Local High School Senior Wins 2nd Place in National Film Contest

Under Tutelage of CUJF's Holocaust Education Center, Local High School Senior Wins 2nd Place in National Film Contest

On March 10th, Natalee Hunter, a senior at Sullivan High School in East Central Illinois, received a second place award in the high school film division of the Holocaust Art and Writing Contest in Orange, California. Natalee has been mentored by Rebecca Lawson, Robin Goetell, and Brian Kahn, all volunteers with the CUJF Holocaust Education Center. This is her second year winning an award in the contest. 

The contest, sponsored by Chapman University and The 1939 Society (an organization for Holocaust survivors, their friends, and families), had 241 registered schools from the U.S., Canada, Poland, Romania, South Korea, India, South Africa, Mexico, Ireland, Germany, and Philippines. 

“This experience has been incredible, and I want to encourage any other high school or middle school students to look into competing in competitions like this one. It opened up a lot of doors for me along with providing an experience like none other,” noted Natalee.

Natalee's film Quiet Resistance is based on a recorded interview with Vladka Meed, a Holocaust survivor who was a Warsaw Ghetto fighter. Meed, who later immigrated to the U.S. with her husband Benjamin Meed, created and led the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teacher’s Program.

This year’s contest focused on the strength of love and the will to survive. 

Natalee's three minute piece focuses on the quiet acts of resistance that Meed discusses and how they were intertwined with love and the will to survive. One person connected to the university shared that she particularly liked Natalee's film because it was about an underrepresented part of the Holocaust.

Natalee traveled with her parents and HEC volunteer, Rebecca Lawson, to receive her award. While they were there, they also visited the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance and the LA Holocaust museum. “Both of them provided a new look at the information I had been researching,” said Natalee.

Natalee commented, “I am so grateful for everyone who has helped Miss Lawson and I. None of this could have happened without the immense support we’ve been given.”

Natalee will share her two short films and her story of how she came to highlight events and participants of the Holocaust on April 23 at the annual Yom Hashoah Commemorative Service and Through Their Eyes: Student Art and Writing Exhibit at Sinai Temple at 11:30 AM. This is truly an incredible accomplishment for Natalee - you can read her story and see her first film from last year on our HEC website.

Information here has been provided by Rebecca Lawson. If you are interested in helping fund these opportunities for our local students you can make a donation to support the HEC.