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


June 2012

Holly Carter Featured on Boldfacers

In a feature article and video on Boldfacers, Holly Carter (Founder and Executive Director of BYkids) talks about how to engage American kids in global issues and explains how helping kids will help us all. See the full story at:

June 2012

United Nations Association Presents Special Screening of FIRE IN OUR HEARTS

A special screening of FIRE IN OUR HEARTS is presented on June 15 at the Tribeca Grand Hotel by the United Nations Association of New York and followed by a discussion with Aarti Saihjee (UNICEF Education Specialist), Joyce Chopra (Filmmaker and Mentor) and Holly Carter (Founder and Executive Director of BYkids). Tickets available here »

June 2012

Summer 2012 Interns Join BYkids

We are lucky to have some very special interns for the summer. Starting with Jordan Wechsler from Dalton, who spent the month of May working for BYkids as his senior initiative, we also have Matthew Marr and Molly Rider from Bowdoin and Noelle Durkin and Hannah Kliot from Dalton. Thanks to the other members of the Junior Committee including Alex Mabred and Veronica Mukhia and the gang from Collegiate.

May 2012

2012 Benefit is a Success

Our sold-out Benefit is a fantastic success! The sneak peak of our upcoming film by 16-year-old Marí­a Ceballos Paz of Colombia aroused passionate interest amongst benefit guests, and Film Mentor Susan Hoenig shared fascinating stories of the making of this powerful film. Thanks to all, the evening raises over $40,000 for BYkids. See photos here »

We also unveiled a rough cut of our new promo donated by advertising wizards Alonso Davila and Ty Baker and the generous Stephanie Apt and Betty Jo Moore of Final Cut Pro.

April 2012

Editing Begins on BYkids: Colombia

Overseen by film producer and mentor, Susan Hoenig, editing begins on our Colombian film in Los Angeles.

February 2012

Juanes to Write Original Music

International pop-superstar, Juanes, is writing original music for our next film BYkids: Colombia. Both a Grammy and 17-time Latin Grammy winner, Juanes is Billboard’s “Star of the Decade”.

January 2012

FIRE IN OUR HEARTS Selected for 2012 India International Film Festival

FIRE IN OUR HEARTS, made by Jayshree Janu Kharpade of India, receives it first festival selection. Selected for the 2012 India International Film Festival of Tampa Bay, FIRE IN OUR HEARTS is screened in February 2012, in the festival’s main venue at Channelside Cinemas IMAX in Tampa.

BYkids ongoing collaboration with now features trailers of BYkids films on’s Cause Video platform, bringing BYkids films to social changers under 25 years old and reaching two million teens.

December 2011

Young Filmmakers Get International Attention

Namgyal Wangchuk Trichen Lhagyari, BYkids’ second youth filmmaker who made MY COUNTRY IS TIBET, is selected as a Global Teen Leader for the We Are Family Foundation’s (WAFF) Three Dot Dash Initiative and attends the Just Peace Summit in March 2012. Chosen from amongst an extraordinary group of teen nominees representing 37 countries, Trichen was selected for his “leadership and vision” in contributing to a more peaceful world. Three Dot Dash Initiative provides Trichen with a mentor and a small stipend for one year to further develop the work that he launched with his BYkids film.

16-year-old Jayshree Janu Kharpade, BYkids youth filmmaker of FIRE IN OUR HEARTS and mentored by Joyce Chopra, is celebrated in a lengthy feature in the December issue of Femina, one of India’s oldest and best known magazines. See the Femina article here.

November 2011

Finish Third Film and Add Academy Award-Winning Film Mentor

2011 Academy Award winner Karen Goodman becomes a BYkids Film Mentor. A renowned documentary filmmaker, Goodman has received three previous Academy Award nominations, many Emmys and the Dupont-Columbia Award for Independent Programming. Her documentaries have been broadcast nationally on PBS and HBO and screened at festivals around the world including Sundance, Berlin, London, Montreal and St. Petersburg. Goodman describes BYkids as “an extraordinary opportunity for the next generation of cinematic storytellers”.

BYkids third film, FIRE IN OUR HEARTS, made by 16-year-old Jayshree Janu Kharpade of India, is completed and begins distribution. Mentored by the esteemed Joyce Chopra, Jayshree’s film sheds a personal light on the immense social and economic potential of educating girls in the developing world. See trailer here.

