IAWRT 2013 International Awards of Excellence

Casablanca, Morocco, October 29th 2013

Réseau des Femmes Journalistes du Maroc and International Association of Women in Radio and Television have hosted the IAWRT Biennial Conference at Lido hotel, Casablanca from October 24th to 26th.   More than 60 participants, from 25 countries around the world, have attended the conference presenting panels and discussions on themes ranging from Women in Media during Conflict and Crisis to the Situation of Women Journalists in Morocco, Safety Online and Offline for Female Journalists, Investigative Journalism and Media Ethics.  The participants also held workshops on Women and Climate Change, Gender Mainstreaming,  Iphone video production, Challenges for Independent Producers and Community Radio.

Two juries selected the winners of the IAWRT Awards of Excellence 2013 for the best radio and television documentary as well as the winners of the two new categories, best video web documentary and best radio web documentary.  Find the winners announced here.

Gerd Inger Polden, Coordinator of IAWRT AWARDS

Casablanca October 25th
Radio jury for IAWRT AWARDS 2013.
Diane Bailey (left)  Nezha Mghari (center), Awaz Salim Abdula (right)

The jury listened to 16 radio documentaries from 7 countries made by women journalists treating a wide range of issues related to women.  We were impressed by the diversity and the quality of work being achieved by our women colleagues. The range of radio programs showed us the lives and struggles as well as the achievements of women in politics, art, sports and everyday life.

Casablanca October 25th

TV jury for IAWRT AWARDS 2013.
Martha Prentell (left), Najlae Benmbarek (center) Chandita Mukherjee (right)

The jury saw 27 films from 13 countries treating a wide range of issues related to women and made by women.  We were very happy to see the diversity and the quality of work being achieved by women film makers. The range of films showed us different lines of struggle, be it sexual abuse, human trafficking, economic independence, self-image, sexuality and creativity.  A number of the films had passages of reflection on the state of women and their struggle to achieve equality and a fair share of political power. The personalities encountered in the films were inspiring in their determination and will to change a world that is generally hostile to women. We also noticed that several of the film makers made these documentaries under trying circumstances with powerful sections feeling threatened by women’s activism and media covering these. Finally, we felt hopeful after coming to know about some determined efforts for a world with a greater understanding initiated by women.  The jury found it difficult to choose the winner, as there were so many outstanding entries.

Winning Radio Documentary
The Silent Killer
By Suci Haryati

View radio transcript

"The Silent Killer" made by Suci Haryati, Indonesia, of Radio Station Maya Persona FM in West Nusa Tenggara,.  This program in Bahasa Indonesian dealt with the increasing occurrence of breast and cervical cancer survivors among Indonesian Women. It did so in an engaging way and used the voices of two cancer survivors and two women who took care of their mother and mother-in-law who were suffering from cancer.
The jury liked the variety of voices and experiences and the way the story was structured.  The narrator was both authoritative and compassionate, and introduced the sound bites well.  It also incorporated sounds from an event hosted by the Cancer Information and Support Center.  The women featured in the story expressed raw emotion which made the story very compelling.
Even though we listened to a language we did not understand, (and had to read the translations as we listened), we were riveted by the story of these two survivors and the two caretakers, and felt the story would encourage listeners in Indonesia to be more open about these female cancers and to seek out medical care at the first sign of symptoms.

Suci Haryati started her broadcast carrier from radio as reporter and producer in 99,5 Delta FM, Jakarta, in 1998. Two years later she joined Metro TV. From 2007 she has worked as freelance radio journalist. She produced and funded this program herself then distributed to radio communities in Central Java and West Nusa Tenggara. “The Silent Killer” is first episode and a trial project.  

First Honorable Mention for Radio Documentary
Breaking the Silence
By Maya Friedler and Marilyn Campbell

“Breaking the Silence” by Maya Friedler and Marilyn Campbell from USA in the series The Feminist Lens produced by the Women´s Media Group Chicago.  The program used arts to give women who have experienced violence a voice.  Instead of “facts and figures” the producers said, they sentered their show “on the personal”.  Poetry, music, a letter from a woman working with women survivors of sexual violence in the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and good use of sound, kept the jury engrossed for the entire 30 minutes duration.

