Press Release | Tue July 25, 2017, 10:44 AM EST
TORONTO, ON, July 25th, 2017 -- Kasha Sequoia Slavner is a 19-year-old photographer, writer and award-winning Canadian filmmaker who this past spring premiered her first feature documentary, The Sunrise Storyteller, at the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women in New York to a standing ovation. The film has already won two awards: the Accolade Award of Recognition for Kasha’s filmmaking and a Global Music Silver Award for original score by German-born composer Raphael Fimm.
It’s been 4 years since Kasha, at the age of 15, pitched the original concept for her film before a panel of seasoned film industry experts in what Raindance Canada called the 'Dragon's Den for filmmakers". She took home 2nd prize, and it’s been a non-stop mission from dream to reality since then for this social justice advocate and media maker.
Kasha has now set her sights to hold the Canadian Premiere of The Sunrise Storyteller at the acclaimed Toronto International Film Festival, knowing that a festival of this stature could help catapult the film’s impactful message about what it means to be a global citizen to a much wider audience and needs the public to champion this cause by spreading the word.
Kasha has been on a social justice journey alongside her mother since she was 8 years old. Their passions and paths merged when Kasha was only 14 years old when they attended the United Nations’ 57th Commission on the Status of Women as delegates with the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace.
After entering a contest with G-Adventures asking what she would do to change the world, Kasha was inspired to create The Global Sunrise Project, a media hub for social good, as a way to use her passion for visual storytelling to share stories of hope, resilience and triumph over adversity. Taking a year off school, Kasha embarked on a mission to crowdsource fund the trip. She set out on her journey with her mother on her 16th birthday, traveling over six months to seven countries and filming over 30 stories.
Kasha was recently recruited as a 2017 Global Teen Leader into Three Dot Dash by legendary music producer Nile Rodgers & wife Nancy Hunt’s We are Family Foundation, which also founded TedXTeen Talks. The program matched her up with mentor Lacey Schwartz, award-winning producer and director of the documentary film Little White Lie.
Despite her many accomplishments, it’s been no easy road for this ambitious filmmaker. As a first-time director, screenwriter, cinematographer, and editor, Kasha learned from the ground up the monumental task of developing the skills needed to complete a feature-length documentary - and she accomplished it all while completing her high school education. The experience taught her a great deal as Kasha tries to carve out a niche in the film industry as a young female indie filmmaker, where competition is stiff and big-budget films with celebrities are programmed to attract audiences.
Nevertheless, this tenacious young filmmaker has brought together some very powerful stories featuring everyday heroes, who Kasha considers to be the real celebrities: from people fighting for girls’ education in East Africa to refugee rights in Thailand. One story features Vietnamese-Canadian Phan Thi Kim Phuc (Kim Phuc), the famous Napalm Girl from the 1972 Pulitzer Prize-winning photo and now a Unesco Goodwill Ambassador, who brings to the film an important reflection about peace and forgiveness. Kasha, who sees Kim as a role model and mentor for her generation, was the first recipient of the Kim Phuc Youth Award for Peace.
The Sunrise Storyteller is not only a testament to the people Kasha has encountered on her travels, but is also the hero's journey of a young, first-time female filmmaker determined to make a difference, proving - like the characters in her film - that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Film website: www.thesunrisestoryteller.com
Home site: www.theglobalsunriseproject.com
For testimonials on the film:
For Media Inquiries:
Marla & Kasha Slavner
The Global Sunrise Project
Press Release | Tue July 25, 2017, 10:44 AM EST
Phan Thi Kim Phuc (Kim Phuc), the famous Napalm Girl from the 1972 Pulitzer Prize-winning photo and now a Unesco Goodwill Ambassador
Juma Mkwela, Juma Tours, Khayelitsha, South Africa
The Sunrise Storyteller warm embrace from a Maasai grandmothers in Tanzania
One of Tanzania's devoted teachers.
Intern at Thai Freedom House, Chiang Mai, Thailand who walked from Burma to Thailand with only one flip flop
Kasha, aka, The Sunrise Storyteller, prior to her journey abroad. Imagining those whose walk to school is very different from her own. Background photo: Journey's To School exhibition, United Nations, 2013