Chris Lamontagne, a 20 year old student from Westminster is celebrating after news that he has won two prestigious awards at the PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival, an international festival with awards established by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC).

Chris’s short film, ‘Black to Yellow’ has been awarded the ‘Plural + Roots & Routes Award’ and the ‘Plural+ Scalabrini International Network Award’. Chris will travel to New York City in November, to receive his prizes at the Paley Centre for Media on 10 November, thanks to funding from the Open Society Foundations, and will document his experience on film.

Black to Yellow’ was conceived, written and directed by Chris, who also appears in the film, during his participation in ‘Breaking into the Museum’ a creative trans-national initiative devised and led by Manifesta. The project took place at the Museum of London in June 2010, with support from the Octavia Foundation and St Charles College and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The three minute film is a spoken word performance, set against footage and experiences from Chris’s visit to the Museum of London as part of ‘Breaking into the Museum’, focusing on one of the museum’s exhibits – ‘Charles Booth’s Descriptive Map of London Poverty, 1889’. You can watch the film here.

Chris said: ‘When I heard that I had won these awards, it was a massive shock. At first I didn’t understand how my video could have so much impact, it was after hearing the comments from friends and family that I realised how powerful this video was. It gave me a voice to express myself to a wider world to show undercover sociological aspects in western countries. It inspires me and gives me more confidence on reaching for success in life’.

The PLURAL+ Video Festival was launched to explore themes related to migration, integration, inclusivity and diversity. The festival is an empowering platform for young people across the world to speak out about what they think of these issues.

Breaking into the Museum promotes innovative intervention in heritage-curating as an exciting form of 21st century cultural activism and engagement, using the medium of film/video grounded in an intensive learning and production workshop experience. The project has already taken place in London and in France, with Tribudom and city museum Musée Carnavalet (Paris) with funding from the European Cultural Foundation and the Mairie de Paris; additional European cities have expressed an interest in taking part.

These awards follow previous PLURAL+ recognition of films produced by Manifesta, in 2009, as part of the BELONGING initiative.


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