In the Spotlight

Filmmaker/Director Yolanda Johnson-Young

Yolonda Johnson-Young Wins Awards in Impact DOCS Awards Competition


Philadelphia, PA September 1, 2020 – SIFTMedia215 Member, Yolonda Johnson-Young, has won the prestigious Award of Merit for Documentary Short and the Award of Merit for Use of Film for Social Change from the Impact DOCS Awards Competition. The awards were given for Yolonda’s heartfelt documentary, FINDING ELIJAH, which explores mental health and suicide prevention awareness. “Finding Elijah” introduces audiences to the creative brilliance of Elijah Johnson-Young, a young man with so much promise, yet beset with emotional struggles. Yolonda’s determined quest for answers after her son’s suicide, opens up the larger context of destigmatizing mental illness for young men, particularly young men of color, so that they will more readily seek support.


“This is very bittersweet, as there is no award or accolade that can replace having Elijah alive and well, but to know that our tragic story can possibly help another family, that's what I hold onto.” – Yolonda Johnson-Young


Impact DOCS recognizes film, television, videography and new media professionals who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity, and those who produce standout entertainment or contribute to profound social change. Documentaries were received from 30 countries, including veteran award-winning filmmakers and fresh new talent.  Entries were judged by highly qualified and award-winning professionals in the film and television industry.


Impact DOCS chairman, Rick Prickett’s statement regarding the 2020 competition winners  - “The judges and I were simply blown away by the variety and immensely important documentaries we screened. Impact DOCS is not an easy award to win. Entries are received from around the world from powerhouse companies to remarkable new talent. Impact DOCS helps set the standard for craft and creativity as well as power catalysts for global change. The goal of Impact DOCS is to help winners achieve the recognition they deserve for their dedication and work.”


Yolonda Johnson-Young and SIFTMedia215 join the ranks of other international high-profile winners including the Oscar winning director Louie Psihoyos, Best of Show  – “Racing Extinction”, Oscar winner Yael Melamede, Award of Excellency “(Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies” and Emmy Award winner Gerald Rafshoon, “Endless Corridors” narrated by Oscar winner Jeremy Irons, and many more.


Finding Elijah is currently screening in festivals across the country and is premiering on WHYY, Philadelphia's public broadcast station on Tuesday, September 29th at 7:30pm, during National Suicide Awareness Prevention month.


For more information email Yolonda Johnson-Young at, connect on or and visit SIFTMedia215’s website at


Impact DOCS Awards 

In its second year, is the newest member of the Global Film Awards (GFA) family of competitions who have been hosting competitions for 14 years.  As one of the original trend-setting digital online competitions, GFA set the standard for this exciting new breed of film competitions. GFA’s Accolade Competition was named by MovieMagazine …as one of the top 25 festivals worth the entry fee”. It is truly international in scope offering filmmakers from large powerhouses like Disney, The Weinstein Company, Discovery and Ridley Scott all the way to first time filmmakers and students, the opportunity to receive valuable feedback from an impartial judging panel comprised by highly qualified and award winning professionals in the industry.  Often the first stop on the festival circuit, GFA award winners have gone on to win Oscars like the short doc “The Lady in Number Six” and “Mr Hublot” as well as countless Emmys, Tellys and more. Information about the Impact DOCS Awards and a list of past and recent winners can be found at

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