Humankindness Film Festival Captures Stories of Hope During the Pandemic

Eileen Sweeney, Humankind Partnership

In 2020, Humankind Partnership, a Storytelling company focused on telling un told and understood stories of good things happening in communities, recognized that we were hearing amazing stories of impact. Our Founder, Eileen Sweeney had launched a podcast, along with Tampa business leader Amy Maguire, called Human Impact Stories. Throughout the 2020 we interviewed both non-profit and business leaders about their pandemic responses and lessons learned. In doing so we recognized that there might be other stories that could be told that would inspire others and give hope. We conceived the Humankindness Film Festival and started building the judging panel and the requirements. We hit upon having people submit a story of 5 minutes or less that told their story of resilience. Very specifically, it should talk to being where we were in the midst of a global pandemic As luck would have it, the CEO of the Gasparilla International Film Festival heard about our inaugural event and invited us to show the winners as part of their GIFF in Tampa in June! We were delighted by the submissions, from across the country and in our own backyard, and as far away as South America. Each of the winners received a cash prize in addition to the recognition and the thrill of having their film shown in a theatre before a live audience. We learned so much. Creativity is thriving and so is resilience. The stories were touching, inspiring, funny and poignant, and all told the unique story of 2020 as the entire world traveled it together and took different ways to cope. We were proud to bring this “sharing good news” opportunity and plan on continuing to do it this year and going forward. The response to both the contest and the films was heartwarming and we know that they provided bright spots for many.

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