Seven documentaries, a podcast, a Pitch and, for the first time, the “Watchdog Award”: meet the projects and journalists awarded at #DIG2020

DIG Festival’s sixth edition, the first one to take place in Modena, closed on Sunday October 11th, after four intense days of screenings, discussions and events dedicated to investigative reporting.

DIG culminated during its awarding ceremony that took place in the unique scenario offered by the Church of San Carlo, in the historical centre of Modena. During the ceremony, all DIG Awards were assigned, including the new “Watchdog Award”, given to those journalists who distinguished themselves for courage, dedication and public service.

Valerio Bassan, DIG co-organizer, conducted the ceremony together with DIG’s  jury, composed by 12 among the finest international journalists, directors and producers.

Romanian director Alexander Nanau chaired the jury that also featured Mariana Van Zeller (journalist, National Geographic), Tim Travers Hawkins (director), Anne Koch (Global Investigative Journalism Network – GIJN), Hans Peterson Hammer (Sveriges Television – SVT), Sasha Joelle Achilli (director), Margo Smit (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists/Dutch Public Broadcaster NPO), Marina Walker Guevara (Pulitzer Center), Andrea Scrosati (Fremantle), Alexandre Brachet (Upian), Juliana Ruhfus (Al Jazeera) e Alberto Nerazzini (Dersu/DIG).

Here are all DIG 2020 winners:

Investigations, published or unpublished of a minimum length of 30 minutes

Dirty Banking”
by Joachim Dyvermark, Linda Kakuli,
Per Agerman, Axel Gordh Humlesjö – SVT

The incredible story of Swedbank and one of the biggest money laundry scandals in recent times.

Motivation: Even when countries prize themselves of being amongst the most transparent, journalists should never put their guard down. This film is one of the few remaining examples of what a public broadcaster can do when it is given the freedom to inves.gate one of the countries’ biggest banks involved with Russian and Ukranian money laundering.

Investigations, published or unpublished of a maximum length of 30 minutes

“Sudan’s Livestream Massacre”
by B. Strick, S. Vanhooymissen,
T. Flannery, B. Hill, D. Adamson
BBC Africa Eye

The reconstruction of the massacre that took place on June 3rd 2019 Karthoum that was made possible thanks to more than 400 videos shot by protesters who documented the military attack with their phones and forced Sudanese authorities to be accountable for those crimes.

Motivation: In a time when we have less and less journalist boots on the ground we depend more on the bravery of citizen journalists. When combined with the skills of a professional news organization, citizen journalism can lead to innovative exposure of a government-backed massacre that otherwise would not have been known.

Reportages, published or unpublished of a minimum length of 30 minutes

“Foreign volunteers in the hell of Raqqa”
by Paul Moreira e Pedro Brito De Fonseca
for Premières Lignes e Arte

A journey into the lives of Western volunteers who left all behind to fight ISIS. And made it back home.

Motivation: Investigations can be both outward looking and also be introspective. The need for humans to constantly question their role in the world is another kind of investigation. By following foreign volunteers, we get to know about a group of young men and whatmotivated them to pick up arms in a country far from theirs.

“REPORTAGE LONG”: special mention

“The writer from a country without bookstores”
by Marc Serena

Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel is the most translated writer from Equatrial Guinea and was forced to leave his country because of his denounces against dictator Teodoro Obiang. This reportage follows Laurel during his risky return trip to Equatrial Guinea aimed at meeting the opposition members.

Motivation: The Jury would also like to make a special mention to The writer from a country without bookstores who participated in the DIG pitch last year without winning. However, the filmmaker was able to complete what is now a beautiful film. We are happy to assist to the birth of a director in front of us. Congrats to the director Marc Serena

Reportages, published or unpublished of a maximum length of 30 minutes

“Yemen: an Odissey”
by Charles Emptaz, Olivier Jobard

Over Galafi mountains, at the border with Gibuti, migrants and refugees from the Ethiopian Oromo ethnic group are trying to reach Saudi Arabia to build a new future. This is the story of a trip full of risks and dangers.

