OKLAHOMA – Oklahoma City-based Toy Gun Films won two major awards at the Beverly Hills Film Festival for their work about violence in Colombia. “En Tus Manos,” won the prestigious Best Short Film, and Colombian actor, Santiago Diaz, won Best Actor for the entire festival.
“En Tus Manos,” is the first release from producers Brent Green and Jeff Goldberg, who serve as co-presidents of Toy Gun Films. Green and Goldberg founded Toy Gun Films in 2009 – six months later, they were on location in Colombia.
“Winning these awards is exciting for us as a film company, but what’s more important is the attention that this film brought to such an important issue,” Green said. “Colombia is a beautiful place, full of stories of triumph. Unfortunately, to reach many of those stories, you have to tell the ones about the obstacles many people there face.”
“We’ve found that many Colombians appreciate this film because they feel that the film is honest about the problem of violence, but the real emphasis is placed on the solution,” Goldberg said. “It gives Colombia an opportunity to share a powerful message with the rest of the world.”
Shot entirely in Spanish on location in Bogota, Colombia, “En Tus Manos,” which means “In Your Hands” in English, tells the story of a young man struggling with an abusive father while growing up in a violent neighborhood. The film was inspired by a collection of true stories surrounding the issue of violence directed at religious leaders throughout Colombia. More than 870 short films were entered into the festival.
“En Tus Manos” was written and co-produced by award-winning writer Oscar Torres (“Innocent Voices”) and directed by Ron Jacobs. It was edited by Luis Carballar. Mexican actress Paulina Gaitan (“Trade,” “Sin Nombre”) played a lead role alongside Diaz and an entirely Colombian cast. The film had its first screening in January in downtown Oklahoma City. Its world premiere came in February at the 2010 Cartagena Film Festival in Colombia.
Toy Gun Films is working with the Colombian National Television commission to broadcast “En Tus Manos” on more than 700 channels throughout Colombia. The film is being shown in schools, churches and communities. Green said he hopes up to 5 million Latin American viewers see the film during the next three years. The film will be shown at 1:30 p.m. June 12 at the deadCENTER Film Festival in Oklahoma City.
Toy Gun Films is a nonprofit group that accepts donations from those who share their vision to address global issues through film. They are in the process of building a diverse development slate including feature-length films, short films and documentaries.
The company is currently working on a short film that explores the issues surrounding the phenomenon of “Enjo-kosai,” or “compensated dating” in Japan. During compensated dating, men give women money or gifts for dates. The film is scheduled to begin production in Tokyo this June and will mark Green’s directorial debut.
“There are so many important issues around the world that film can address unlike any other medium,” said Green, 26. “Our goal is to bring awareness to these issues, and also identify the hope and solutions that come with them.”
Green began his film career in 2004 as video coordinator for the feature film “End of the Spear” and went on to write and direct a variety of independent projects. He became creative director and vice president of new media for .tv, the award-winning multimedia website for documentary production company EthnoGraphic Media, which was founded by Green’s father, Mart. Brent Green is the grandson of Hobby Lobby David Green.
Goldberg, 27, interned for Icon Productions leading up to the release of “The Passion of the Christ” while he was a student at . Upon graduation, he was hired by the William Morris Agency, and went on to become a marketing and distribution executive for Every Tribe Entertainment (“End of the Spear”) and EthnoGraphic Media, where he worked closely with Green.