IAWRT 2017 International Awards of Excellence

The IAWRT Awards of Excellence were announced at the 37th Biennial Conference of the International  Association of Women in Radio and Television organised by the Philippines Chapter, held in Quezon City, greater Manilla, in the Philippines.

Awards Coordinator Arshiya Ahsan.

Awards Jury: Khedija Lemkecher (Egypt-TV), Luz Rimban (Philippines-TV), Sonia Capio (Philippines-TV), Mirembe Nkuubi (Kenya-Radio), Olya Booyar (Australia-Radio)

Awards Supervising Committee: Ananya Chakraborti (Chair), Liz Miller, Iphigenie Marcoux-Fortier.

Pictured on Awards night: Khedija Lemkecher, Sonia Capio, Arshiya Ahsan, Luz Rimban, Mirembe Nkuubi,




Leila Doss Social Impact Award
Strike A Rock
By Aliki Saragas

In a deeply personal journey, Strike A Rock follows two South African activists who take on the infamous platinum mining company, Lonmin Plc. Primrose Sonti and Thumeka Magwangqana are grandmothers and best-friends living in Nkaneng, Marikana, an informal settlement in rural South Africa that sprung up around the mine operated by Lonmin Plc. This was the company at the heart of the Marikana Massacre of 2012, when 37 striking mineworkers were killed by police. Apart from underpaying workers, Lonmin has consistently reneged on legal obligations to provide housing and infrastructure to local people affected by the mine. Since the 2012 massacre, the living conditions that caused the strike have only gotten worse - and this is what Primrose and Thumeka are fighting against. These two inspiring women formed a women’s organisation, Sikhala Sonke (We Cry Together), after their friend, Paulina, was killed by police. Over time we see them grow into two different leaders in the search for social and economic justice. 

Aliki Saragas is a South African documentary filmmaker and photographer based in Johannesburg. In 2015 she started her own documentary production company, Elafos Productions, to champion women’s stories, recognising the need to emphasise complex and strong roles for women both in front of and behind the lens. Her photojournalism has been featured in Al Jazeera Online and she has lectured at post-graduate symposiums Aliki is currently heading up the Johannesburg Impact and Advocacy team in the newly formed Sisters Working In Film and Television Organisation.


Director's Statement
The realities of the devastation of the Marikana massacre that took place on 16 August 2012 is widely known and has been criticised globally, including in the award-winning film Miners Shot Down, produced by Uhuru Productions, the co-producers of Strike a Rock. But there are voices that have yet to be heard. Voices from the strong women leaders and the community that surrounds the mine have seemingly been erased from the narrative. Despite the international attention, inquiry and mass-activism that followed the massacre, living conditions for the Marikana community have worsened. There has been no accountability. 

This is what drew me so powerfully to the story of Thumeka and Primrose, two grandmothers who were compelled by the tragedy they witnessed to take on leadership roles, exercising their agency and power. They force us to recognise that the story of Marikana is not yet over.

My aim was to weave together the perspectives of the women using a sensitive, unobtrusive and intimate camera. The film takes the viewer on a journey through trauma, history, loss, memory, friendship, and the fear of being further forgotten as Thumeka and Primrose survive each day. At the same time we are confronted with a very real obstruction of justice and lack of accountability on the side of Lonmin, who seemingly shirk their legal obligations to the community, and the South African government, who neglect to ensure that the required socio-economic development takes place. In this context, the personal becomes the political and that is where the impact of the film lies.

After over three years of creating this documentary the journey is only really beginning now, as we use the film to build on a movement focusing on extractive practices and their socio-economic and environmental impacts in South Africa and Southern Africa regionally. We hope the film will be a powerful tool in Sikhala Sonke’s struggle against poverty, while inspiring other women across the world who are taking a stand against oppression. 

Mette Jansen Innovation Award
The Quipu Project
By Sandra Tabares-Duque, Rosemarie Lerner, Maria Ignacia Court

The Quipu Project, produced by Sandra Tabares-Duque,(pic right) and co-directed by Rosemarie Lerner and Maria Ignacia Court (pic above) is an interactive documentary that brings to light the stories of thousands of men and women in Peru who were coerced and manipulated by government health workers into undergoing sterilisation procedures in the 1990s. They were poor and lived in remote communities without electricity and access to the media, so their stories were kept hidden. Two decades later, some of those who lived through that campaign recount the trauma of those days in audio files collected by human rights groups encouraging these indigenous communities to phone-in their stories. The result is a multimedia production that deftly combines audio, video, photos, archival material and graphics.

