UNA-NY Screening the Issues

My Beautiful Nicaragua

Please join us for this special sneak-peek screening
followed by Q+A with

BYkids Film Mentor and Legendary Filmmaker


Founder and Executive Director, BYkids


Thursday |  February 9, 2017

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
UNA Student Members: $10
Guests and Non-Members: $15

With her film MY BEAUTIFUL NICARAGUA young BYkids filmmaker Edelsin Linette Mendez documents the devastating effects of climate change on her family's small coffee plantation while expressing hopes that her generation will take part in the fight for a sustainable future.

12-year-old Edelsin Linette Mendez lives with her siblings and parents on their small coffee farm in the beautiful highlands of Nicaragua.

The farming of coffee in Nicaragua has supported the Mendez family and thousands like them for generations, with coffee accounting for 30 percent of the country's exports. As a result of climate change, increasing temperatures and erratic rainfall now facilitate the growth of "La Roya" fungus that kills the coffee crop. In the last three years alone, the Mendez family harvest has been reduced over 50 percent by this fungus, forcing them into poverty.

Since climate change knows no borders, this phenomenon is also ravaging coffee crops beyond Nicaragua, ruining at least half of the one million acres of coffee planted in Central America. USAID estimates that Central American Coffee Production will fall by up to 40 percent in the next few years, with possible job losses as high as 500,000. These decreases in production also mean drastically reduced incomes for these small farmers, making it prohibitively expensive for them to control this disease.

With the use of a video camera, Edelsin hopes to make vivid the serious consequences of a severely damaged coffee harvest to her own future and that of her country. Since January 2016, Edelsin began to document her family's traditional, labor intensive method of gathering coffee "cherries" and the many subsequent steps of milling, sorting and washing the beans before they were taken to be sold, by horse-back, to a coffee co-op, miles away.

During the process, she asked her family and members of the coop to speak about the drastic changes that this disease has brought in such a short time. Edelsin and her classmates are learning, first hand, about climate change and realizing they, too, will need to join other young people across the globe to forge a sustainable future. "It will take millions of kids like us to stop the disaster" she says, "but we are getting ready."

Join us for this premiere sneak peek of MY BEAUTIFUL NICARAGUA, which will be included in a second season of BYkids films to be presented on PBS in the future. Our guests this evening to discuss the film after the screening will be filmmaker Joyce Chopra (Edelsin's film mentor), producer Sammy Chadwick, and Holly Carter, the founder and executive director of BYkids.

Edelsin's film mentor is the renowned Joyce Chopra, a pioneer of documentary cinema whose numerous titles include That Our Children Will Not Die, about primary health care in Nigeria, and the autobiographical Joyce at 34, which is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Chopra has produced and directed a wide range of award-winning films, ranging from Smooth Talk, winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Dramatic Feature at the Sundance Film Festival, to the A&E thriller The Lady in Question with Gene Wilder.

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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As processing time may vary for new memberships, new or renewing UNA members signing up for events should be sure to bring a payment transaction receipt when attending for validation.

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Only UNA-NY Members have guaranteed admission to all our Screening the Issues film events, and attend for free or pay the discounted Members' admission, while Student Members attend most events for free. While we do offer a pay-at-the-door policy for guests and non-members, our events are often sold-out, so we strongly encourage membership with UNA-NY to guarantee your seats! Why not take advantage?