Film Showing Children’s Concerns Over Environment Wins Kid Witness News International Award
Osaka, Japan - Panasonic, the brand name by which Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is best known, today announced the winner of the International Award of the annual Kid Witness News (KWN) New Vision Awards contest, a hands-on video education program supported by the company. The 2007 International Award went to Ngatea Primary School in Hauraki, New Zealand, for its video about a polluted river in the region. A teacher and two girls from the school will fly to New York to join winners of other categories which will be announced on May 7 at the annual Awards Ceremony.
The seven-minute video titled “Polluted Piako” used a unique method of presenting the issue, cause and solutions. The students conducted interviews with local authorities and residents regarding river pollution issues to develop their scripts. Seventh and eighth grade students then developed the video and acted in the roles of scientist, shopkeeper, and mayor in the video who demonstrated the toxic levels of the Piako River; the video then introduced solutions adopted by local farmers played by the students. The words spoken by the student actors are direct quotes taken from the comments of the interviewees. To conclude the episode, the 13-year old reporter and script writer, gave a strong message to children and grownups alike by saying, “Kids of today are the environmental leaders of tomorrow.”
“The Kiwi kids used the ambient sound effectively to bring out the feeling of the environment - a very professional touch,” said Ms. Iman Shevrington, who leads the team of graduate students from the Arts Film Division of Columbia University’s judging panel. “The film also provided a thoughtful creative element in having the children act out the real interviews. This meant the piece had an authentic voice and word.” The panel scored each film in terms of videography, sound, writing and editing.
The New Zealand children’s concerns over pollution are shared by young people in other countries such as Canada, the UK, Turkey, Malaysia and Vietnam. The UK and Vietnamese students focused on chewing gum pollution on the streets.
The contest, presenting the world through children’s eyes, also revealed their keen interest in social issues including poverty, disabled people and smoking and bullying at school. The videos not only depict people facing difficulties but also attempt to find solutions. The most common theme among the international entries is the history or tradition of the local community or country. Five schools from Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and Mexico chose this theme.
Eighteen short videos from various countries other than the United States were entered in the International Award section of the KWN New Vision Awards contest hosted by Panasonic Corporation of North America. Six films written, acted, shot and edited by primary and middle school students were shortlisted for final selection. The finalists other than New Zealand include China, Indonesia, Japan, Peru and the United Kingdom. For an overview of the 18 videos, please see the attached.
KWN (Kid Witness News) is a global video education program supported by Panasonic, with the aim of boosting creativity and communication skills and fostering teamwork through video production by children at the elementary and junior high school levels. More than 100,000 children around the world have participated in the KWN program since it first began in the U.S. in 1988. Panasonic lends video production equipment out to schools for student video productions. Videos created by the students are submitted to an annual awards contest, with prizes awarded in over ten different categories, including news, documentaries, dramas, commercials, etc. In 2004, an international category was created and the competition went global. As of March, 2007, The KWN contest attracts the annual participation of approximately 10,000 children from more than 500 schools in 21 countries and regions worldwide. For more information on the KWN program, access to the web site at http://panasonic.net/kwn/index.html.
Best known for its Panasonic brand name, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic products for a wide range of consumer, business, and industrial needs. Based in Osaka, Japan, the Company recorded consolidated net sales of US$76.02 billion for the year ended March 31, 2006. The Company’s shares are listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York (NYSE:MC) stock exchanges. For more information on the Company and the Panasonic brand, visit the Company’s website at http://panasonic.net/.
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