Maya Friedler is the founder and Executive Director of Women’s Media Group Chicago. A lifelong political activist, Ms. Friedler was a legislative aid for Illinois State Representative Esther Saperstein, ran as an alternate delegate for Eugene McCarthy, and served as a meeting organizer for Women for Peace.  She served on the Board for the former NGO The Jane Addams Conference, was Director of the Evanston Peace and World Affairs Center, and was a member of Women for Peace. In the 60s and 70s, she served as President of the Board at the Loop Center YWCA in Chicago, where she mentored emerging Second Wave Feminist organizations. Ms. Friedler acted as producer and moderator of the public affairs programs Talk-In and Public Report, recorded live from the YWCA and heard on WBEZ Public Radio. She is an actress and ensemble member at the Piven Theatre Workshop. Ms. Friedler is featured in the book Feminists Who Changed America: 1963-1975. 

Marilyn Campbell is a published playwright, award winning actress, co-founder of the Writers' Theatre in Glencoe, IL, and Board Member and Artistic Associate of the 16th Street Theater  in Berwyn.  Her many theater productions have won several Awards.  

Additionally, she is the host, writer and director of a radio show on WFMT called The Feminist Lens. Ms. Campbell is a proud member of Actor's Equity Association and The Dramatist Guild of America.

Second Honorable Mention for Radio Documentary
Forest Women in Exile
By Indu Ramesh

“Forest Women in Exile by Indu Ramesh, India, produced for WINGS (Women's International News Gathering Service) related the experiences of Indian tribal women who had been displaced from the forests.  The producers invited us into their process by chatting with each other, describing the difficulty of getting women to talk about their lives and sharing their reaction to an interview.  The voices of the tribal women and their songs were a wonderful way to give a voice to the voiceless.

Indu Ramesh has worked with the State-owned radio network All India Radio for more than three decades, producing programmes in three languages. At present, producing programmes for Women’s International News Gathering Service (WINGS).

Winning Webcast Audio Documentary
Entrance Number 13
By Anne Vinding and Beate Riiser

View media (English version)

“Entrance Number 13” by Anne Vinding and Beate Riiser from Norway produced by Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.  The documentary tells the story of 9-year old Selma and her family who live in Oslo in a rundown public housing filled with drug users, and mentally ill people who are often violent.  Selma describes how she has to navigate the hallways and stairs of her apartment building, and how she is often awakened at night from the noise of shootings or drug-related quarrels.

The story is an innovative entry in the webcast category that fuses several media:  photography, sound and text.  The use of photographs helps the radio listener to visualize the life of Selma, her family and their troublesome neighbors.  There are 15 audio-slides and clicking on each one allows the webcast user to see even more photographs, including some of the documents verifying the family´s application for a different apartment and photos of an abandoned playground.

The variety of media gives the visitor to the website several options, including reviewing the story only through the photographs, or listening to concentrate on the words of the story.  This new use of old and new media works well to highlight this important social issue in Norway.

Beate Riiser - Following a degree in journalism Riiser has been working at Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) since 1993, first years as a journalist and news presenter at Radio Norway International, doing National News bulletins and hosting the main news programmes at NRK Radio.

From '97-'99 Riiser was part of the Non Stop News project at NRK Radio, before spending the next 10 years training and implementing newsroom technology, foremost at NRK. However, in 2000-2001 she spent a year working for Associated Press at BBC, training newsroom systems across BBC and other European broadcasters. From 2008 Beate Riiser has been working with the investigative journalism team in Brennpunkt documentary department, primarily online. When 2012 NRK etablished an online investigative documentary team, Beate Riiser was part of the team. The last projects she has been doing, has been focused on the situastion for disadvantaged mothers and children in the puclic welfare system in Oslo.

Anne Vinding - Journalist since 2001. After a journalist degree from Cardiff, Wales and Bodø, Norway she begun to work in a local newspaper (Avisa Nordland) before she went to Norways biggest national newspaper: VG - where she worked both on print and on the web. For several years she worked with investigative journalism and politics. She has also worked in radio (NRK and Radio 3 Bodø) and for the Foreign Ministry of Affairs in Norway. For the past years she has worked as an investigative journalist in NRK on the web. 

Through her career she has won several awards for projects both in VG and NRK.

Winning Television Documentary
Gulabi Gang
By Nishtha Jain

"Gulabi Gang" directed by Nishtha Jain from India and produced by Piraya Film Norway, for a captivating story of women’s courage and self-empowerment leading to social change. The film follows a group of women from the poorest communities who have been drawn together by a charismatic woman leader in a drought-prone region of India. The women realize the power of their unity and exercise it by taking on the police, oppressive landlords and others to oppose discrimination and violence against women.

