NFL greats Jack Brewer, Clinton Portis, and Ray Lewis stepped out for a greater purpose at the fifth annual 30 Under 30 Film Festival.

During week 13 of the NFL season, players took the field wearing custom cleats supporting charitable organizations and causes close to their hearts as part of the league’s “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign. Joining them in stepping out for a greater purpose were former NFL greats Jack Brewer, Clinton Portis and Ray Lewis, and thirty emerging filmmakers at the fifth annual 30 Under 30 Film Festival.

Related Article: Beyond the Gridiron: 3x NFL Captain Jack Brewer Tackles Bigger Issues

The three-day festival, first established by founder Sebastian Rea, gives emerging storytellers the opportunity to present their fresh and unique perspectives to audiences in New York City to inspire social change and bring about a more sustainable, positive future. This year’s event kicked off Friday night at the United Nations Women Headquarters with an exclusive “Gender and Media Panel,” featuring millennials who inspire positive change globally through films that support the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

30 Under 30 Film Festival founder Sebastian Rea (in the black t-shirt) and crew.

Each film involves its audience “in the lives of characters, and shows how an issue directly effects individuals, families, and communities.”

By connecting their audience to their characters, the filmmakers show that these issues also affect them, be it directly or indirectly.

The films present real issues in a unique way that cause their audiences to pause, think about the issues and view them in a different light. Furthermore, the narratives depict multiple levels of complex issues.

For example, “Game,” a short film written, directed and edited by Joy Webster, tells the story of a young boy named Jack who struggles to accept the death of his mother while his sister, Molly, copes by playing twisted games on Jack.

While watching the film, the ongoing gun control debate automatically came to mind, and it was clear that the story’s main goal was to tackle the issues of peace and justice.

In the film, we see Jack wanting peace and justice from his sister’s torment, including at the beginning, when she begins fighting with him as he’s playing video games when she wants to watch TV.

However, given that both characters were coping with the loss of their mother, “Game” also highlights the importance of good mental health, which impacts overall health, another UN Sustainable Goal.

Both of the film’s leading characters are coping with the loss of a loved one, yet have different mentalities that impact their actions and how they cope. Molly externalizes her rage and inflicts violence onto Jack. Jack internalizes his emotions but also uses his tragedy to do “good” and provide peace and comfort to others, particularly when he puts together a pillow of moss and a leaf blanket for a bird that died before he buries it.

As we’ve seen in tragedies that have devastated our nation, attention turns to mindset. Nothing justifies acts of violence, so mentality and mindset are examined in the aftermath. All too often, mental instability is a factor in the assailants of these attacks.

Having attended the 30 Under 30 Film Festival, I can attest to its success in giving its attendees “a new sense of purpose, a greater understanding of their role in the world, and avenues for action.”

It’s not enough to simply present an issue but to also help resolve it. With its Global Changemakers panel moderated by Jack Brewer, a former New York Giants captain, philanthropist and executive producer on closing night, the festival put the spotlight on important issues but also called for action, motivating its attendees to join them in their efforts to positively change our world, in any capacity.

Whether through film, sports, writing, or simply speaking with others, we all have a platform for change and can join in this team effort to do good, regardless of age.