The 2021 Next Generation Angels Awards Winners

We are thrilled to share with you the winners of the third annual Next Generation Angels Awards, presented in partnership with National History Day. The award is presented to six middle and high school student documentary filmmakers to recognize excellence in well-researched history filmmaking in the model of Ken Burns. This program is made possible thanks to the support of John and Jessica Fullerton.


  • First Place: Don’t Believe Your Eyes: How Visual Media Built the Cult of Stalin by Sasha Allen
  • Second Place: The Korean Diaspora: Reunion of Separated Families Through Media Communication by Ryan Seun Woo Kwon
  • Third Place: Oklahoma! The Dawn of a Beautiful Morning for Storytelling in Musical Theatre by Melinda Chen


  • First Place: Clearing the Air: How John Hersey Communicated Hiroshima Survivors’ Stories to the World and Changed the Global Perspective on Nuclear Weapons by Claire Flynn
  • Second Place: Norman Rockwell: Communicating Racial Inequality Through Art by Madeline Rong
  • Third Place: Hetch Hetchy: Constructing the Framework for Modern Environmentalism by Luke Morris

These six students were honored at several virtual events. One of these events was the Third Annual Student History Documentary Film Festival, where each of the prize winners’ films was screened virtually, followed by a panel discussion Q&A open to students and teachers all across the country. This event took place on October 20, 2021 to a robust virtual audience. Click the link above to watch the recording of the Festival, including all six winning films in their entirety!

The other major event was “Students Teach the Teachers”, a professional development event during which the students explain the research process they used to make their award-winning documentaries and take questions from the teachers in the virtual audience, explaining how the experience of making a history documentary film changed their perspective and advanced their research, critical thinking, and writing skills. 

In addition to these events spotlighting their work, the student filmmakers were provided the opportunity for dedicated Mentorship Events with filmmakers, including Ken Burns.