The film maker has succeeded in depicting the actions of these women in intimidating circumstances and has shown how women’s empowerment can lead to dialogue and change.

Nishtha Jain was born in New Delhi, India. She studied film direction at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune.  Since 2002 she’s been working as an independent filmmaker and is currently based in Mumbai. 

From her first film CITY OF PHOTOS in 2005 to GULABI in 2012, it’s been a time of passionate engagement with people’s lives and issues of filmmaking. Her films have received several international awards and have been extensively shown in international film festivals, broadcast on international TV networks and regularly shown in schools and colleges in India and abroad.

First Honorable Mention for TV Documentary
My Stolen Revolution
By Nahid Persson Sarvestani

"My Stolen Revolution" directed and produced by Nahid Persson Sarvestani from Sweden for an exceptional work based on personal memories which reflect the experiences of many who suffered political persecution.

The film tells the story of the film maker who visits a part of her own past which she had avoided for many years. Through a series of conversations with friends from her activist youth in Iran of twenty years ago, we come to know of the great price paid by young women who opposed the Iranian regime. Their experiences of torture and how they kept their spirits alive despite extreme circumstances are the main narrative of the film. The film maker-narrator also faces her own guilt for having escaped to freedom abroad when her own brother was executed and so many friends are dead.  Archival footage, works of art made by former prisoners, staged sequences and intimate conversations are interwoven with skillful editing and music to make a well-integrated work.

Born in Shiraz, Iran, Nahid Persson Sarvestani took political asylum in Sweden as a result of her political activism during and after the 1979 revolution in Iran. Since 2000 Nahid has pursued a successful career as a documentary filmmaker in Sweden. 

Nahid’s social-political films have been harshly critical of the position of women under the Islamic Republic regime. On a trip to Iran, after the release of her award winning documentary, Prostitution Behind the Veil, Nahid was arrested and interrogated by the Secret Police. While under house arrest, she was secretly completing her documentary Four Wives - One Man. The film, which portrays a polygamous family south of Shiraz, was smuggled out of Iran and finally edited in Sweden.

Nahid is the recipient of numerous awards including the Golden Dragon at the Krakow Film Festival, Best International News Documentary at the TV-festival 2005 in Monte Carlo, as well as The Crystal Award

Second Honorable Mention for TV Documentary
By Shweta Ghosh

"Accsex" by Shweta Ghosh from India, produced by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, New Delhi, for bringing out an issue that is rarely discussed publicly, the sexuality of disabled women through the voices of outspoken young women with different disabilities who face daily discrimination with strength and a positive outlook. Each of them is eager to work and earn their own living and to have an independent and social life with intimacy and relationships. Dynamic editing, creative graphics and an overall good humored approach on the part of the women interviewed all contribute to make an outstanding film which should be subtitled and shown internationally to raise awareness on essential aspects of disability.

Shweta Ghosh is a documentary filmmaker and researcher currently based in New Delhi. A silver medalist from the School of Media and Cultural Studies, 

Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, she has explored her interest in food, travel, music and disability through research and film projects. While her student film, Breakin’ Mumbai, has been selected for screening in prestigious film festivals across India, her research paper on food and television culture has been published in an international peer review journal. Accsex marks her debut as an independent documentary filmmaker. 

Winning Webcast Video Documentary
The Price of Freedom
By Eleanor Mortimer

"The Price of Freedom" by Eleanor Mortimer from the UK. The video tells the story of a Tunisian mother’s quest for a missing son, fleetingly seen on a news bulletin as part of a group of illegal immigrants arrested by Italian police. The mother travels to Rome, seeking traces of her son in detention centers, clubs and potential places where he may be. The film echoes the story of so many mothers in the same situation in many countries and the tragic fate of those who migrate illegally in search of a better life. The filmmaker was able to narrate the story well with imaginative camera work and unobtrusive editing.

Eleanor Mortimer is currently studying for an MA in Directing Documentary at the National Film and Television School in the UK. She came to documentary filmmaking (after studying languages and a short stint as a teacher) out of a desire to explore rising nationalist tendencies across Europe, and the effect this is having on the treatment of ‘outsiders’. ‘The Price of Freedom’ is her first film.