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Winner! Best Film in Category at 2023 International Social Change Film Festival

Best Film: Criminal Justice Reform

It is with great pride and excitement that we share the great news that documentary short film, Letters from America's 3rd World, wins Best Film in the Criminal Justice Reform Category at the 2023 International Social Change Film Festival!

The 13-minute documentary short was created by Devin D. Smith, Ship and Anchor founder and CEO, with the support of the JUSTstories program offered by the Justice Arts Coalition. This unique film is part traditional documentary and part music video, as it recounts Devin's incarceration and subsequent healing journey, while also highlighting our novel approach to social impact. Ultimately, the film aims to explain our definition of "America's 3rd World", and advocate for transforming the criminal legal system. Learn more about the film from this Urban Arts Magazine article.

Monumental Achievement

This win marks the film's first award, and the first award for Devin as a filmmaker. He remarks,

"it's humbling, truly. I'm just glad that it's adding value in the world. I hope it is as transformative for others as it was for me to envision, create, and now celebrate."

The 2023 International Social Change Film Festival: Changefest

The in-person screening for Letters from America's 3rd World is October 21, 2023 in Atlanta, G.A.; however, viewers can still watch the documentary short as a part of the 2023 International Social Change Film Festival on its virtual screening platform through November 13, 2023. View the Changefest website for details about its final in-person screening in Los Angeles, C.A. on November 11, 2023.

What's Next for the Film

After Changefest concludes, Ship and Anchor will host independent community-based film screenings. The purpose of these independent screenings is to share our work, the research and evidence underpinning that work, and to lay the foundation for interdisciplinary and cross-sector collaboration to solve some of our communities' most challenging issues.

With that said, it is still unsure how recent accolades for the film may cause a shift in course, particularly regarding participating film festivals. Many film festivals require that films are not publicly accessible to view online, or have been screened publicly. This plays a significant factor in what lies ahead for the film.

When asked about what's next for the film, Devin comments,

"I'm not sure. We definitely will resume the college tour we were planning, but now that I realize the film could actually perform well in the film festival circuit...I don't know. Maybe we should give it a shot. Why not?"

What an exciting time at team Ship and Anchor!

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