Strictly under embargo until 19:30 BST 22 July 2010

Published July 22nd, 2010 - 01:19 GMT

Dolly Deeb, a 15 year old student from Amman, Jordan tonight won best film in the under 18 category at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) . Her moving film “Forgiveness” focuses on her struggle to come to terms with the terrible terrorist attacks that hit Jordan in 2005 and how she found the strength to forgive through her faith.

Commenting on the news that she had topped her category, Dolly Deeb said:
 “I am so grateful to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation for giving me this award and great opportunity. I am also thankful and proud that our beautiful Queen Rania, the beloved Queen of Jordan is involved in such a big event and judged my film. The message of my film is for young people to plan love instead of hate and life instead of destruction. Violence leads to more violence and death to more death. My faith inspires me to forgive and forget.

This competition was a unique experience, it gave me the chance as a young person to express my faith and to share the message of forgiveness with all. “

Download and view the winning films here
Strictly under embargo until 19:30 BST 22 July 2010

Faith Shorts is a global film competition run by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation providing young people with the opportunity to express their faith through film. Entries flooded in from Egypt, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Argentina, Canada, Pakistan, UK, New Zealand, Lebanon, USA, Nigeria, Singapore, and the Philippines. They were drawn from Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Humanist backgrounds. The themes of the films have been wide ranging from family loss to overcoming adversity, personal devotion and hope.

Tony Blair, patron of the Faith Foundation and one of the competition judges, said: “I’d like to congratulate Dolly on her touching film.

“All of the winning films are incredibly powerful, some challenging, others uplifting. They all confront head on the prejudices that too often abound about different religions. I am proud to have been a part of providing these young people with the tools to share their faith with the world and I am sure the films they’ve produced will be a powerful resource in breaking down barriers between different cultures and religions. “

The Jordanian youth were well represented in the global film competition. Another student from Jordan was also shortlisted; this film was from a young Muslim boy who demonstrated how his faith inspires him to seek knowledge as he believes ignorance lies at the heart of intolerance fueling religious hatred.

Both students are involved in the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s global schools project which links young people across different faiths, cultures and nationalities using new technologies. Carol Jadoun, co-ordinating Face to Faith in Jordan expressed her excitement that the two of the students had made the shortlist,

 “The idea of the short film competition was very challenging for me and my students, witnessing a Christian and a Muslim students talking together about ‘how their faith inspires them’ was so inspiring and breath-taking.

I am so proud of the Jordanian students who participated in the competition, they  worked so hard and  deserve all the rewards that follow.”

Shiv Tandan, a 19 year old university student Haryana, India produced “The Guide” and won the 18-25 category.  This film tackles pre-conceptions about faith head on using humour; the tour guide takes a visitor on a tour through a mosque in India, giving insights into Islam and its history and it is not until the last scene it is revealed that the guide is in fact a Hindu.  He calls for the audience to seek more than religious tolerance and for society to embrace other faiths and cultures.

Esteban Pedraza, a 20 year old Student currently studying at NYU Film School, from Nashville Tennessee, won the Film makers category for his film “People I know”. This was an extremely personal story featuring his mother and best friend who have overcome the struggles of single motherhood and drug addiction through their faith. 

These stories have impressed the global judging panel which includes Tony Blair, Jonathan Caplan QC, Hugh Jackman , Anil Kapoor, Amr Khaled , Jet Li, Kishore Lulla, Wendi Murdoch, Natalie Portman, Nik Powell , Queen Rania of Jordan, Rabbi David Rosen, June Sarpong, Deepak Verma  and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation Fellows.

Anil Kapoor, star of Slumdog Millionaire and TV series 24, said of Dolly Deeb’s film;

“The film maker clearly communicates that her faith teaches her the importance of forgiveness and it is this practice that has truly freed her.”

Faith Shorts judge and Hollywood actor, Hugh Jackman said after watching the films:

“I had a great time judging and viewing all the films. I think they were all very brave, very personal in nature, very honest and I found them inspiring and touching.”

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation is delighted to announce that the Faith Shorts film competition is going to be taken forward next year in conjunction with Insight Film Festival.

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