5:18pm PT by Carolyn Giardina
Rory Peck Awards Recognize Cameramen Who "Stuck Their Necks Out To Get That Story"
This year’s Rory Peck Awards were presented Thursday at London's BFI Southbank, hosted by Christiane Amanpour of CNN and ABC News, and James Mates of ITV News.
The annual Sony-sponsored event, named after the respected freelance cameraman who covered war conflict around the world and helped found independent cameramen co-op Frontline Television News, recognizes freelance cameramen and women in news and current affairs. It is also the main fundraiser for the Rory Peck Trust, which looks after the safety and welfare of these freelancers and their families.
Below is the Trust's listings and descriptions of this year’s winners. Video clips of the work and more information can be found at the Rory Peck Trust website.
Rory Peck Award for News:
British freelancer Aris Roussinos for Ground Zero Mali: The Battle of Gao, a self-funded piece broadcast by VICE, which shows street-by-street battle footage from Gao in northern Mali in February 2013, as Malian troops attempt to storm buildings being held by Mujao Islamists. Said the judges: "He threw himself into the midst of the fighting and captured moments some of which are oddly comic for a war zone...It's classic war footage -- fantastic television journalism -- and it hardly needs any script because it is so incredibly well shot."
Rory Peck Award for Features:
British freelance filmmaker Olly Lambert for Syria: Across the Lines, which was commissioned and broadcast by Channel 4 Dispatches. Lambert spent a total of five weeks in the Orontes River Valley documenting life in villages on opposite sides of the river, and opposing sides of the war. Said one judge: "It is a brilliantly shot piece -- the camera work is fantastic. He bought a documentary eye to a very chaotic news situation. It tells you so much about the state of war in Syria -- and the state of war, generally, the chaos of war -- with such a human touch."
Sony Impact Award:
Bangladeshi freelancers Soumen Guha and Dipak Chandra Sutradhar for Hazaribagh: Toxic Leather, produced by Wild Angle (WA) Productions for Public Senat, Ushuaia TV and La Locale. According to the description, Guha and Sutradhar "managed to film in a giant slum of antiquated tanneries on the outskirts of Dhaka, and show the appalling, squalid conditions of the half million workers in the factories." Said the judges, "These cameramen stuck their necks out to get that story right under the noses of the factory owners. They put themselves in physical danger by going into that situation...They got amazing footage of an incredibly damaging industry."
Martin Adler Prize:
Azerbaijani freelancer Idrak Abbasov was presented with this year's prize, which honors the work of a local freelancer who has made a significant contribution to newsgathering.
According to the Rory Peck Awards: “Azerbaijan has seen growing restrictions on press freedom and increasing attacks on journalists over recent years and Idrak has worked with dogged determination to cover stories for a range of independent media including print, online, radio and television. In April 2012, Idrak was left in a critical condition after being beaten unconscious while filming protests surrounding the demolition of houses in Baku by state oil company SOCAR, and spent months in hospital, unable to work. But when violent protests erupted in the town of Ismayilli, in January, Idrak put his personal concerns to one side to shoot pictures that he thought his fellow citizens and the wider world needed to see. The footage was broadcast on obyectiv.tv. The governor was later dismissed. The prize was awarded to Idrak in recognition of his inspiring bravery, composure and determination to cover events, under the most testing of circumstances."