Imagine a young child, eye-level with a floor full of miniature toys, concentrating intently on building a make-believe world. To the child, the toys are not miniature figures made of plastic or wood. They are real characters with real adventures. The child frames the action, crafting scenes that unfold in a world of imagination. Looking through the lens of a camera as actors, interview subjects and animated characters bring to life a young person’s story, the filmmaker is also peering into a world of imagination.

Moondance International Film Festival, through its Dolphin Contest, seeks to honor what young, 18 and younger, international filmmakers and youthful activists can bring to the screen—agility, inventiveness, passionate idealism — and, at the same time, to motivate and inspire our children and young people to speak out, forge alliances rooted in mutual respect and a synthesis of different experiences and points of view, and make a better world for their future, or to just dynamically express themselves in their own unique way. Through the screenings of these films, kids can share their visions with kids and with adults.


Kids take stock of the diverse array of social causes and issues around which our world’s young people are becoming mobilized to illuminate and act upon the interconnections between circumstances at home and around the world. Through film, and with their intense and dogged curiosity about how the world works, they can find a new way to communicate to a wider audience how to change the status quo and interface between world youth activism and global engagement, and the ways young activists can work together to tackle their common global issues. Young people are playing important roles in a number of areas where international and domestic problems (and their solutions) overlap.


We are building a bridge, through the art of film, to encourage international awareness and understanding for young people from the elementary grades through high school. Those filmmakers who see portents in the shape of things to come—of an unfolding shift in generational consciousness, a gathering global rights movement, the flowering of flexible, Internet-based activist network—may in the end prove to be prescient. This commitment, this yearning, broadens out to a sense of community responsibility that is internationalist in its scope. Global issues strike home. It is such an exploration that this competition seeks to launch, by championing globally-minded youth activism among young people around the world, and the ways in which these young activists can work together to tackle global issues creatively, through animation films, documentary films and short films.