More than ever before film has the power to shape public opinion on religion. Negative views can now be propagated in an instant through social media. Faith Shorts, our global film competition, challenges the voices who try to distil faiths into stereotypical sound bites and offers a powerful alternative.

Faith Shorts provides young people with the opportunity to express their faith through film, bringing their voices to a global stage. The competition sees entrants challenge stereotypes which exist about religion and show what their faith means to them in their own words.

These personal stories offer a glimpse into how young people view their faith in their own lives. Two shortlisted film makers highlight the messages of peace, non violence and equality Islam preaches which many people are unaware of. Our first-ever animation film questions the existence of God, and one film from India explores the ways globalisation is connecting different cultures like never before.

Through these films opinions are formed based on first-hand information. The audience learns that not all Muslims think “this” and all Christians think “that.  Seeing this diversity helps reduce stereotypes. It is this human connection that really helps people understand where “the other” is coming from.  Ignorance is often the source of misunderstanding and conflict as people fear the unknown. Through these films Faith Shorts aims to counter prejudices and extremist views.

This year’s shortlisted films reflect the global nature of the competition. Films came in from Israel, India, Egypt, Argentina, Pakistan, Singapore, Lebanon, and the Philippines, to name just a few.

If you haven’t already, make sure to watch this year’s shortlisted films ahead of the awards ceremony. Tune in to watch the live stream from 195 Piccadilly, the home of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) at 6 pm GMT on the 26th November to find out who the winners are. You can join in the conversation on Twitter @TonyBlair_TBFF #FaithShorts2012

Watch all the shortlisted films here.

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