DIG Awards 2021

Finalists: Reportage Long

For video reportages, both released and unreleased, of a minimum duration of 30 minutes. Filmmakers must address themes of social relevance, using original points of view and journalistic approaches.

Gemma has a plan

Televisiò de Catalunya, CCMA SA | Catalonia/Spain 2021 | 75′

Gemma, a Catalan nurse in her sixties, has decided to disobey the law and help asylum seekers trapped in Greece and Serbia to clandestinely cross the borders of the Balkan route so that they can arrive in the countries where they wish to settle. She drives them in her car and they use Spanish IDs lent to her by people back home. Counting with the help of some friends, Gemma has managed to build an international network of activists who help her along the way. She succeeds time and time again until a mishap turns everything on its head: she ends up in a Serbian prison accused of human trafficking. Her lawyer will have to prove that smuggling people for the sake of solidarity cannot be considered a crime.

Oil Promises

Berlin Producers Media GmbH | Germany/Ghana 2020 | 80′

Oil Promises is a long-term documentary project about developments on the west coast of Ghana following the discovery of oil, accompanied by animation and commentary from Nigerian animation artist Ebele Okoye. The west coast of Ghana, a sleepy region where farming and fishing are the main sources of income, is confronted with the sudden arrival of powerful global forces. In 2007, the discovery of offshore oil, heralds the industrialisation of the coastal region. The film is a story of the building up and dashing of dreams. It is a journey through time, expectation and transformation. And it is a story of contrasts: politicians, the oil industry, international investors and big profits, alongside communities who wish to benefit from the oil boom, and their long wait and ultimate disillusionment.

Tutwiler

The Marshall Project, Frontline | US 2020 | 34′

What is it like to give birth—and then be forced to say goodbye to your baby? For most mothers, it’s unimaginable. But that’s exactly what faces dozens of pregnant women each year at Alabama’s Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women. Most are locked up for drug-related offenses. “Tutwiler,” directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon and reported by The Marshall Project’s Alysia Santo, offers an unforgettable window into the lives of these women and their newborns. The filmmakers stayed in the field for weeks, building trust off camera that enabled them to document powerful scenes. They captured an intimate portrait of motherhood inside a prison, a story that so often goes untold. The film sheds light on the lack of standards for care for pregnant women behind bars, even as women have become the fastest growing incarcerated population in the U.S.”

Pakistan: Karachi’s Forgotten “Mad Women”

Memento | France 2020 | 35′

One massive concrete rectangle planted in the heart of the northern districts of Karachi. Two hundred and fifty meters long, one hundred and twenty meters wide, that is the scale of the world for the 1,700 patients who live within these four walls. The Bilquis Edhi House is the largest psychiatric hospital for women in all of Asia. Yet not all of the women who are cared for here are mentally ill. Rather, they are victims of the violence of society, of the violence of men. Beaten and then repudiated by their husbands, mistreated by their in-laws, stigmatized by their own families who make them bear the burden of their marriage failure and reject them, they find themselves alone and with no future. A condemnation without return. Weakened, humiliated, they then slowly fall into madness. The only place they find refuge is the Bilquis Edhi center.

Afghanistan, paying the price for peace

Capa Presse, ARTE | France/Afghanistan 2020 | 52′

After 20 years of war, the US and its allies are about to hand Afghanistan to the Taliban, heedless of their promises to defend human rights and democratic advances, leaving Afghan civil society all alone on the front line.