Better Than Baghdad: Light House Studio’s young filmmakers win World Medal

Light House Studio’s young filmmakers win bronze medal in international competition. Light House Studio’s young filmmakers win bronze medal in international competition.

Students of local non-profit Light House Studio received high honors this week in competition against filmmakers of all ages, from more than 50 countries. Reid Hildebrand and classmates, writer Conor Kyle, sound and assistant cameraman Greg Nachmanovtich, and production assistants Elisha Courts and Mitz Germershausen won the Grand Jury’s Bronze World Medal at the New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards on Tuesday for their documentary, Better Than Baghdad.

The film was produced with grant support from the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation-Community Endowment, and collaboration between the International Rescue Committee and Light House Studio, which provides education and professional-grade equipment and editing software for Charlottesville residents ages 8-18, helping them to create films that not only win awards, but that have the potential to spark discussions of political and humanitarian importance.

Better Than Baghdad is a five-minute short, featuring Palestinian refugee Majed Alsruar, and his recollections of the Al-Waleed refugee camp on the Iraqi-Syrian border, where he and his family lived for five years before emigrating to Charlottesville. Hildebrand’s team compiled footage shot by Al-Waleed residents, news clips, and conversations with Alsruar, to effectively begin a larger conversation among viewers about, according to Hildebrand, “a part of humanity that is under-reported and misrepresented by the media and popular attention.”

Better Than Baghdad will be screened alongside 19 other “competitive shorts” at the 2013 Virginia Student Film Festival this Saturday, April 13, at UVA’s Newcomb Hall Theatre at 3pm. For more information visit