IAWRT recognizes The Quipu Project for its innovative and interactive storytelling that honours the legacy of IAWRT Awards founder, Mette Janson who was a leader in reporting gender perspectives in the media. In 1969, Janson dared to break taboos by producing a documentary series on sex and contraception. The Quipu Project speaks about the past to today’s generation, using digital tools that allow documentary makers to confront complex issues in a non-linear but comprehensive way.

Quipus are knotted cords that were used by the Incas to convey complex messages. This interactive documentary project of the same name is a contemporary interpretation of the quipu system. Through a specially established phone line connected to a website, the testimonies of 150 sterilised people have already been collected, and the number of voices continues to grow. The Quipu Project gives people the tools to make their voices heard. Through the interplay between a low-tech telephone line and a high-tech digital interface, The Quipu Project enables communities that are politically, geographically and digitally marginalised to tell their stories in their own words.
NB Link to the Interactive Documentary Interface works best in Chrome and Firefox. Quipu Project Blog
Quipu Project Short Film


Co-Director: Maria Ignacia Court (Chile) is a documentary filmmaker and academic exploring in the intersection of documentary and new media. She lived in London 4 years where she studied an MA in Screen Documentary and an MA in Creating Social Media at Goldsmiths University of London. In 2012 she founded in London, Chaka Studio, a transmedia production company where she produced and co direct the award winning interactive documentary the Quipu Project. She teaches transmedia and interactive storytelling at Universidad Catolica y UDD, Chile. Currently directs the production company Mucha Media in Chile dedicated to produce documentaries and interactive projects with emphasis on digital platforms and transmedia.

Co-Director: Rosemarie Lerner Rizo Patrón (Peru) is a filmmaker based in Lima, Peru where she is owner and director of Spondylus Media, a production house that focuses on documentary projects.Rosemarie lived in London, UK for 6 years, where she co-founded Chaka Studio, an interdisciplinary collective that develops documentaries and transmedia projects. She is particularly interested in the potential of participatory models and new media technologies to tell stories with social and political impact. Rosemarie holds MA degrees in Screen Documentary and Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship from Goldsmiths University of London.

Producer: Sandra Tabares-Duque (UK/Colombia) Sandra focuses on the production of diverse and boundary pushing forms of audio visual and transmedia storytelling. She is part of Future Producers School, a Sheffield DocFest / Tribeca Film Institute training initiative aimed at producers to become leaders in the documentary industry to transform it into a more international panorama. Her latest film productions are InnSæi, The sea Within (UK/Iceland) - a feature documentary. The award-winning Quipu Project (UK/Peru)  an interactive cross media project. Parabole of the Return (Colombia, UK) NUMAX Exhibition Award 2016.

Jai Chandiram Emerging Talent Award
By Samia Badih

Rasheed is a remarkably emotional journey of the director, who sets out to research her roots and family history in Lebanon. A strong and passionate story of traumatic experiences resulting from a war and how a family copes with it. The award recognizes the thorough research and compelling storytelling of this emerging talent using family archives and interviews. Badih's film Rasheed documents the life of her late uncle, Rasheed Broum, who was killed at the age of 29 in an airstrike in the city of Sidon during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 – three years before she was born. More than 30 years after the tragedy, Badih goes on a quest to find out more about her uncle’s story of life and death, as it is told by the friends and family who survived him and knew him best, mainly his sister Rasha and his best friend Ghassan. At the heart of the film is the story Rasheed’s sister Rasha, who has not coped well with her brother’s loss. Rasheed captures one of the many war stories from the southern city of Sidon, Lebanon through Badih’s own personal journey.

Samia Badih is a documentary filmmaker from Lebanon. She majored in broadcast journalism at the University of Maryland in 2008, after receiving her BA in English Literature and Language from Beirut Arab University. In 2009, Badih moved to the UAE to work for Gulf News, an English-language daily newspaper. Based in Abu Dhabi, she currently works as a multimedia reporter for the paper, producing online content for the web as well as print stories for the daily. Badih’s first feature documentary, Rasheed, tells the story of her uncle, who died three years before she was born in 1982. In the film, Badih goes on a journey to find out who her uncle was and how his death has affected her family.

