Business: A powerful force for
interfaith understanding & peace


Short Film Competition: Religious Freedom is Good for Business


The Middle East Women’s Leadership Network (MEWLN) and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) are pleased the Religious Freedom Film Competition. The goal of the competition is to challenge women filmmakers around the world to create short films that showcase how religious freedom leads to innovation, peace, security, entrepreneurship, and human flourishing in communities. The competition begins in March 2017, with the grand prize winner receiving $5000 and a trip to present her work at the 2018 Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards in Seoul, South Korea, on March 8, the night before the opening of the Winter Paralympics.

Strategically, these films will help to show that a commitment to religious freedom and interfaith understanding is a means to fulfilling the UN Strategic Development Goal 16: “Promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” 


Denials of religious freedom are associated with poorer economic performance and lower global competitiveness, according to a study by researchers at Georgetown University and Brigham Young University. And other studies show that religious freedom promotes peace, which is particularly important for business because where stability exists, there is more opportunity to invest and conduct normal and predictable business operations, especially in emerging and new markets.


In our age of media, we must engage women as media advocates, believing visual narratives will encourage indigenous leaders in countries experiencing religious conflict to advance human dignity and the freedom of conscience for everyone. We believe women can create short videos that advance the legal principal of freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief for every person without distinction.

Why Women Filmmakers Should Submit to this Competition
  • — Women are having an extraordinary influence around the world, and their impact will increase as they develop appropriate media tools during this competition.
  • — Women will be given a platform to share their message with wider audiences.
  • — Women will be given practical steps to launch their religious freedom outreach.
  • — Women filmmakers will become role models who can guide others in promoting religious freedom.
Short Film Competition: General Guidelines

The 1-to-3 minute films should be artful and compelling explorations of the impact of religious freedom (or the lack of it) in the workplace and community. Filmmakers may choose to create short narratives of real-life business leaders who encourage freedom of religious expression in their workplace or community.

Whether inspired by real-life events or fictional, animated, or experimental, the films should thoughtfully seek to affirm that cultural diversity and religious freedom are good for business.

  • RUNTIME — Shorts: From 1 to 3 minutes
  • ACCEPTED GENRES — Documentaries, Narratives, Animation, Experimental, Montage.
  • DEADLINE — October 1, 2017
  • PLACE OF ORIGIN — Films may developed from around the world.
  • NOTIFICATION DATE — February 1, 2018
  • SUBMISSIONS — The submission fee is $35.

For more details about the competition and sample films, visit the MEWLN website at or contact Shirin Taber, MEWLN Director, at

Click here to submit your film through Withoutabox.


#EatTogether is a Canadian business campaign to bring people and cultures and faith together by eating together. Below is the short video for Canada’s 150th anniversary President’s Choice Canada Day Award that launched a movement:

The video stories of the 12 finalists for the 2016 Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards provide examples which can inspire the competition’s film makers.

Another example:


Shirin Taber, MEWLN Director

Shirin Taber is Iranian-American and the author of Muslims Next Door (Zondervan/Harper Collins). She was raised by an Iranian Muslim father and an American Christian mother, and has lived in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. With a background in media, direct ministry, and cross-cultural training, Shirin assists multiple organizations in media-based initiatives.

The Los Angeles Times, Detroit Free Press and Fox News have featured her writing and work among Muslims and Christians alike. Previously, Shirin served with Cru, Inspirational Films, the Visual Story Network, and CBN. She helped produce the Magdalena film, which has been viewed by tens of millions in the MENA region. Additionally, she serves as a mentor for George W. Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative for the country of Tunisia. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and is fluent in English, French and Farsi.

Middle East Women’s Leadership Network

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) is excited to work with The Middle East Women’s Leadership Network in this film competition. MEWLN helps women become world-class leaders by creating media for their mission. They gather women for training, networking and mentoring purposes, building relationships to leverage their resources and media platforms. MEWLN explores important trends, exchanges expertise, and encourages innovative media. Their strategic sectors include: Gender Equality, Religious Freedom, Trauma Counseling, Peace and Security, and Faith-based Initiatives. MEWLN’s  collective efforts contribute to the larger movement of developing female leaders and reaching millions in the Middle East.

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