BYkids | Master filmmakers mentoring international youth to make award-winning films

What We Do

Kids tell honest and important stories, yet they often go unheard.

BYkids is a non-profit organization pairing master filmmakers, including Albert Maysles and Ric Burns, with youth (ages 8-21) from around the world to create short documentaries that educate Americans about globally relevant issues.

By giving kids the tools and mentoring to make documentary films about their lives and packaging those films for a wide American audience, BYkids gives voice to youth from diverse cultures, and encourages international understanding and engagement by giving viewers concrete ways to respond.

Each year, the Story Selection Committee — UNICEF and a group of nationally-recognized journalists, filmmakers, teens and non-profit leaders — creates a list of potential stories from which five are chosen. These five stories carry the universal values of courage, perseverance and dignity. Each story is given to a BYkids' Film Mentor who spends one month helping the young person make the film. UNICEF provides transportation, lodging, communications, security, local networking and other diplomatic resources in each project country.

BYkids packages the films for wide distribution including film festivals, television broadcast, video on demand, DVD distribution, school programs and web downloads. The distribution strategy targets an audience of at least two million viewers.

These are stories that reflect critical global issues from a perspective rarely told in the mainstream media. BYkids changes the way Americans see the world — and the way the world sees us — by using film as a tool for global understanding and a catalyst for action. This is a way to empower Americans with knowledge and give children a voice.

Everyone wins.

All proceeds from the films go back to BYkids to fund the following year's program.

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