Breaking Silence is awarded the 2023 #MyJustice Film Award for a female-directed, short documentary giving viewers, by way of a healed relationship between a deaf father and hearing daughter, a unique insight into the incarcerated deaf community and an inspiring father’s quest to help others and reunite his family. The film reverberates with kindness and compassion that drive towards advocacy for the communication challenges faced by prisoners with hearing disabilities, gives hopeful opportunities for prison reform and healing for families and people carrying unresolved trauma. Breaking Silence’s urgent and uplifting delivery earned it top prize this year for a stand out social justice film with a clear call to action to inspire change. The Odyssey Impact® led six month National Impact Campaign, launching in 2024, will aim to use the film as a powerful tool and platform for education and activation, changing attitudes, opening hearts and minds, and inspiring actions for social change.

Film Credits

DIRECTED BY Amy Bench, Annie Silverstein

PRODUCED BY Monique Walton, Amy Bench

FEATURING Walker Estes, Leslie Estes

EDITOR Karen Skloss

COMPOSER William Ryan Fritch


DP Amy Bench

2023 Judges

Samah Ali

Programmer, Shorts & DOC NYC

Stephen Bailey

Director / DP

Xiaoxiao Chen


Evy Constantine

Head of Social Impact

Nancy Dionne

Production Executive

Cassidy Friedman


Ella Glendining

Writer / Director

Doug Hawes-Davis

Senior Shorts Programmer

Nailah Jefferson


Melissa C. Potter

Vice President, Strategy and Impact — Content for Change

Rudy Valdez



What is the #MyJustice Film Award ?

Odyssey Impact®, with generous support from Paramount and its initiative Content for Change Academy, is pleased to announce it’s continued partnership with DOC NYC for the 2023 season of the #MyJustice Film Award.

A $10,000 cash prize and an Odyssey Impact® led six-month National Impact Campaign will be awarded to one short film from DOC NYC Official Selections 2023. Eligible films must be 10-40 minutes in length, with a social justice theme and a strong call to action.

Eligible filmmakers (DOC NYC has accepted you as an “Official Selection” for the 2023 Festival) can review the details on eligibility and terms to apply for the award below.

The winner will be announced near the end of the DOC NYC Festival, which runs this November 8-16, 2023. Best of luck!

-See more about the 2022 winner “LONG LINE OF LADIES” below!

Applications for 2023 are Closed

With generous support from
In partnership with

What does justice mean to you?  What does social justice mean exactly? It depends on who you ask.  Do you stand for change on criminal justice issues, women’s rights, LGBTQIA equality, rights for the differently abled or, for the environment?  We created the #MyJustice Film Award for an outstanding short social justice documentary to uplift brave films and to have healing conversations. 

Odyssey Impact® is an international, award-winning, film and social impact organization that has spent the last 30 years using the power of media to challenge injustices and inspire social change.

Applications for 2023 are Closed

Click Here

Apply for the #MyJustice Film Award™

Eligibility & Submission Requirements for the #MyJustice Film Award™

  • The short documentary film must have been accepted as an Official Selection in DOC NYC’s 2023 Film Festival.
  • The Film must be between 10-40 minutes in length.
  • The Film must be In English or with English subtitles.
  • The subject matter of the Film must be a US-based story (it can also be a US-based story combined with a story or stories from other countries).
  • The Filmmaker must provide a working link to the Film.
  • Examples of types of justice topics are the following (these are not exclusive):
    • Criminal/Economic/Racial Justice
    • Disability
    • Environmental
    • Indigenous rights
    • LGBTQIA+
    • Women’s Equality
  • The deadline for entry is October 1, 2023.  
  • Winners will be notified at the DOC NYC Film Festival live in November 2023.