October 2011

Strategic Partnerships with the United Nations

Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for U.N. Peacekeeping Operations, becomes a core advisor for developing BYkids partnerships with United Nations agencies, extending the story sourcing, on-site logistics and strategic outreach for BYkids films. Secretary-General Mulet states, “Each BYkids youth storyteller mobilizes our conscience towards a larger sense of global solidarity. BYkids reminds us that we are one Humanity.”

September 2011

Discovery Education to Bring Films to Schools Across America

BYkids partners with Discovery Education, the nation’s largest and most prestigious education distributor, to stream BYkids films to over one million educators and half of all American middle and high school students across the country. Kelli Campbell, Senior Vice President of Discovery Education, says that BYkids films “not only inform, they engage students’ imagination and passion &emdash; which is always at the heart of true learning, true understanding and insight…”

September 2011

The 2011 DocMiami International Film Festival nominates MY COUNTRY IS TIBET for Best Short Documentary. Described as a festival with a cause — FILM, MUSIC, HOPE — DocMiami offers three days of cutting edge documentary films and three nights of outstanding music concerts.

August 2011

MY COUNTRY IS TIBET is presented at the 34th Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF), the country’s longest-running festival dedicated to showcasing works by artists of Asian descent. BYkids Filmmaker Namgyal Wangchuk Trichen Lhagyari wins The One to Watch award for Youth Filmmaker. TIBET soon begins traveling across the country in AAIFF’s yearlong National Festival Tour.

July 2011

MY COUNTRY IS TIBET is featured as an Official Selection in the 2011 Action On Film International Film Festival in Pasadena, CA. Launched in 2004, the prestigious festival is one of the fastest growing, high profile international venues in the film and video industry.

June 2011

New York City composer Javier Arau, signs on to create an original sound score for Jayshree Janu Kharpade’s film, FIRE IN OUR HEARTS. Jayshree begins writing the film’s narration and designing its title graphics, assisted by the pro-bono support of the award-winning brand and design strategy firm, Korn Design.

May 2011

BYkids Benefit is a smashing success!

Sold out BYkids Benefit is a smashing success! A sneak peek to celebrate our third film with guest hosts including the President of the Asia Society, a journalist from The Economist and the film’s film mentor.

See photos »

May 2011

BYkids is delighted to announce that Alex Mabred and Zara Leventhal will be the 2011 BYkids Summer Interns. Alex, originally from Paris, received his BA in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee and works as a theater actor in New York. Zara is a sophomore at Stuyvesant High School in New York and has a deep interest in world cultures, writing and theater.

April 2011

The 2011 BYkids Benefit gathers a sold-out crowd at the stunning home of Hilary and Joe Adams for a sneak peek of FIRE IN OUR HEARTS, made by 16-year-old Jayshree Janu Kharpade of India. Hosted by Asia Society President, Vishakha Desai, The Economist’s Gideon Lichfield and our Film Mentor, Joyce Chopra, the festive evening raises over $30,000.

Film Mentor Susan Hoenig flies to Cali, Colombia, to work with 16-year-old Maria Ceballos Paz on the filming of BYkids:COLOMBIA. Susan is joined by New York filmmaker Carmen Vidal Balanvat on second camera and BYkids Program Associate Gaby Campagna who provides translation and logistical support. See Notes from the Field.

February 2011

The Ford Foundation awards BYkids a $75,000 grant to complete our first series of five films and to further extend our outreach.

Google inc. selects BYkids to participate in its Google Grants Program. The $120,000 in-kind gift leverages the power of AdWordsâ„¢ to develop and engage potential stakeholders and supporters.

January 2011

Film Mentor Joyce Chopra heads to Mumbai to begin working with our third young filmmaker, 16-year-old Jayshree Janu Kharpade of India. Second camerawoman Cat Papadimitriou assists Joyce, and the two recount their exciting adventure in Notes from the Field.

December 2010

Two New Films in Pre-Production

Film legends Joyce Chopra and Albert Maysles work with us to make our next BYkids films. Albert will soon begin teaching the art of filmmaking to a Muslim teen in New York City. The film will open our eyes to the impact of religious intolerance on young people. In January, Joyce will travel to India to work with Jayshree, who’s story shows us the social and economic necessity for educating young girls in the developing world.

