Kirk Balmonte’s Breath of Freedom

Congratulations to Kevin Balmonte of SLU for landing in the top five of the First Stranger Festival. This is the video he made. I like it. It’s simple and creative and brought the point across. It would have been more compelling though if he used younger looking kids.

Here’s the Inquirer report on Kevin: A 19-year-old senior of Saint Louis University landed in the top five of the First Stranger Festival in Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam, a world video art event for children’s rights held July 3 to 5.

Kirk Balmonte was the only Filipino nominated to the festival by the United Nations International Children’s Fund (Unicef). He produced the one-minute feature, “Breath of Freedom,” about a man who can’t make his air-conditioner work. Exasperated, he cranks the machine open, to find an emaciated child inside.

The man replaces the child with a strapping youth, and the machine works again.

Balmonte submitted his entry online to the European Cultural Foundation (ECF), according to Helen Tibaldo, Cordillera director of the Philippine Information Agency.

Balmonte, who flew to the Netherlands for the festival, works with the government’s Kabataan News Network (KNN).

In a written essay sent to the festival organizers, Balmonte said the minute-long video that he shot with a friend, Guillermo Ocampo, depicts the region’s child labor crisis.

The grand prize went to the Russian entry. The four other finalists were not ranked.

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