Terms & Conditions

  • The Filmmaker agrees to work in good faith with the Odyssey Impact® Team who will create and produce a six-month Impact Campaign for the Film, which includes the Filmmaker attending online or in-person panels where possible.
  • The Filmmaker must own the legal rights to represent and submit the Film for the #MyJustice Film Award.
  • The Filmmaker understands and agrees that the Film, if selected as the #MyJustice Film Award™ winner, may be used by Odyssey Impact® and/or its partners and sponsors for promotional purposes; and the Filmmaker permits the Award, Festival and its partners and sponsors, the right to use footage from the Film (or in its entirety), stills, synopsis, titles and/or information for such promotional purposes.
  • If selected, the Filmmaker will share a download of the Film and other media including clips and images to Odyssey Impact®, Inc., and will grant it the non-exclusive right to share the Film via its social media, website, and exhibition channels for a period of the 6 months during the Impact Campaign with the option to join the Corporate Catalog for a longer duration if mutually agreed upon.
  • Unless the film is officially selected for inclusion as the #MyJustice Film Award™ winner, Odyssey Impact®, Inc.’s name, image or logo cannot be used in any of the film’s marketing and/or promotional materials.
  • There must not be any action, suit, claim or proceeding pending, affecting or threatened against this Film or its producers, cast, or crew in connection with this Film or otherwise;
  • The Filmmaker does not yet have a distributor for the Film, or alternatively the Film is not available to stream during the six-month Impact Campaign. The Film may have been shown on the festival circuit but must not have been screened publicly, virtually or in-person or otherwise, not have been broadcast, made available publicly online, commercially released or made available for download to the public. Notwithstanding the above, the Filmmaker may apply for a waiver from Odyssey Impact® , if there is an existing distributor for the Film or if the Film has been screened in contravention of any of the requirements specified in this paragraph. If an agreement is made with DOC NYC regarding the official selection, the Film will not be disqualified.
  • Judging:  Submitted films will be reviewed by the judges of #MyJustice Film Award, whose decision is final.  The award is conditional upon signing an agreement with Odyssey Impact®, after which time, the winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize and a 6-month Impact Campaign utilizing the Film.
  • If selected, the filmmaker pledges in good faith that they and the characters of the film will participate with and in the award and impact campaign.


Long Line of Ladies is awarded the 2022 #MyJustice Film Award for a female-directed, short documentary giving viewers a rare and stigma-breaking glimpse into a revived indigenous tradition of celebrating and normalizing period conversations of its young women coming of age. This story uplifts the Native American Karuk tribe of Northern California’s multi-generational community, and takes a significant step towards understanding Indigenous Rights and the worldviews of Native and First Nations Peoples. The film shines a much-needed light on the urgency of women’s equality for all.

The Odyssey Impact® led six month National Impact Campaign, launching in 2023, will aim to use the film as a powerful tool and platform for education and activation, changing attitudes, opening hearts and minds, and inspiring actions for social change.

Film Credits

DIRECTED BY Rayka Zehtabchi and Shaandiin Tome

PRODUCED BY Garrett Schiff, Rayka Zehtabchi, Sam Davis, Pimm Tripp-Allen


MUSIC BY Forrest Goodluck & Juan Kleban

FEATURING Ahtyirahm “Ahty” Allen, Pimm Tripp-Allen, Alme Allen, and the Karuk Dance Family

The #MyJustice Film Award is made possible with the generous support from Paramount and its initiative Content for Change Academy.

The Content for Change Academy is a talent program that aims to remove barriers to entry for new storytellers, build equity, and invest in the industry’s next generation of leaders from nontraditional pathways.

Paramount’s global companywide, cross-brand initiative, Content for Change seeks to use the power of the company’s content creation ecosystem to break down the narratives that enable intolerance, hurtful stereotypes, and systemic racism to exist and grow. Informed and inspired BET’s groundbreaking campaign, Content for Change is centered on using scientific research, rigor, and data to transform ViacomCBS’ creative ecosystem across three pillars – the content it produces, the creative supply chain that powers it, and the culture that underpins everything the company does.

Samah Ali

Samah Ali is a distributor and film programmer based in New York City and Toronto. A lover of documentaries and virtual reality, she programs for Academy Award qualifying festivals DOC NYC, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, and Hot Docs Film Festival. She is also the founder of Sisterhood Media, a production and distribution company streaming films on their platform, Sisterhood Media TV.

Stephen Bailey

Stephen Bailey is a Jamaican- American Director and Cinematographer whose work brings a cinematic eye to intimate verite storytelling. Stephen made his directorial debut for Peacocks Shadowland series in 2022. His recent work includes interstitial DP for HULU/ONYX’s Hair Tales, series DP for HBO’s Seen and Heard and Producer and DP for HBO’s feature documentary Legend of the Underground.

