UNA-NY Screening the Issues

Poet Against Prejudice

Please join us for this BYkids screening followed by
a Special Panel Discussion and a Q+A with

BYkids filmmaker

Chief, Civil Society Section, UN Women

Founder and Executive Director, BYkids


NOTE: This event is SOLD OUT.
All reservations are now closed.


Thursday |  May 21, 2015

6:00 - 6:30 p.m. |  Registration and Reception
6:30 - 7:30 p.m. |  Film Screening followed by Q+A
7:30 - 8:00 p.m. |  Reception

Screening begins promptly at 6:30 p.m.

Dolby 88 Screening Room
1350 Avenue of the Americas (at West 55th Street)
Lobby Level
New York, NY 10019



UNA Members: $10
Guests and Non-Members: $25

In POET AGAINST PREJUDICE a young BYkids filmmaker asks us all to examine our own notions, attitudes, and biases about other religions, ethnicities and nationalities in our nation of immigrants.

Faiza Almontaser is a 17-year old senior attending the Brooklyn International High School. In 2006 Faiza immigrated with her family to Brooklyn, NY from a small farming town in Yemen. Raised as a religious Muslim, she often struggles to reconcile her cultural background with the realities she meets as a high school student in one of New York City's most socially dynamic neighborhoods.

At age 10, Faiza enrolled in the sixth grade as the only Muslim in her school. She had high hopes for her new education, but was soon discouraged by her minimal understanding of English and the anti-Islamic fervor she encountered among her classmates. Without the knowledge of language to defend herself, Faiza spent her first few months suffering in silence.

Determined to find her voice, she spent six months learning enough English to begin speaking out against the discrimination faced by Muslims in her community. Now in high school she works as a peer trainer with the Anti-Defamation League, teaching her classmates the dangers and repercussions of racism. Faiza also works to combat her struggle with the written word; through poems and essays she challenges common misconceptions of Islamic culture, and expresses her visions for change and equality.

"Too many people don't stand up for the truth, or for each other," she says. "Too many only care about themselves and never put themselves into other people's shoes and see how it feels to be bullied and left alone."

Under the mentorship of the award-winning filmmaker Albert Maysles, Faiza offers a strong voice to the quieted strife of immigrant children throughout the United States. As the first American BYkids youth filmmaker, her personal narrative takes this film to the heart of issues that are cleaving social integration and international understanding in a post 9/11 world.

POET AGAINST PREJUDICE can help change the dialogue about bullying in the United States. Bullying is increasingly making headlines, yet positive stories of success and change are missing. Far too often, we hear tragic stories of bullying when it's already too late. BYkids aims to fill that gap in narrative while acknowledging the universality of such issues of confidence, immigration and dealing with adversity.


The following is a statement from the Maysles family regarding the death of legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, who passed away on March 5 at the age of 88.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, following a brief battle with cancer. Albert was a loving husband, father, brother as well as a friend to many. For more than five decades, Albert created groundbreaking films, inspired filmmakers and touched all those with his humanity, presence and his belief in the power of love. He was also a teacher, mentor and a source of inspiration for countless filmmakers, artists and everyday people."

Maysles, a pioneer of Direct Cinema along with his late brother David, was the first to make nonfiction feature films, where the drama of life unfolds as is without scripts, sets, interviews or narration. The Maysles brothers founded Maysles Films together in the 1960s. Among his more than 50 films are some of the most iconic works in documentary history: including the first Beatles' film What's Happening, Salesman, Gimme Shelter and Grey Gardens.

Maysles' celebrated career has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Peabody Awards, three Emmy Awards, six Lifetime Achievement Awards, the Columbia DuPont Award, and the award for best cinematography at Sundance for HBO's Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton (2001), which was also nominated for an Academy Award. Eastman Kodak has saluted him as one of the "world's 100 finest cinematographers". In 2014 Albert received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama, along with Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Made In New York" award.

Albert's legacy will continue as new generations of filmgoers and filmmakers discover his work.


Lopa Banerjee is Chief of the Civil Society Section at UN Women, a position she has held since January 2012. She is based in New York and leads UN Women's work on strengthening civil society contribution, participation and influence in norm setting and intergovernmental policy discussion and decision processes.

A gender and human rights thematic expert with substantive experience in social policy and governance issues across Asia and Africa, Lopa has worked for more than 30 years in international development, policy advocacy, communication and partnership building, across the UN and in the private sector.

Ms. Banerjee has had a long career with the United Nations. Prior to the UN she worked with the private sector as well as with civil society, in India. Before joining UN Women, Lopa worked with UNDP and OHCHR in South Africa and UNICEF in Iran (the Islamic Republic of), Bangladesh and New York. In India, Lopa worked for several years in communication, research and advocacy. Lopa has worked with civil society in diverse spaces and facilitated UN-civil society engagement in South Africa, Iran and Bangladesh.

Lopa's areas of specialization include policy analysis and advocacy, partnership development and engagement, and Gender and Human Rights Based Programming and training.

She speaks English, Hindi, Bengali and is currently learning Spanish.

Because kids tell honest and important stories, but often go unheard, the non-profit organization BYkids was created to pair master filmmakers, such Albert Maysles and Ric Burns, with youth (ages 8-21) from around the world, to create short documentaries that educate Americans about globally relevant issues.

By giving kids the tools and mentoring to make documentary films about their lives and packaging those films for a wide American audience, BYkids gives voice to youth from diverse cultures, and encourages international understanding and engagement by giving viewers concrete ways to respond.

In October 2011, Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for U.N. Peacekeeping Operations, became a core advisor for developing BYkids partnerships with United Nations agencies, extending the story sourcing, on-site logistics and strategic outreach for BYkids films. "Each BYkids youth storyteller mobilizes our conscience towards a larger sense of global solidarity. BYkids reminds us that we are one Humanity," said Mulet.

Holly Carter is the Founder and Executive Director of BYkids. Holly began her career as a writer and editor at The New York Times and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Since then she has lived in Korea as a Henry Luce scholar and print and television journalist; produced an award-winning documentary on Margaret Sanger; co-founded North Carolina's Full Frame Festival; served as a consultant for The After-School Corporation; produced the PBS series Media Matters; and most recently was the Executive Director of The Global Film Initiative.

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