SPRINGFIELD – In order to help fight inequality and build a better Illinois, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is offering students a chance to use their creativity to promote racial healing in the “No Malice Film Contest.”

Illinois youth ages 11-21 can create short films on topics related to racial healing. The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation will help run the contest and select winners in three age groups.

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First place recipients in each category receive $2,000, with smaller prizes being awarded to second and third places. All winning films will be shown at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the EbertFest film festival in Champaign. Illinois schools will use the films, and supplemental curriculum created by educators, to talk about race and the harmful impact of bias and injustice.

The contest’s name was inspired by Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, in which he called for Americans to end slavery and rebuild the nation “with malice toward none, with charity for all.”

The project is funded through the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation with a grant from Healing Illinois, a racial healing initiative of the Illinois Department of Human Services in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust.

“President Lincoln urged Americans to ‘bind up the nation’s wounds.’ But to heal, we must first listen to the expression of people’s pain and lived experiences. Storytelling through film has the power to change hearts and minds. It’s essential that the next generation who will lead us to a better place has a chance to be heard,” said Chaz Ebert, chair of the Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation and a member of the Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation’s board of directors.

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Students will compete in three age brackets: 11-14, 15-18, and 19-21. Entries are due by April 30. Live action films must be between three minutes and seven minutes long. The minimum length for animated films is 45 seconds.

Competitors will be able to get advice from professional filmmakers in Zoom sessions in February and March. Chaz Ebert, who promotes justice and a better world by highlighting important voices in film and supporting young artists, has arranged for presentations by:

  • Pamela Sherrod Anderson, founder of Graceworks Theater and Film Productions and an award-winning writer, filmmaker and playwright
  • Troy Osborne Pryor, a Chicago-based producer, host, and actor
  • Documentarian Steve James, who directed the famed movie “Hoop Dreams”
  • Rita Coburn, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning director, writer, and producer
  • T. Shawn Taylor, a writer, consultant and documentary filmmaker.

Get all the details at bit.ly/NoMaliceFilmContest.

“We’re excited to see the new ideas and fresh perspectives generated by this contest. The topic is incredibly important and also one deeply entwined with President Lincoln’s legacy,” said Melissa Coultas, acting executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. “Thank you to our partners at the Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, the Department of Human Services, The Chicago Community Trust and the Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation for their support.”

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to telling the story of America’s 16th president through old-fashioned scholarship and modern technology.

The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln material, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to other aspects of Illinois history. The museum uses exhibits, eye-catching special effects and innovative story-telling to educate and inspire visitors from around the world.

Learn more at www.PresidentLincoln@illinois.gov or by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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