” says Lina. “I wish I could express to the team how much they’ve advanced me both personally and professionally in those six short weeks - I feel as if there’s a massive difference between the filmmaker I used to be and the filmmaker I am now. Loyola itself is a very caring production community- I couldn't have wished for a more nurturing and supportive team."

Lina adds that she was particularly interested in Insight’s unique commitment, not just to faith, but all faiths, no faith and everything in between. “This year’s theme was deeply indicative of Insight’s nature, driven by compassion, and their desire to shed a light on what is compassionate, kind, merciful and faithful,” she says.

Follow this link for more information about the Insight Film Festival.