October 2010

MY COUNTRY IS TIBET Sweeps Film Festival Circuit

MY COUNTRY IS TIBET, by 17-year-old Trichen, is nominated for the MY HERO Film Festival’s RON KOVIC PEACE AWARD, which celebrates peace and those around the world working for non-violence and an end to war. MY HERO creates educational programs using media and technology to celebrate the best of humanity and to empower young people to realize their own potential to effect positive change in the world.

The film is also an official selection at the Sun Valley Film Festival and the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival announces that BYkids film MY COUNTRY IS TIBET has been chosen for the 2010 Main Festival Program. Out of thousands of entries, TIBET is one of 30 films to be featured in this prestigious festival.

September 2010

BYkids Attracts World-Class New Board Members

Thanks to the Ford Foundation’s ongoing support, BYkids has attracted more world-class talent to our board. Now under the leadership of Chair Lucy Price, new board members include writer/film producer Hilary Adams, social entrepreneur Tamsin Smith of the PRODUCT (RED) campaign, political journalist Michelle Mitchell and business leader Eduardo Martinez.

BYkids is invited to UN Headquarters in New York to present our work to the 2010 United Nations Youth Assembly. Over 50 youth leaders from around the world attend a BYkids screening of MOZAMBIQUE and participate in a BYkids workshop on the power of film as a leverage for political action.

TEDxRedmond screens BYkids film, HOME, for their annual conference held at the Microsoft Conference Center. TEDxRedmond, a conference “by kids, for kids”, was launched by 12-year-Adora Svitak, teacher, author and celebrated TED speaker. Adora describes BYkids as “wonderful… both for the filmmakers who have the chance to share their stories, and also for those of us watching them and learning more about their lives.”

August 2010

Colombia Film Begins

BYkids Founder/Executive Director Holly Carter travels to Bogota and Cali, Colombia to search for a young filmmaker for our next film, BYkids:COLOMBIA. Colombia’s overwhelming number of displaced people – second only to the Sudan – is primarily driven by civil war and drug-related violence. Mentored by Hollywood great Susan Hoenig, our young Colombian filmmaker begins filming in March, 2011, and will surely bring insight to a social and political crisis that is ravaging the lives of millions of Colombians.

BYkids recognizes the impressive and highly committed work of our Summer 2010 Intern, Connor Cowdon. 15-year-old Connor, a sophomore at Dalton in New York City, brings thorough, in-depth research, strategy development and administrative support to BYkids’ hugely successful agenda of summer events.

July 2010

MY COUNTRY IS TIBET, and the Young King’s Visit Receive Widespread Press Coverage

The New York Times »
The Daily Beast »
Voice of America »
Radio Free Asia »
Tonic »

May 2010

Exiled King of Tibet Visits United States for BYkids Exclusive Premiere of: MY COUNTRY IS TIBET

At only twelve years old Namgyal Wangchuk Trichen Lhagyari was the only recognized descendent of the first Dharma King of Tibet Songsten Gampo, who died in 698 A.D. Carrying the unique responsibility of representing Tibet’s unbroken history and heritage, Namgyal was crowned by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in June 2004 in Dharamsala, India where he still lives, in exile.
more »

March 2010

International Tour Continues

The Human Rights Watch and Adobe Youth Voices traveling program continues and a 12-minute version of our Mozambique film will screen in San Francisco on March 11 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and in London on March 19 at the Ritzy and March 20 at the ICA. The San Francisco Examiner says about our film, “Beautifully filmed, and presented with grace, it had me in tears.”

February 2010

Second Film is Completed

Editing of MY COUNTRY IS TIBET is finished with help from an extraordinary group of talented producers and editors and with the distinct voice and direction of our young filmmaker. Plans are underway for a gala screening for May 20, 2010 in Manhattan to coincide with the New York City visit of the Dalai Lama.

January 2010

NYC Law Firm Becomes Newest Supporter

Paul, Hastings, the international law firm, is the new pro bono counsel for BYkids. Attorneys Erika C. Collins, Robert Sherman and Lisa Willis have generously agreed to help with our copyright, trademark and contract work. “It is an honor for the firm to represent you,” said Ms. Collins, a partner in the firm.

