QUINCY — For someone who didn't grow up wanting to be a filmmaker, Luke Grigg has done pretty well for himself.
This month, the 26-year-old Quincy native will be receiving a Webbie — the Internet's equivalent of the Oscars — for a short film he made about how the residents of one village in central Kenya are coping with the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
"It was completely unexpected," Grigg said. "When we made it to the first round, just making it to the honorees was the goal. That would showcase the work, and validate the work I've been doing with non-profits."
Grigg and his company, Circle3Productions, make videos for non-profits, and the award winning video — "Our Children — Twana Twitu" — is the second he has made for the Kenyan non-profit "With My Own Two Hands," which specializes in well drilling and agricultural assistance for some of Kenya's driest regions.
Grigg got into filmmaking during a year as an exchange student in Peru after he graduated from Quincy High School. When a local Rotary-sponsored well drilling project in rural Peru ran out of money, Grigg volunteered to make a short fundraising video, which ended up raising — in less than a week — more than they needed to finish the project.
And then some time in Israel, getting to know his grandmother and his Jewish roots, gave him a story to tell, Grigg said.
"I wanted to capture my grandmother's story, the grit and determination she had. I'm really drawn to people overcoming or looking outside their circumstances," he said.
"Film can really do things," Grigg continued. "It just dropped in my lap, and it all stems from those moments living abroad and seeing how film could help people."
Grigg said he was drawn to Twana Twitu — which literally means "Our Children" — because it was a small charity set up by two Kenyan women who started helping grandparents raising grandchildren orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Kenya.
Grigg said the charity's work "struck a chord" with him, that it's work reminded him of Bible stories in which those who have little share with those who have even less.
"The women are giving up the little that they had themselves," he said.
So now, Grigg has been thrust into the spotlight, winning a competition against some heavy competitors that include major studies and public relations firms.
"It's been a crazy whirlwind," he said. "I've never received an award at all, so it's really cool."
The Webbie Awards will be presented on May 13.