2023 Distinguished Achievement Award

The 2023 Distinguished Achievement Award Winner Is Documentary Film Juvenile

The logo from the film, Juvenile, and the film makers Joann Selvidge and Sarah Fleming.

We are excited to announce the winner of the 2023 Distinguished Achievement Award: Juvenile. The documentary film, co-directed and produced by Joann Self Selvidge and Sarah Fleming, focuses on the personal stories of five youth who were justice-involved as teens. Juvenile traces these young people’s pathways into the system, their journeys of trauma and healing, and their lessons for how to break and remake the juvenile system.

Guest judges Kai Wright (Notes from America with Kai Wright, WNYC), Yukari Kane (Prison Journalism Project), and Art Taylor (BBB Wise Giving Alliance) selected the film to receive Evident Change’s most prestigious media award.

The guest judges praised Juvenile’s artistry and insight. Yukari Kane said the film was the “hands-down winner in terms of storytelling, production value, impact, everything.” She added, “I’m still thinking about the stories.” Kane called the film “consistent with Evident Change’s values and mission in terms of giving insight into a topic but putting real faces and real stories with it.”

Art Taylor agreed. “The film is powerful. I was really moved by it. It’s hard to unsee it once you’ve seen it. It’s hard to act as if you don’t know, once you’ve experienced it.”

Kai Wright called Juvenile “beautiful, incredibly made.” He observed that the film’s rejection of a binary “innocent or guilty” framework was important in helping audiences think about system reform. “Getting [viewers] out of the space of innocence versus guilt….and instead into a space of young people who need help and were instead confronted with incarceration…is the big victory of the film.”

Kane commended the filmmakers for their decision to include stories of the juvenile justice system in the state of Illinois. “I’m in Illinois and I know how hard it is to bring stories like these out….I could see organizations who are doing this work [in Illinois] taking this documentary and using it to further their work.”

Evident Change joins our guest judges in commending this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award Winners, Joann Self Selvidge and Sarah Fleming, for Juvenile. Congratulations!

Past Distinguished Achievement Award winners: