DIG Awards 2021

Finalists: Investigative Medium

For video investigations, both released and unreleased, of a maximum duration of 30 minutes. Filmmakers must use original sources and investigative techniques to bring out elements of novelty in relation to the subject matter.

The Riviera Maya Gang: Cash, Crime, Killing

OCCRP | Mexico/Romania/Indonesia 2020 | 30′

This film is a journey through a cash-machine-portal into a world of fraud, killing and organized crime. The Riviera Maya Gang was one of the largest ATM-skimming organizations in the world and is estimated to have made around a billion dollars from compromised ATMs across Mexico. This documentary explores who they are, how they did it and who is coming after them. This project was coordinated by OCCRP in collaboration with Quinto Elemento Lab, Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad, and RISE Project. This film was produced in English, Spanish, Romanian, and Indonesian and presented to diverse groups across continents, languages, and cultures. It had to inform Mexicans about what was going on in their own country, Romanians about what their rogue citizens were doing abroad, and an international audience about the nature of transnational organized crime.

Lagos Inferno

BBC Africa Eye | UK/Nigeria 2020 | 17′

In March 2020, an explosion in Lagos, Nigeria, shattered the neighbourhood of Abule Ado, killing 23 people and levelling a girls’ boarding school. Running through that site is a petroleum pipeline operated by Nigeria’s state-owned oil firm, the NNPC. Immediately, the firm deflected the blame, claiming “gas cylinder handling companies” had caused the explosion. But, using publicly available evidence, we show the NNPC’s account is a lie. The film unpicks the NNPC’s story to uncover the real cause of the blast and exposes the negligence which allowed it to happen. To gather evidence, we used cutting-edge open source investigation methods, creating a three-dimensional geospatial model onto which mobile video, eyewitness testimonies, street view photography, and satellite imagery were mapped. This innovation let us clearly convey a complex story about what ordinary Nigerians have to endure. Lagos Inferno was created by a team of Nigerian, Venezuelan, French and British journalists.

The Shameful Mistake

Le Monde | France 2021 | 24′

On 25th June 2013, a 52 year-old Malian mother, Fatouma Kebe lost an eye at the hands of the police following the brutal arrest of her two sons. What is worse, it was all a mistake – neither of her sons were the officers’ target. Last year, the presiding court stated the officers used a disproportionate level of force but cleared them of all charges. Responsible but not guilty. On that day in Villemomble, a Parisian suburb, six cameras captured the events. A fresh examination of the evidence, in conjunction with digital modelling, shows how the methods used by the police disregarded the Kebe family’s safety without justification. Our story also exposes officers’ lies during the court hearings and dysfunction within the investigations of the IGPN (the French IPCC). “Without these videos, we would have gone to jail…”, says Fatouma’s son Makan Kebe.

Sudan’s Soldiers of Misfortune

TRT World | Turkey 2020 | 26′

Darfur, a region cut off from the world. A volatile area that still bears the scars of genocide. Many are looking for a better future elsewhere. A quest that led them to battlefields in Libya. Some were tricked. Others were trapped. All were forced to kill. From Darfur to the capital Khartoum, we’ve uncovered ruthless recruiting networks and spoken to those who risked a terrifying escape to break free from a conflict that isn’t theirs. Abdelrazak went to look for gold. But he was kidnapped and sold to Libyan militias who forced him to fight alongside Haftar’s troops as they tried to get hold of the capital Tripoli. He ended up taking part in massacres similar to those that decimated his family in the early 2000s. Ayman signed a contract for a security job in the United Arab Emirates. But he landed in the Libyan desert where he received three months of intense military training, ranging from using Kalashnikov, digging trenches and drafting battle plans.

Beirut: The making of a time bomb

France Télévisions | France 2020 | 27′

On August 4th 2020, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history hit the port of Beirut, wreaking devastation across the capital of Lebanon and bringing a dangling country to the brink of collapse. Its immediate cause was a fire in a warehouse were 2.750 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate had been kept for years. Envoyé Spécial reporters Pierre Monégier, Tristan Waleckx e Marie Jo Sader investigated the responsibilities behind the blast, gaining access to exclusive photos and documents proving that Lebanese officials including its Prime minister and President had been warned about the risks by a lieutenant from the army, whose confidential report is shown, in a world exclusive. We also interviewed the captain of the ship who transported the cargo from Georgia to the port of Beirut, a well-known harbor of corruption that the authors investigate, pointing to a scenario were greed drove officials to create a sleeping bomb.