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I was introduced to a short film recently that is original and unforgettable: “Mankind is No Island”, Directed by Jason van Genderen. My girlfriend had been shown it by a foreign student, who is learning English, and they both were brought to tears by its clear and universal message of empathy towards the homeless in our communities.

van Genderen uses images of words found on street signage throughout New York and Sydney, captured on a cell phone camera, to narrate his story. The films soundtrack consists of a haunting piano composition.

“Mankind is No Island” is a 3 ½ minute film that won the top prize at Tropfest NY 2008 this past September. Tropfest is the world’s largest short film festival and is held every spring in Sydney and fall in New York.

Tropfests’ mission is to “continue to develop the most exciting forum in the world for audiences to come together and celebrate premium short films; and to continue to offer young filmmakers a bigger and better platform from which to launch their professional careers.”

According to the official announcement of the winner for Tropfest NY 2008, the entire budget for “Mankind is No Island” was $57. Very impressive.

Listen to an interview of Jason van Genderen regarding his film.