Motivation: For the past five years the plight of migrants travelling to Europe has been vastly covered. However, little do we know about migration to other parts of the world. In a brave undertaking the filmmakers managed to produce a sparsely, well-crafted film with extraordinary images that never fail to humanize the refugees, and even death is shown with the utmost dignity. The film defies viewer fatigue of migration films and demonstrates that we must continue to make them.

Works, published or unpublished of a maximum length of 12 minutes

“Turkey’s ghost ships”
by Benjamin Strick
for BBC Africa Eye

This is the story of a ship named Bana, that left Turkey shores in January and later disappeared. Where did it go? And what was on board?

Motivation: While the international community is willing to close their eyes to crimes that are carried out in plain sight, investigatve journalists are taking over. Through effective use of technology they lead a granular forensic investigation that exposes the shortcomings of the UN and the international community to stop war crimes in Turkey and Lybia.

Audio storytelling journalistic projects and radio investigations, podcasts and audioseries

by Alessia Cerantola, Cecilia Anesi, Giulio Rubino, Susanne Reber
for Stitcher Witness Docs

Policeman at day, sexual predator on Couchsurfing by night: this series investigates on one of the most shocking sexual abuses story of recent times.

Motivation: A story about a policeman turned sexual predator, and a group of fearless women from around the world banding together to bring him tojustice. Across continents and years, they launched their own investigation with a team of Italian journalists and triggered a trial unlike any seen in Italian courts. The professionalism of investigative journalism is here combined with a high-level podcast production, giving listening to a unique and compelling experience.

“AUDIO”: special mention

“A tutti i costi”
by Chiara D’Ambros
for Rai Radio 3

A mini audio series of five episodes that covers work, health, invisible substances and polluted waters, contaminated environment and compromised lives. A journey in audio format to the province of Vicenza, Italy.

Motivation: A passionate investigation about the work/health dilemma where, with care and determination, the author is able to tell the stories of Miteni workers, a chemical factory based in Vicenza where someone’s money making happens at the cost of workers’ health and enormous environmental damages.


With its Pitch, DIG annually awards a video investigation / reportage project in development or pre-production, focused on issues of international relevance. The finalist authors present their project in front of DIG’s international jury and an audience of observers made up of broadcasters, producers and commissioning editors, in a public pitching session to be held at the DIG Festival. Winners get a prize of 15’000 euros.

“Searching for Lost Cells”
di Valeria Mazzucchi, Antoine Harari e Lorenzo Bagnoli

Imagine a cell bank with more than 330.000 samples of stem cells that shuts down overnight. This happened in Switzerland, with no controls over the quality of the storage or the cells positioning. Basically, the story of vanished 3 billions euros.

Motivation: The winner this year has the potential of creating what the Jury thinks could be an international thriller about corruption in health care and the manipulation of hope. Although we recognize that the visual storytelling challenges are great, we believe it’s in the public interest to find out more.


An award that premiered at DIG Festival 2020 and that is awarding journalists who distinguished themselves for their work, courage and impact. Winners are chosen by the DIG board.

Isaia Invernizzi, data journalist – L’Eco di Bergamo

Motivation: Isaia Invernizzi has contributed radically to the understanding of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in our country during the hardest and most dramatic months of the lockdown. From Bergamo, one of the Italian cities most affected by the Coronavirus, Invernizzi provided a new approach to the data-driven analysis of the pandemic, also demonstrating the limitations of the official data provided by the authorities. In weeks in which politics, the media and citizens seemed to be lost, Invernizzi’s work provided new light on what was happening, demonstrating a cost in terms of human lives that was far more dramatic than the one portrayed by the official figures. In this “Age of Fear”, where the sense of community and social solidarity seems to be fading, DIG is also proud to award a local newspaper, L’Eco di Bergamo. Local journalism is often the first outpost of understanding the world and reality and carries out a fundamental public service, the importance of which must be reiterated every day and today more than ever.

Veronika Munk and the whole Telex newsroom, Budapest, Hungary

Motivation: For the defence of press freedom in Hungary demonstrated by the editorial staff of the independent online newspaper, founded by a group of journalists from the editorial office of the information newspaper who resigned en masse after the appointment of a new pro-government director.