Close to 250 show up for UNICEF Children’s Rights Film Festival Premiere



Surprise Announcement of Winner to take place on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at Winning School

Great Bay, St. Maarten – St. Maarten’s first premiere of the UNICEF Children’s Rights Film Festival was a success.  Close to 250 persons including parliamentarians, government officials, teachers, students, and public figures came out to the inaugural premiere held on Friday, April 6, 2018 at Belair Community Center. The films screened were from Methodist Agogic Center, Hillside Christian School, Oranje School, and the Youth Council. Some of the children’s rights that were highlighted in the films were freedom of religion, freedom of expression, right to privacy, right to a good development, right no drugs, right to education, and right to play, rest, and relax.  Telem Breakthrough Star, Tyler Percival entertained the audience by playing soca hits such as “Hello” by Kes and “Who Yuh Fah by St. Maarten’s very own Kenyo Baly on his steelpan.

The international star who has been featured on international channels such as ABC, NBC, and CNN, Kenyo Baly was one of the three esteemed judged for the evening. The jury panel of three included Ms. Clara Reyes, a cultural icon who holds a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Dance and Choreography with a specialization in dance in education and is now the recently appointed Head of the Department of Culture. The third judge for the evening Peter Sagnia, a film maker and music producer and has been involved in theatre for over 20 years. He is originally from London, England and has spent a considerable amount of time in the United States. He is the director and producer of Consumed, a St. Maarten based film that has seen in film festivals around the world.

Five films were scheduled to be screened at the premiere however only four of them were screened.  No Kidding with Our Kids foundation have been a part of the entire process and due to a technical matter, that was no fault of the school, was not able to have the filmed completed for the premiere.  Organizers decided that in the spirit of fairness, especially for the children that have worked hard, that No Kidding with Our Kids Foundation can still take part albeit their film will be shown after the premiere.

Thus on Monday, April 9, 2018 at the Lion’s Club at 6:30 PM the screening of “Privacy is Must” will take place with the same judges. The scores from the premiere were sealed in envelopes and given to the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth, & Sports, Drs. Jorien Wuite for safe keeping and to ensure that there are no improprieties with the scores. On Monday evening, these scores will be tallied, and the winner will be announced on Tuesday.  A delegation will go to the winning school with the prize.

Students from the winning school will fly to Curacao on Friday, April 13 to represent St. Maarten in the regional competition and at the UNICEF Children’s Rights Festival Caribbean. These students will form part of the St. Maarten delegation which will include the film coach and project coordinator. The delegation will return to St. Maarten on April 15.

Parents are encouraged to please ensure that students who have participated have valid passports and sign consent forms to ensure that their child, in the event they will be part of the St. Maarten delegation, will be able to travel.

The Department of Youth and UNICEF representatives have worked tirelessly over the course of the past  two months to facilitate this process and raise the awareness of the children’s rights both with the teachers and with the children. This was made possible due to Netherlands Recovery Fund St. Maarten. The premiere was the final step for St. Maarten to showcase these rights and most importantly to display the undeniable talent within the youth.

The organizers would like to thank the Department of Youth, UNICEF, school directors, teachers, parents, supporters, service providers and especially the children for the making the first premiere a success.