WMAs is the brainchild of the woman affectionately refer to as the “Cinebrainniac,” and her “aha” moment came in 2008. With a diverse background in world music, global culture, and film as a “script doctor,” she knew the power of bringing film and music together to create great entertainment. While encountering many diverse talents around the world, she realized the lack of global acknowledgment. This inspired her to create the World Movie Awards Organization (WMAs), a non-profit organization that promotes cultural diversity globally via film, whereby every single culture in the world is included. She likened the concept to the movie Olympics.
When the idea came, she wrote it down and ignored it. Even after setting it aside, the idea would not leave her alone. “I could not sleep, and it was bothering me. That is the only way I know how to describe it,” she says. After getting the steps to follow, I felt like there was a call, so I started writing things down.” After she decided to embrace the vision, she began researching major film festivals worldwide and reaching out to her international contacts. She discovered there was no organization pursuing the same type of vision as hers, with diversity being the main requirements.
Elements such as these are integral parts of life in rural/urban areas and among Indigenous peoples, and now they will have an opportunity to be honored on a global platform. Additionally, it is required that, apart from the English speaking countries, the U.S. and Great Britain, no submissions can be presented in English. The film must be submitted in their native language with English subtitles.
Films from each region may be submitted until March, and the nominations for each region’s annual regional awards will be announced in the spring of 2021. After nominations, the 12 regional offices will have from June until November 2021 to host their individual awards ceremonies. Regional winners will compete for the global awards, which will be held in 2022, and after that, bi-annually.
The global awards will involve the public in every step as a select group of people will utilize devices to determine the winner. “It is going to be one of the most difficult decisions ever that the world will probably have to make. We all have our beautiful cultures and something different about it,” she says. “So a part of the global awards is that-aside from the motion picture itself – cultural performance has a huge part to play in the selection of the winner. How one’s culture is portrayed, how it is promoted, and what exactly it is that is being introduced into the world that has to be safeguarded will play a major role in selecting the winner.”
In encouraging other filmmakers to promote or produce movies that safeguard ICH domains and elements, WMAs endeavors not only to bring honor and global acknowledgment to the recipient of the final ICH Motion Picture of the Year Award, but also plans to raise a million dollars to give to the recipient as a financial award.
Taking on such a massive undertaking in a male-dominated industry has not come without its share of challenges. “If you have ever challenged me, it has motivated me,” says the Cinebrainniac. Unfortunately, it has not been uncommon to receive the cold shoulder from those in Hollywood that she has reached out for help. On the other hand, many who have expressed their interest and want to be involved tend to come with an agenda, such as attempts to attribute the organization to themselves or demand unreasonable profit in exchange for their help. Time and time again, the visionary of WMAs has had to stand firm, unwilling to be bought, and for this reason, the WMAs stands alone. “That is why I have not affiliated the organization with anyone. It is not a Hollywood thing. It is just a regular organization that is trying to do what is right. We are trying to do what has not been done yet, to break the mold.”
Although there have been many attempts to not only take control of the concept but prevent the organization’s existence, Cinebrainniac has refused to be deterred from the vision, and she wields the power of “no” fearlessly. With many favorable global connections, she has managed to keep the organization’s teams in the right hands with the rightly aligned motives. Those who come with pure motives and a willingness to help will be welcomed with open arms.
Call to Action
Carrying such a humanitarian effort with a promise to impact the world and break down barriers was no small feat, and at times it seemed like WMAs was a dream deferred. Prominent supporters of the vision have died, and its visionary has endured many traumatic curveballs, but after nearly 14 years in the making, the organization is soon to manifest. After much persistence, things are now going full steam ahead, and the timing could not be better considering the need for cultural sensitivity and inclusion. This mining of cultural riches that our diverse world has to offer, as displayed on film, will not only educate and raise awareness but will help bridge the gap to unity among cultures.
With its mission to bring awareness to the beauty of every culture and ethnicity globally, WMAs hopes that its very existence will provoke others to get involved and find a way to contribute in whatever way possible to get it going. “It is a huge concept, and I cannot do it alone… some people say we are all equal. I do not believe in that,” Cinebrainniac refutes. “I believe that uniquely we are created, and we are like the missing link in each other’s world. My weakness might be your strength, and when we come together… we can all move the world together.” Here is an organization that is saying that all are welcome to come on board.