FilmAid's 21st Annual Power of Film Benefit

October 2021. New York City, The Standard Hotel

Empire joined Internews once again to produce FilmAid’s Power of Film Awards at the Standard Hotel in NYC. Set under a semi open-air sky on a crisp Autumn night, the event was a perfect mix of purpose and pleasure. For the first time since the pandemic, FilmAid supporters gathered to celebrate its mission to harness the power of film to educate, inspire and empower refugees and other vulnerable communities around the world.

The cocktail event and program included moving remarks by FilmAid’s founder Caroline Baron and new Director, Gita Saedi Kiely, who painted her vision for tomorrow.

“We are now a global organization with projects happening in communities worldwide, with partnership and support from industry leaders like The Oscars (AMPAS) and Variety, and with life changing work that impacts hundreds of thousands of people every year.”

Tim Blake Nelson presented the Student Award to Nhial Gatriek Deng, a 2020 graduate of the FilmAid training program. Mark Ruffalo shared a heartfelt pre-recorded tribute honoring Ian Urbina with the prestigious Christopher Dickey Award for his groundbreaking work on The Outlaw Ocean Project.

Kati Marton then spoke regarding her late husband’s Richard C. Holbrooke Humanitarian Award before introducing Mariam Wardak. Mariam, received the award on behalf of the awardee, Sahraa Karimi, who was unable to attend in person. She shared an incredible story of life as a woman under Taliban ruled Afghanistan, and how Sahraa was a devoted advocate of women and cinema until her final moments boarding an evacuation flight to Europe as the Taliban took over.

Jeanne Bourgault, Internews President and CEO, closed the evening with immense gratitude and pride of the team at Internews for having joined forces with FilmAid. Their incredible work in training young people in all aspects of storytelling and communications, empowers the next generation to advocate for its own rights to effect positive change in the world.

Empire is honored to support the vital work of FilmAid and has been serving not-for-profit organizations for nearly three decades. To learn more please visit

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