Xiaoxiao Chen

Xiaoxiao Chen is a professional editor managing post production processes and storytelling techniques for feature and select short documentary and fiction films, TV, commercials and art exhibitions. Clients include HBO, Apple, New Balance and more with works screened at Cannes Film Festival, DOC NYC, Museum of Modern Art, TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood and the United Nations.

Evy Constantine

Evy Constantine is the Head of Social Impact at Odyssey Impact® where she leads the impact team, and strategy and execution for all impact campaigns and initiatives. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Communication where she earned a Master’s degree in Leadership for Creative Enterprises, graduating summa cum laude. She holds a Bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from The New School in New York City where she majored in Film and Media Studies, concentrating on all aspects of screenwriting. She holds a certificate in Negotiation Mastery from Harvard Business School. She has produced Award-winning films with KaplaniKid Productions, which have had their debut screenings at the Festival de Cannes.

Evy has held positions at various film and media companies, including Media Strategist at Spark Foundry, and handling Acquisitions and Development Strategy for film streaming start-up, Flix Premiere. She is a member of IDA, ACLU, NAACP and the Impact Guild, and a very proud and active member of both The New School Alumni Association and the Northwestern University Alumni Association, where she serves on the Alumni Admissions Council.

Nancy Dionne

Nancy Dionne is an award winning documentary filmmaker, producer and photojournalist. She says that “A good film can show you what a person or situation looks like but a great film allows you to feel what it’s like to BE that person in that situation.” She is a Yahoo!Japan Creator artist, founder of both “Express Your Last Wishes: Leave in Love” which helps people clarify their intentions for loved ones and founder of “On A Threshold Films.”

Past projects include her own “All I See is the Future” and the “Future is Rotten”, Transform Films, Inc. “Stranger/Sister” 2020, BreakThru Films “New Voices” segment for the 2018 Oscars, Lizzie Gottlieb’s “Turn Every Page”, Lost Footage Films for The Wall Street Journal Magazine “Columnists” series, Hitman Productions ITVS series pilot “Should We Kid or Not?” and Director Dempsey Rice’s “The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks”.

Nancy has worked and judged for the IDA, SF Film Festival and graduated on the Dean’s List from the New York Film Academy’s intensive documentary program and with honors in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute and is working on her third film about musical conductors.

Follow her @photonancydionne @AllISeeistheFuturedoc @TheFutureisRottendoc

Cassidy Friedman

Cassidy Friedman’s films have been called “powerful” by Mother Jones, “must-see” by The Mercury News, and “an audience favorite” by SF Chronicle. Our award-winning documentaries have premiered at festivals like Hot Docs, Cinequest, and Nashville and are widely available through our distributors, Lionsgate and Indican Pictures.

He directed the feature-length critically-acclaimed documentary, Circles (2018), which follows a dedicated high school counselor who struggles to balance the energy he pours into supporting his at-risk students and his relationship with his own son. (World Premiere Hot Docs; Winner Best Feature Documentary Covellite International Film Festival; Winner Best Feature Documentary Huntington Beach Film Festival; Winner Documentary Jury Award Special Mention Milwaukee Film Festival; Best Documentary Feature Nominee Nashville Film Fest; Official Selection Heartland International Film Festival; Virginia Film Festival; SF DocFest, and distributed by Indican Pictures).

He produced the documentary feature, Voices Beyond the Wall (2017), with Executive Producer James Franco, an Official Selection of the Miami International Film Festival; Winner of the Interfaith Award for Best Documentary at the St. Louis International Film Festival and Winner of the Frank Little Award for Self-Sacrifice and Social Change at Covellite International Film Festival, a coming-of-age story of girls in Honduras’ only orphanage for girls (distributed by Vision Video).

Cassidy directed the docuseries, Detroit Rising (2020), with Producer Kerra Bolton, a columnist at CNN, which won Best Web Series at Cyrus International Film Festival, and received Special Mention for Best Documentary at the Venice Shorts Film Festival.