Honorable Mention, Leila Doss Social Impact Award
Women of the Forest
By Inshallah Montero

Women Of The Forest is a powerful story about women and climate change: with strong characters, original approach, and beautiful cinematography. In Sarawak, Malaysia, the Borneo tropical forest is fading into corporate land. The Women of the Kayan and Penan tribe struggle against both man made destruction and the effects of climate change. The consequences of deforestation have taken a toll as Penan women are even being sexually harassed by timber workers who come from logging companies. This film points out how sexual and reproductive health and rights should be included in climate change action and dialogue to protect the rights and health of these women whose struggles are often unnoticed. 

Inshallah Montero studied creative writing as an arts scholar at the Philippine High School for the Arts in Makiling, Laguna, where she received the Artistic Excellence Award. She graduated from De La Salle College of St. Benilde with honours, and finished a bachelor’s degree in digital film making in 2012. Her thesis film, Ang Lalaking Parisukat, was one of the winners at the Manhattan International Film Festival 2013 in New York, held by the World Youth Alliance and was screened at the UN. Her film, Women of the Shore:The Hidden Burden of Climate Change, was screened at the COP21 Climate Change Conference 2015 in Paris and her film Women of the Forest won 2nd best movie award at the Climate and Environment International Film Festival in Myanmar. She is currently a freelance director of documentaries. She considers herself an eternal student and is driven by the countless possibilities of life.

Honourable mention, Jai Chandiram Emerging Talent Award
By Koel Sen

Bahava is a short documentary film made as a part of the final year non-fiction film project at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). Bahava encapsulates the reminiscences of a burnt down lithographic printing press that existed in the village of Malavli. Oscillating between the past and the present, the film resonates with the images produced from that printing press, owned and run by the famous German lithographer, Fritz Schleicher. Among the many olegraphs printed by this press, the largest amount produced were of the famous Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma. The film breathes in and out of the village of Malavli, its people and its landscape which inspired the painter, and thus also influencing the visual quality of the film. Parts of the printing press after its demolition spread across the village and its homes. Bahava, literally meaning a “flow of time,” tries to weave together these pieces of memory, mythology, the image and a dead printing press by re-living a past embedded in the structures of the village of Malavi.  The excellent cinematography, story line, research, and rhythm of this student film all contributed to this award recognizing an emerging talent. Password to view Bahava: bahava 

Koel Sen is a film maker based out of Bombay. After graduating from Bombay University, she completed her post-graduate diploma in Social Communications Media. Sen worked in the field of media and advertising for two years in Bombay before joining the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, where she has specialised in Film Direction. Her films revolve around the themes of memory and relationships. Her interest in music and sound has often led her to experimenting with them in her own films.

Gala Awards Presentation

The Gala presentations were held in the Microtel by Wyndham, UP Techno Hub in Quezon City, The Philippines.  IAWRT Lifetime achievement awards were presented by the outgoing President Gunilla Ivarsson, to a former IAWRT President, Rachael Nakitare from Kenya and the previous, and long-serving, awards co-coordinator, Gerd Inger Polden from Norway.

Ms Ivarsson said it would take too long to describe all the responsibilities which Gerd Inger took up for IAWRT. However, she singled out her contribution to the awards "Her never ending dedication has been taking the heritage of the late Mette Jansson, who initiated the IAWRT Awards of Excellence, much further. Since NRK stopped funding the awards, [Gerd Inger] has guarded the profile, the importance and the thorough process of the IAWRT Awards of Excellence."

"Beside the awards area, I personally also admire and highly appreciate her knowledge and experience and her sisu, a Finnish word for perseverance, when it comes to organizational development, necessary formalities and democracy."

The second member to be given the IAWRT Lifetime Achievment Award was Racheal Nakitare. "A member for many many years, and she has been climbing the stairs of her IAWRT career at the same time as she has been doing the same in her workplace. Almost every time we meet she can tell about a new working responsibility. This is a very strong and impressive woman," Ms Ivarsson said.

"Her strength and devotion has also led to many well funded activities on the local level, together with other chapter members. Rachael has also managed to not disappear after leaving the IAWRT Presidency – she is still active in projects, inside and outside her country."