December 2009

Film Part of Youth Producing Change

A 12-minute version of our Mozambique film is one of ten films selected from 300 as part of the second annual Youth Producing Change series (a collaboration between Adobe Youth Voices and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival) to screen at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. “The Adobe Foundation is proud to partner with Human Rights Watch in providing a platform for these remarkable young filmmakers to explore and comment on their world,” says Michelle Mann, executive director of the Adobe Foundation. “By calling attention to human rights issues, these youth are inspiring audiences worldwide and demonstrating the power to express ideas, engage stakeholders and effect change through digital media.”

November 2009

Film Wins Best of Fest

HOME IS WHERE YOU FIND IT wins Best of the Fest and the Dan Eldon Activist Award in the My Hero Short Film Festival, at the University of Southern California’s Norris Theater. In addition to well-deserved kudos and bravos, young filmmaker Alcides Soares receives a $2,000 cash prize that will support his next film.

October 2009

Collegiate High School Students Captivated

Griffin Adams, a member of the Junior Board and a senior at the Collegiate School in New York, assembled 250 Collegiate high school students for a screening, discussion and lunch with Holly Carter. The reviews from the audience were heartwarming. “Watching the movie made me feel the problem…I felt involved and affected,” said one student. And Laura Hansen head of the upper school, offered this: “BYkids allows American youth to become genuinely engaged in the lives of young people from places far away, using the power of story to help turn strangers into friends.”

August 2009

Film Continues on the International Festival Circuit

HOME IS WHERE YOU FIND IT screens in Berlin at the Globian DocFest and is chosen for the Manhattan Short Film Festival, the New Orleans Film Festival and the South African Film Festival.

July 2009

Film Garners Awards at Major Festivals

HOME IS WHERE YOU FIND IT wins first place Directorial Discovery Award at the Rhode Island International Film Festival and best Documentary Short at DocuWest. Congratulations to Alcides and the many people who made the film possible.

June 2009

First BYkids Film Premieres at SilverDocs

HOME IS WHERE YOU FIND IT premieres at SilverDocs and Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York with Alcides Soares, our young director from Mozambique, in attendance with both his mentors. He is poetic and inspiring.

May 2009

2009 Gala Screening and Benefit is Huge Success

The BYkids gala benefit - hosted by TODAY show anchor, Natalie Morales - is a resounding success and raises over $55,000 toward the third BYkids film to be done in Colombia by a displaced young girl. 200 guests see the Mozambique film and enjoy a festive and global evening in lower Manhattan. Photos at

March 2009

Film Mentor Returns to India to Help King Finish his Film

BYkids Film Mentor, Dirk Simon, returns to India to continue helping Namgyal, the exiled King of Tibet, tell his incredible story. Namgyal narrates MY COUNTRY IS TIBET while they are together and final production begins.

February 2009

Alcides Soares Narrates His Own Film BYkids: MOZAMBIQUE

New Board Chair and Film Mentor Neal Baer arranges to have Alcides Soares spend three weeks studying English before his voice-over work in the Henry Mancini Sound Studio at NBC/Universal in Los Angeles. 18-year-old Alcides, the star filmmaker of BYkids: MOZAMBIQUE, will narrate his own 27-minute film. Upon completion of the voice-over and final touches in the editing room, the film will start the film festival circuit.

February 2009

Junior Committee Begins Planning for 2009 Benefit

The BYkids Junior Committee, led by 18-year-old Committee Chair Sophie Bressler, begins planning for the second BYkids annual benefit to be held at the Scholastic Auditorium in Soho, NYC on May 16th. The festive celebration will be the venue for the premiere of BYkids: Mozambique by 18-year-old Alcides Soares of Maputo, Mozambique.

January 2009

The BYkids Story Presented As A Case Study at MIT

Top web designers from Razorfish chose BYkids as the nonprofit venture to feature in an “Experiencing Design” course taught to undergraduates at MIT. BYkids Founder and Executive Director, Holly Carter, travels to MIT to present the BYkids story as a real-time case study and works with the students on new design ideas for BYkids web portals. Nadya Direkova of Razorfish reflects, “Working with a ‘client’ is a very important experience for a designer, especially working for a meaningful cause such as BYkids; this was a great learning experience for the students! Thank you for coming in person, for presenting your cause with an open mind and passion.”

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Alan Murray, Journalist