SIMA Studios
SIMA Impact Cinema
Published in
3 min readFeb 7, 2018



LOS ANGELES (February 7, 2018):

“It takes someone who’s been through something to help someone who’s going through something.” — Brian, Big Sonia

As the consequences of climate change unfold, political power shifts, and wars seem to calcify, documentary film plays an invaluable role in reminding us of the resilience of the human spirit — not only to survive but to refute injustice and lift one another up in the process.

From 49 finalists, SIMA has selected 18 winners and 9 jury prize recipients for the 6th Annual International Social Impact Media Awards. This year’s films place the camera in the hands of unexpected heroes.

Ordinary citizens like Nori Sharif (Nowhere to Hide, Best Documentary), a nurse in the “triangle of death” in Central Iraq who began filming the stories of victims of the Iraq War in 2011, and over the course of 5 years turns the camera on himself as he and his family are forced to flee when ISIS advances on Jalawla. Or Kenyan farmer, Kisilu (Thank You For The Rain, Best Cinematography), faced with the ravages of climate change, taking to the global stage as a community leader and activist.

The challenges faced by this year’s films are close-ups of the broad strokes of our collective challenges. This year’s films tell the stories of those who’ve allowed unjust circumstances to catalyze their role in changing them for others and themselves.

Driving the citizen journalists of City of Ghosts to risk everything in exposing the lies of ISIS, is the will to prevent the ideology of ISIS from capturing more people. Channeling their grief into community organizing, the family of Dontre Hamilton — a black, unarmed man diagnosed with schizophrenia, shot 14 times and killed by a Milwaukee police officer — take on America’s crises of mental illness reform, police brutality, and racial injustice (Blood Is At The Doorstep, Best Editing).

Having endured concentration camps, death marches, and a shot through the chest, Holocaust survivor Big Sonia (Best Director) stands tall at 4’8” transforming everyone she meets as they ask themselves, will you let your trauma define you, or will your past make you stronger?

The issues we face today grow increasingly global and demand collective answers. Those answers will come from ordinary citizens, like the courageous individuals in this year’s films, who weave their circumstances into their pursuit of a better world.

“SIMA 2018 Winners allow us to witness the most crucial global challenges and opportunities of our time. With breathtaking authenticity they offer a fierce understanding of what it means to be human and participate in this global movement called humanity.” — Daniela Kon, SIMA Founder and Executive Director

When done with creative integrity, like SIMA 2018 winners, documentary film captures the realities of our world — how the stories of some are really a part of our own story. The most powerful revelation of documentary film is not what is depicted on the screen, but the impact we all have and can have after the credits roll.

How will your stories answer the invitation to impact?

To view the full winners list visit:

More information:


SIMA (Social Impact Media Awards) is a non-profit impact media agency dedicated to advancing cross-cultural understanding, human rights and education by celebrating contemporary social-issue documentaries of excellence, screening films in communities and classrooms worldwide, and connecting international audiences, educators and organizations with the best global impact media.




SIMA Studios
SIMA Impact Cinema

SIMA is a global impact media agency amplifying the power of documentary storytelling to advance positive social change.