Speak Truth To Power Student Video Contest 2018

Speak Truth To Power Student Video Contest 2018

Deadline: March 3, 2018

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights invites entries for the Speak Truth To Power Student Video Contest. This is a middle and high school filmmaking competition that encourages students to become engaged in human rights through video production. The contest is based on a collaboration with the American Federation of Teachers and the Tribeca Film Institute and based on Kerry Kennedy’s book Speak Truth To Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World.

Speak Truth To Power is a human rights education program the strives to create a citizenry dedicated to upholding the highest standards of justice and equality. It began as a book written by Kerry Kennedy (since translated into six languages) and has been adapted into a dramatic production by Ariel Dorfman Speak Truth To Power: Voices From Beyond the Dark.  The portraits of the human rights defenders by the late Pulitzer-Prize-winning photographer Eddie Adams, featured in the book, have been made into an exhibition that has toured over 20 cities in the United States after its initial launch at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  It is currently displayed on four continents.

Winning film will premier at the Tribeca Film Festival in April in NYC


  • Open to Grade 6 – 12 students in the United States
  • Contest participants must choose a human rights defender and create a 3-5 minute film. This year, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s run for President of the United States,  students are asked to make a connection between their chosen defender and RFK.  This could be done through the use of a quote, archival footage, or by including the connection in the narration.
  • They are looking for student films that utilize creative storytelling to teach others about a human rights issue. The format is open to documentary, stop motion, narrative, digital photo essay and other innovative genres that involve filmmaking components.
  • Students may choose to complete their project using a STTP Defender or they may also identify a local defender who fits the criteria outlined below:
    • The chosen individual has worked to defend, promote, protect, or advance human rights (as identified in the UDHR) locally, nationally or internationally.

Films should creatively answer the following questions:

  • What is the human rights issue?
  • How did the STTP Defender attempt to improve the situation?
  • How does issue relate to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
  • What is the connection between this Defender and RFK?
  • How is this work connected to the student’s local community?
  • What is the current status of the HR issue?
  • What can the activist’s life teach us?


Submit your entries here.

For more information, visit Speak Truth To Power.