The 2022 DIG Awards Ceremony – hosted by Valerio Bassan, vice president of DIG, and journalist Silvia Boccardi – took place last night in the Church of San Carlo in Modena: the prizes for the best documentaries, investigations, reports and podcasts were selected from more than 400 nominations coming from all over the world.
Since the beginning, DIG Festival has been rewarding the best documentaries and podcasts of investigative journalism and reportage.The film competition has been able to establish itself over the years as an international benchmark, rewarding and enhancing the work of freelancers as well as major international broadcasters such as Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera, Le Monde and many others.
Awarding the prizes of DIG Festival 2022: Stay Gold were the Video Jury, chaired this year by Danish investigative journalist Mads Brügger, and the Audio Jury.
The board of the DIG association awarded the Watchdog Award 2022, an annual recognition to those who fight in defense of the quality and independence of information, to Bellingcat, one of the most celebrated in the field of open source investigations, “for expanding the boundaries of investigative journalism, strengthening it with new practices, languages and technologies,” as stated in the motivations.
Below are the names of the winning entries in each category, including the DIG Pitch, a €15,000 prize to fund a video project in development and production awarded – for the first time – with the support of the Matteo Scanni Foundation.
🏆 DIG Award 2022: Best Investigative Long
“Wagner, Putin’s Shadow Army”
Alexandra Jousset, Ksenia Bolchakova
2022, FR, 79’
Original title: “Wagner, l’armée de l’ombre de Poutine”
This hugely relevant story reveals the Wagner groups modus operandi and exposes the groups close ties to the Russians state – that has always been hidden and denied. It is an ambitious, complex and dangerous investigation that includes stories from three continents and follows the money. The result is a compelling, strongly visual film that also details an opaque financial structure sustained by corporations and state complicity. A documentary that investigates the past and gives us a chilling vision of what is to come.
🏆 DIG Award 2022: Best Reportage Long
“Erasmus in Gaza”
Matteo Delbò, Chiara Avesani
2022, IT/ES, 88’
Arpa Films, Effe TV – Feltrinelli Real Cinema, Al Jazeera International
The jury was delighted to see a former DIG pitch win in this category. It exceeded our initial expectations and won us over with its truthfulness. The honesty of the characters shone through: Riccardo, the Italian who got more that he bargained for when he went to study in the Gaza strip and the Palestinians who took him under their wing. This was an unexpected combination of a coming of age story and a nuanced depiction of every day life in Gaza.
🏆 DIG Award 2022: Best Investigative Medium
Christo Grozev, Yordan Tsalov, Roman Dobrokhotov
2022, UK, 21’
Bellingcat, The Insider, BBC Eye Investigations
This is a timely investigation into the dark corners of the Putin regime, unravelling a killing with a strong and bold narrative and the creative use of evidence. A well crafted story, the piece also translates data and evidence into graphic images and combines them with human narratives into a compelling film.
🏆 DIG Award 2022: Best Reportage Medium
Anna Roch, Stéphane Rybojad
2022, FR, 24’
Original title: “Les Galaxionautes”
A surprising and entertaining film with unexpected and compelling characters. It was important to show that a reportage that focuses on hope, community and the capacity to dream does stand a chance to win at a time when much reporting is focused on conflict and oppression. The jury is waiting for part two and the actual take off!
🏆 DIG Award 2022: Best Short
“The Dictator’s Last Calls”
2022, UK, 15’
BBC News Arabic
This film captures a particular and important moment in history, with an intimate portrait of a dictator falling from grace. It perfectly fits the format of a short film and manages to reveal important information with dramatic effect. Its use of audio forensics and animation do justice to investigative creativity. The jury appreciated the transparency about the challenges of verification.
🏆 DIG Award 2022: Best Audio
“In Dark Waters”
Adèle Humbert, Emilie Denêtre
2022, FR, 160’
Insider Podcast, Spotify
Original title: “En Eaux Troubles”
This investigative podcast reveals new elements regarding a counterfeit truth. The jury unanimously appreciated the sound design, the live take, and the use of the soundtrack, which enhanced the great investigative work. This work allows the audience to fully empathize with the authors in the unfolding of events.
🏆 DIG Pitch 2022
“Mirage: Mesopotamia is in Danger”
Daham Alasaad, Guillaume Perrier
With a €15.000 funding provided by the Matteo Scanni Foundation
An important, unexplored story proposed by a journalist and filmmaker with a strong personal connection to the region.The Boat Movie is a powerful narrative device, with a cinematographic vision and the Turkish side of the story lends itself to original investigation. The jury felt that it is important to support a project in an early stage and chose this one due to its potential to reveal an unfolding manmade environmental disaster in one of the worlds most ancient civilizations.
🏆 DIG Watchdog Award 2022
Assegnato dal direttivo di DIG: Alberto Nerazzini, Valerio Bassan, Philip di Salvo, Davide Fonda, Francesca Coin
This year’s DIG Watchdog Award goes to an organization that pioneered a number of investigative techniques that are fundamental to investigative journalism today and that are among the most effective in proving the existence of events that would otherwise go unnoticed or untold. In an era like this, in which also the Internet has become a terrain of geopolitical confrontation and propaganda, the work of this organization has shown how digital tools are, on the contrary, among the best allies of truth and journalism itself. Despite having been active for less than ten years, this organization has already made a decisive contribution to the reporting of crucial events and news such as the Syrian crisis and the war in Yemen and, above all, the escalation of the tension that led this year to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Using the techniques of open source investigations, geolocation or verification of content on social media, the winners of this year’s Watchdog Award have expanded the boundaries of investigative journalism, strengthening it with new practices, languages and technologies.