Filmmaker Maria Alvarez
Technology

Eighteen-year-old Filmmaker Maria Alvarez Wins ‘Google Breakthrough In Technology’ Award

"From My Head to Hers," a documentary by Maria Alvarez wins "Google Breakthrough in Technology Award" at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

From My Head to Hers, a documentary by 18-year-old Maria Alvarez that illustrates the Wigs for Kids process of creating Hair Replacement Systems from hair donations, recently won a “Google Breakthrough in Technology Award” at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

The documentary follows Alvarez’s journey through hair donation with Ohio-based nonprofit Wigs for Kids. The documentary also launched exclusively on Alvarez’s MVA Films YouTube Channel.

Watch It Here

Documenting The Journey

“A lot of people across the world go through the hair donation process, but they rarely see what happens after their hair is cut off. I want to document this journey to show donors the process, and to inspire others to make a difference in these kids’ lives,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez travelled to Italy to follow the painstaking process of wig creation, watching her hair be treated, cleaned, sorted and placed strand-by-strand on a custom made mold for a child who would receive a free wig from her donation.

The film showcases the work local nonprofit Wigs for Kids has done for years in northeast Ohio and across the country, providing Hair Replacement Systems to children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical issues at no cost to children or their families. This year, the organization celebrates 35 years of giving back.

Filmmaker Maria Alvarez
Filmmaker Maria Alvarez

The 20 minute documentary was one of 243 screenings at the San Francisco International Film Festival, which was attended by more than 350 filmmakers and industry guests from more than 15 countries. San Francisco Film Society puts on these screenings that reach an audience of over 100,000 people.

From My Head to Hers won the “Google Breakthrough in Technology Award” at the festival, honoring Alvarez’s work to highlight the use of technology to solve a problem and make the world a better place while aspiring to promote diversity in technology. Google’s Computer Science in Media and Industry Relations team judged the entries, awarding Alvarez a $500 cash prize donated by Google Inc.

The documentary has also won the “Best of the Fest” Award at the Short. Sweet. Film Festival and “Best Direction” Award at the Atlanta Independent Film Festival, where it was also nominated for “Best Cinematography” and “Best Editing”. From My Head to Hers was also screened at the New York City Student Film Showcase.

photo courtesy of mvafilms.com