Announcing the Winners of the 2014 Smithsonian In Motion Video Contest

Watch the best of our submissions

Spanning a range of topics from using the human form as a medium for sound visualization to an in-depth look at Jellyfish Lake in Palau, this year's In Motion video contest submissions blew us away. We received roughly 200 original videos from up-and-coming videographers, and we are pleased to present this year’s Grand Prize Winner as well as individual category prize winners.

GRAND PRIZE: A Lifestory

The winner of the Animation sub-category in addition to Grand Prize Winner, director Nacho Rodriguez's video follows the long journey of a little cat that lives on a dying planet. Over the course of his voyage, he faces danger and finds adventure, but ultimately returns home. A Lifestory postulates that life is a circle that begins and ends at home, and is loosely based on "The Hymn of the Pearl."

VIEWERS' CHOICE: In a Matter of Seconds

Life can knock you off your feet in a matter of seconds, but for Victoria Sonnenburg, staying down wasn't an option. In a Matter of Seconds, Lauren Meyering not only chronicles Sonnenburg's triumphs in the face of incredible adversity but also how the dancer has maintained her unwavering optimism.

PEOPLE: Nahkon Pathom, Thailand

Women in Thailand cannot become officially ordained buddhist monks; Chatsumarn Kabilsingh, age 68, is determined to reverse this tradition. Biel Calderon's video details Kabilsingh's spiritual journey after leaving her job as a professor at a renowned Thai university in 2000, being ordained a full bhikkhuni (the word for female Buddhist monks) in Sri Lanka, and returning to her home country to improve the position of Thai women in religion. 

ARTS: Stop Telling Women to Smile

Stop Telling Women to Smile focuses on an art series by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh that attempts to address gender-based street harassment by placing drawn portraits of women, accompanied by captions that speak directly to offenders, in public spaces. This short documentary by Dean Peterson explores Fazlalizadeh's process and illuminates this serious issue by showcasing two women's experiences with street harassment.

NATURAL WORLD: Water in the Cloudforest

This video, created by Jackson Egan, Carol Jennings, and Daniel Masciari at Ithaca College's Park Productions in collaboration with community organizers, educators, and farmers in Intag, Ecuador, seeks to demonstrate how the cloud forest's entire ecosystem depends on clean water for survival and would suffer significant damage should this unique watershed be subject to mining, pesticides and deforestation.

TRAVEL: Coast of Arabia

Brandon Li's Coast of Arabia serves as a travelogue of the various landscapes he encountered in Oman, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. His primary goal was to capture the startling visual contrasts found in these destinations -- from barren to lush, ancient to ultra-modern -- as well as raise awareness of the lesser-known corners of this complex region.

HOW-TO: A Riehl Blacksmith

Sam Riehl, the youngest professionally operating blacksmith in Louisiana, breathes new life into an old profession, infusing form and function through metal arts in this short film by Brennan Robideaux.


Bartendaz Inc. is the physical fitness division of Giant Thinking Inc, a non-profit organization that combines a unique physical fitness program, martial arts, youth empowerment and hip-hop to push young people and  communities to higher standards of physical, social and moral excellence. This short documentary directed by Kevin Lopez highlights the stories behind some of the great individuals who make up the Bartendaz, and the incredible struggles they have endured to achieve the greatness they exemplify today.

Check out all of our finalists here. Thank you again to everyone who submitted a video to the contest and keep your eyes out for announcements about the 2015 contest.

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