He also directed a score of documentary shorts, both independent and for clients, including Finding Hope (2021), an Official Selection of Nassau Film Festival, New Hope Film Festival, Media Film Festival, Flicks4Change and The Film Collective and Unstill Life (2014), Official Selection of the 2014 Long Island International Film Expo and The SoCal Creative & Innovative Film Festival. And he directed the virtual reality experience, A-Block, US History, featuring slam poet champion, CeCe Jordan.

Through Stories Matter Media, he continues to make films that prioritize relationship, employ collaboration between filmmaker and film subject, and veer away from antiseptic plot lines in order to complicate narratives, and capture the authentic lived experiences of the characters.

He is in post-production on the feature documentary, Soledad, which follows three men seeking a second chance after prison as the nation explores reforming its prison system.

He and his wife, Becca Vershbow, Stories Matter Media’s Impact Producer, dreamed up their company as an engine for high-impact stories that make us fall in love with the characters, break our hearts at the hurdles they must overcome, and model for us how we can turn the signature trait of our humanity, our empathy, into action, communicate across difference and reform the core American institutions that are not living up to our common values.

Cassidy is a fellow of CIFF’s Points North Fellowship, Film Independent’s Fast Track program, and Film Independent’s Documentary Lab. His films have won grants from the International Documentary Association’s Pare Lorenz Doc Fund, Pacific Pioneer Fund and Center for Investigative Reporting. His prior work as a journalist earned him the Idaho Governor’s Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2009.

Ella Glendining

Ella Glendining is a Writer/Director dedicated to telling authentic disabled stories. Her first feature film, IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE? premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2023 as part of the World Cinema Documentary Competition. Ella has written/directed short films with backing from Film4, the BFI, Arts Council England, Screen South, and the National Paralympic Heritage Trust. Ella was named one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow 2020. She is currently writing a feature fiction film called CURIOSITIES OF FOOLS for the BFI.

Doug Hawes-Davis

Doug Hawes-Davis is the founder of the annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, an Academy-qualifying event for short-form documentary.  The festival is consistently recognized as one of the world’s finest documentary cinema events. Additionally, Hawes-Davis has taught filmmaking at the University of Montana and in the Colorado College Film & Media Studies Program and is a co-founder of Emmy nominated High Plains Films, working extensively in documentaries, television, web video, and non-profit/corporate video production.

Nailah Jefferson

Nailah’s acclaimed work has been distributed domestically and internationally on the film festival circuit, theatrically and televised. Her latest feature “Donyale Luna: Supermodel”, an HBO Documentary Film, explores the remarkable life and career of the first Black supermodels who graced the covers of both Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s but was blocked by US success.

Her next feature, COMMUTED, follows 51 year old Danielle Metz, whose triple life sentence was commuted by the Obama Administration in 2016. Previous films include: DESCENDED FROM THE PROMISED LAND: THE LEGACY OF BLACK WALL STREET, VANISHING PEARLS, Essence Magazine’s BLACK GIRL MAGIC Episode 4 and PLAQUEMINES.

Melissa C. Potter

Melissa C. Potter currently serves as the Vice President of Strategy and Impact at Paramount formerly, ViacomCBS/MTVEntertainment Group (MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, CMT, Logo, SmithsonianChannel, Paramount, POP Tv, and TV Land). The role enables her to supervise each network’s commitment to the long-term social impact of cultural shifts in society.

Prior to her position at Paramount, Potter served as the Head of Social Impact and Communications for Odyssey Impact® and Transform Films, she used film, technology, and new media as a catalyst for social change. For the film “The Rape of Recy Taylor” which won the prize for Human Rights at the Venice Film Festival, she received the 2018 NAACP Image Award nomination as Impact Producer for the film. By building awareness and changing attitudes towards issues of social justice such as women’s rights, gender based violence, criminal and gun law reform, and religious freedom, she led conversations around subjects concerning our nation’s diverse and often underrepresented populations.

As the Head of Social Responsibility and Partnerships at The National Family Engagement Alliance, Potter identified and measured solution-oriented practices for public and private partnerships such as the Scholastic Corporation. She launched the national Read2BGreat campaign with an emphasis on community engagement utilizing social influencers, garnering sponsorships, and fostering a culture of charitable giving.

