by Ana Carolina Cassiano, Head of Education Development, AFS Intercultural Programs

Seven young filmmakers from Mexico were awarded the PLURAL+ 2021 AFS Intercultural Learning Award for their short film “We are all made of stars” for tackling topics related to intercultural awareness and diversity in a compelling way and inspiring others to build bridges across cultures. The award is a result of AFS’ collaboration with the PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival, a joint initiative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) that invites the world’s youth to submit original and creative videos focusing on the themes of migration, diversity and social inclusion. 

“We are all made of stars” was a result of the collaboration of students from Mexico who wanted to showcase via film that celebrating diversity and recognizing human beings as part of a whole is a key step towards building a better world. They feel responsible to achieve this goal while inspiring more people to join their effort. The original idea for the film came from friends Luciano Villanueva and Xose Pablo Flores and was written together with Ana Victoria Villanueva. They were joined by friends Silvana Villanueva and Carlo Villanueva as actors, Mauricio Chapoy as editor and Fabian Monroy as project coordinator. 

Through the making of the film, they learned the value of true teamwork, and wish to help more people in a more effective and structured manner in the future. Their goal is to continue participating in international forums that help advance the “leaving to learn together” movement and to find new ways their passion for making a difference can reach even more people. Learn more about the “We are all made of stars” creators and crew below: 

  • Ana Victoria Villanueva: Ana Vic visualizes herself as a citizen of the world. She is in love with cultures and languages ​​and currently dreams of living academic experiences abroad, to eventually become a doctor and help others through medicine.
  • Silvana Villanueva: Sil’s joy makes her stand out in the crowd, and helps her achieve with firmness and determination whatever goal she sets for herself, especially if it involves helping others.
  • Luciano Villanueva: Lu’s sheer determination drives him to seek equality and justice everywhere. He is a great defender of human rights and of the causes that impact the less fortunate, so he is always willing to collaborate.
  • Carlo Villanueva: Carlo’s passion for horses has taught him that life is like a ride that could not only be wild and fast but one that can also appease our soul. He believes that every day offers a magical opportunity to appreciate the path, whatever it may be while sensing the environment to recognize ourselves as part of a bigger reality.
  • Xose Pablo Flores: Xosh is passionate about social causes. Therefore, he seeks to consider underprivileged groups in his projects, such as the elderly or the indigenous peoples of the Mexican sierras. He’s now learning sign language, compelled to think of new ways to give a voice to those who cannot speak.
  • Mauricio Chapoy: Mau is a talented advertising student who has supported our children to bring their idea to life from the start. He dreams of becoming a great creative in an agency, which will allow him to express his thoughts uniquely.
  • Fabian Monroy: Fabi has an amazing eye and led the project to shape and materialize the team’s ideas. His talent in visual arts allows him to communicate ideas precisely, just as they were conceived from the very beginning.
Award winners during the virtual PLURAL+ ceremony

AFS selected “We are all made of stars” from 50 youth videos that have been shortlisted from hundreds of submissions during the PLURAL+2021 pre-selection screenings. You can learn more about the other finalists and winners on the PLURAL+ website. 

The PLURAL+ 2021 AFS Intercultural Learning Award was presented during the virtual PLURAL+ 2021 Awards ceremony in an atmosphere of recognizing youth as powerful agents of positive social change. AFS has been proud to support this initiative since 2013.