Mark Leschinsky is an award-winning filmmaker and Founder & Festival Director of the Student World Impact Film Festival (SWIFF), the first student-run film festival providing a platform for more than 12,100 aspiring filmmakers in 120 countries. Mark has partnered with Amazon Prime Video and raised more than $110,000 from Google and Microsoft on a mission to empower youth artists. Mark is a first-generation Ukrainian-American, and he is dedicated to providing a space for young storytellers to feel heard and supported by a community of peers.
Mark believes that the power of storytelling is incredible. Stories have the power to transform perspectives, connect people, and inspire change. However, as a Ukrainian filmmaker, Mark has learned that not all storytellers have equal opportunities to share their voices. Young and low-income filmmakers are hindered by submission fees at film festivals, and often, young BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) filmmakers struggle with limited resources and discrimination due to race, ethnicity, gender, and other marginalized identities.
To address these inequalities, Mark created the Student World Impact Film Festival (SWIFF), a global film festival that celebrates the power of film to create positive change by showcasing student voices from marginalized communities. SWIFF celebrates diverse films with impactful messages from young storytellers by streaming films live to global audiences during the festival.