Potter was at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund where she served as the organization’s primary media contact and spokesperson to develop communications strategies for federal, state and Supreme Court initiatives. She went on to work at the American Civil Liberties Union, where she led strategies on voting rights, criminal justice, disability rights, juvenile justice, and racial justice at the non-profit advocacy organization. While at the ACLU, as a team leader, she created and managed several multi-tiered advertising and marketing campaigns and was the direct liaison to celebrity spokespersons.

Fully committed to working with mission-driven organizations, Potter brings her talent, drive, extensive skills, and analytical focus to any organization. She has been featured and quoted in The New York Times, New York Daily News, The Washington Post and Essence Magazine, as well as others, and has been a speaker at SXSW, ImpactROI and Classy.org amongst many more.

A native of New York, Potter received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Northeastern University and Masters in Corporation Communication and Public Relations from New York University. Potter joined the NJCA Board of Directors in 2020. She also serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Fostering Change for Children. She was awarded “Change Agent of the Year” in 2018 from the Digital Diversity Network, is a Webby Anthem Awards juror and a Diversity Committee Member for Transform Films. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Potter currently resides in Mt. Vernon, New York with her husband and daughter.

Rudy Valdez

Rudy Valdez is an Emmy Award-winning Michigan-raised, New York City-based filmmaker committed to creating social, cultural, and political stories through a cinematic and meaningful lens. He got his start in film as a Camera Operator on the Peabody Award-winning, Sundance series Brick City and went onto direct a true passion project, The Sentence (HBO). Shot and directed by Valdez over the course of a decade, this feature documentary tells the very personal story of his sister’s plight in the criminal justice system while tackling subjects like mandatory minimums and sentencing reform. For this work, the filmmaker won the 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, US Documentary Audience Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and was a 2018 Critics Choice Documentary Awards Best New Director nominee.

Prior to The Sentence, Valdez has worked as a Cinematographer on a multitude of projects including: The Last Patrol (HBO), directed by Academy Award-nominated Director Sebastian Junger; Whoopi Goldberg presents Moms Mabley: I Got Something To Tell You (HBO) produced and directed by Whoopi Goldberg, premiering at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival; Remembering the Artist, Robert De Niro, Sr., (HBO), premiering at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival; The Conversation Series, a New York Times OpDoc; the series Second Coming?: Will Black America Decide the 2012 Election? (BET); Prison Dogs, directed by Primetime Emmy Award-winning Director Geeta Gandbhir and Perri Peltz, premiering at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival; Buried Above Ground, directed by Ben Selkow, premiering at the Woodstock Film Festival; as well as, The Talk (PBS), directed by Academy Award-nominated Director Sam Pollard.

Valdez’s most recent project, ReOpening Night, a feature film about The Public Theater’s staging of a beloved New York City institution, Shakespeare in the Park, following the COVID-19 pandemic. It will premiere on HBO Max December 20th. This summer, Breakaway, a feature film following WNBA superstar, Maya Moore and her fight for criminal justice reform, premiered on ESPN in July 2021 (produced by Rockin’ Robin Productions); and its complementary short, Make Him Known, premiered at the 2021 Miami Film Festival and made appearances at the Sarasota Film Festival, The Brooklyn Film Festival, Minneapolis Film Festival, and Nantucket Film Festival. His four-part docu-series, We Are: The Brooklyn Saints (produced by Imagine Documentaries), is currently streaming on Netflix. He also co- directed the premiere episode of Through Our Eyes (HBO) alongside Academy Award-winning director, Geeta Gandbhir, a four-part docu-series from Sesame Workshop that explores the lives of American families from the perspective of children; how they navigate their circumstances with their families and the world at large. He is also in production on the definitive feature documentary of Carlos Santana (produced by Imagine Documentaries) and Disney +’s CHOIR, a docu-series following the Detroit Youth Choir after their star turn on America’s Got Talent (also produced by Imagine Documentaries). Valdez’s repertoire now extends into the scripted arena as he recently sold a genre TV series he created to Amazon that is loosely based on his family and life experiences.

Stay Up To Date!

Sign up to be in the know about what’s going on at Odyssey Impact®, events, screenings, new campaigns, and more.