Now in its third year, The Cause + Effect Progressive Film Festival is the only Georgia-focused progressive film festival. It provides a platform for Georgia filmmakers to tackle important political, environmental, economic and social justice issues facing their communities. Cause + Effect is uniquely accessible because it’s free to enter and open to all ages.

From the website: “We encourage filmmakers to identify problems within our state and propose viable solutions. At Cause + Effect, we believe that passionate filmmakers, their art and their audiences make up an important community dedicated to the betterment of our state.”

Over the next few weeks, we’ll highlight some of the 2015 and 2016 Cause + Effect Progressive Film Festival winners and finalists, which tackle critical issues like poverty, homelessness, river pollution, gun violence and police brutality.

The 2015 Cause + Effect Film Festival finalist “Sunshine’s on the Way,” a long-form music video directed by Justin Henderson, highlights some of the barriers to higher education for people of color living in poverty in Georgia.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in Georgia, 31 percent of African Americans and 27 percent of Hispanic people live in poverty, while only 9 percent of white people live below the poverty line. Although colleges and universities are increasingly trying to make their schools more accessible to low-income students, these students still face enormous hurdles, which remain virtually invisible to their more privileged peers.

Henderson’s film, “Sunshine’s on the Way,” depicts a young man of color, who’s determined to go to college, despite living in an area dominated by gang activity. As he sees friends and neighbors getting involved in illegal enterprises, he strengthens his resolve to remain focused on his goal.

The entry period opens Aug. 15 and there is no fee to enter. Grand prize is $1,000, second prize is $500, and third prize is $100. All finalist and winners films will be screened on November 11, 2017 at Cine in Athens.

For more information, check out the Cause + Effect Progressive Film Festival website.

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