IAWRT 2015 International Awards of Excellence

New Delhi, India, September 16th 2015

As usual, one of the highlights at the Biennial conference was announcements of the winners of IAWRT International Awards of Excellence 2015.   Two juries judged a great variety of TV, Radio and Web documentaries from 20 countries and all continents. The themes for the productions were contemporary issues affecting the lives of women, including illegal abortions, refugees, women reporting on conflict, art and gender. The quality of entries was very high. PICS: Farzana Boby in Bangladesh (on Skype) hears she is the TV winner, watched by Padmaja Shaw, Frieda Werden, Anupa Shrestha, Archana Kapoor, Gerd Inger Polden, Racheal Nakitare, Uma Chakravarti, Pochi Tamba Nsoh and Solveig Helvik.

The TV and Web video documentary jury, was headed by Padmaja Shaw, India, a video producer and a professor of broadcast journalism.  Pochi Tamba Nsoh, a broadcast professional from Cameroon and Solveig Helvik, a TV documentary  broadcaster from Norway served as co-jurors.

The radio jury (pictured) was headed by Archana Kapoor, India, a community radio producer. Co-jurors were Frieda Werden, Canada, a radio producer of note and Anupa Shrestha, a broadcast professional from Nepal.

The Poison Thorn (Bishkanta)
By Farzana Boby

Photo by Gonshai PahlaviFarzana Boby's film, made in 2014, narrates the experiences of three women who are still haunted by rape that they survived, some 40 years after the 1971 war that led to the formation of Bangladesh. The film traces the brutality of social stigma and loss of self-esteem relived by these women in various ways, set against the lyrical beauty of their surroundings. The intense narrative, set against the outward tranquility of their life, succeeds in communicating the depth of their experience to the viewer. The pace of the film gives the viewer an opportunity to reflect. The cinematography and the use of sound in the film are of outstanding quality. The jury unanimously recommended this film for the IAWRT International Documentary Award - 2015.

Farzana Boby is a freelance videographer, the first woman in Bangladesh to enter the profession in mainstream commercial media. She has worked in varied roles of editor, scriptwriter and assistant director for full length feature films as well as documentaries in Bangladesh. Farzana is a poet and is a founder-member of Chobir Lorai, a non-profit organization of active film-makers. 

Clandestine Abortion in Chile
By Alexandra Christine Hall

Chile is a developed country where abortion is totally illegal, but it is considering limited decriminalization. Illegal abortion is widely practiced. Hall´s audio represented women from varied segments of society, including Chile´s woman president Michelle Bachelet. The program documented in a gripping, at times chilling narrative of the experience of a woman who opted for an illegal abortion. The program ended with an on-site interview with volunteers for an underground helpline, who say complete decriminalization is the only reasonable answer. The jury felt strongly that the information in this documentary was important and rare, and relevant to many societies across the globe.

Alexandra Hall is a broadcast journalist who until recently was based in Santiago, Chile, working as a radio producer, translator and freelance journalist. Her reporting has been featured on National Public Radio, CNN Chile, Radio Ambulante, Telesur, and more. 

Save our Queens campaign
By Diana Wanyonyi

This programme from Kenya included interviews with a wide range of girls and women from various communities, who have been affected by violence such as child sexual assault, seduction and abandonment and parental neglect. The jury found its content was relevant and had a good balance of data and testimonials. The narration, the ambience and sounds, the mixing of voice overs with original voices was good, the stories were moving and immediately engaging. The title of the program comes from the name of a local organisation in a county of coastal Kenya. The jury found that representation of the organisations´s effectiveness seemed to be honest reporting and not a puff piece which oveplayed the effectiveness of the group's work.

Diana Wanyonyi is a senior reporter for Baraka FM which broadcasts to Kenya's coastal regions and and provides online media. She has won mutiple awards there over the past few years for her reporting on children and youth affairs, health reporting and good governance. She concenterates on gender issues and stories involving poor and vulnerable people at the grassroots level. 

Feminists of the 70s
By Kristine Ramm

Made in 2013, the film retraces the history of the new feminist movement in Norway with the help of participants of the movement in the 60s and 70s, two of whom were founders. They reminisce about their experiences in the movement. The film uses documents, archival footage and visuals of the period, to reconnect to the present. The narrative is interesting and presents a crisp summary of the history of the movement and its concerns told from the point of view of the participants. The film has insights that can have a universal appeal to the feminist movement across cultures.

Kristine Ramm has been working  in NRK ( Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation ) with television documentaries more than 20 years. Her themes have been current affairs and culture topics.  She has also been working  as production coordinator and floor manager.

Rebel Menopause
By Adele Tulli

The documentary made in 2014, deals with the popular perceptions of elderly women as socially and sexually irrelevant as individuals, through the life and work of an 85 year old activist who sets up a community, Baba Yaga, for senior women. The vision of the activist is to help the women in the community rediscover that life after menopause can still be an enriching one, an “age of complete freedom”. The film is narrated with a dash of irreverence and mischief, which makes it thought-provoking and entertaining to watch. (link password babayaga)

Adele Tulli is a freelance documentary filmmaker. She graduated in South Asian Studies at Cambridge University and in Screen Documentary at Goldsmiths. She works as a documentary filmmaker, editor and film curator/programmer. Queer and gender issues have been a central part of her studies as well as of her activism. She has led workshops and seminars on gender and sexuality both in India and in Europe.

Throwing in the towel: How Labour women MPs fought to change Westminster Politics
By Boni Sones

The Programme consisted of excerpts from interviews with ten women parliamentarians from UK´s Labour partywho were leaving Parliament, some of them having served for 30 years. They included two former secretaries of state and several ministers and junior ministers. The interviews revealed their struggle to get even small things done, such as getting a childcare centre, or a family room for MPs. They spoke about their continuous struggle to be heard and respected. This 2015 audio series appears on the women´s parliamentary radio website, which has been influential in gaining recognition for women members of parliament since 2007. More details(programme link instruction: scroll down to  March 2015 to locate program)              

Boni Sones OBE has been a reporter and correspondent in print, radio, television and now online journalism since 1976 where she specialises in public policy, business and politics. She has climbed the editorial ladder to become an Editor in all three of these media.  She has reported for both local and national media including the East Anglian Daily TimesThe Cambridge Evening News, BBC News 24, BBC Television in the East and freelance for BBC Radio 4. 

Memories of Sarajevo: Singing a new song
By Karena Wynn-Moylan

The broadcast on Bay FM 99.9 in Australia, deals with issues of refugees whose trauma continues nearly 20 years after the end of the war. The women´s testimonies were moving and informative, and the second half of the program revealed the importance of art in overcoming trauma, for example, forming a chorus and singing in their own language to not only bond, but also to help heal their lives. 

Karena Wynn-Moylan is a fine artist, songwriter/composer, and radio presenter who has been broadcasting for nearly 16 years on Bay FM 99.9 community radio in Byron Shire, Northern New South Wales, Australia. Her music for Film and Television is  licensed through Getty Music worldwide. Her multi media experiential theatre piece ’ The Ice Suite  ‘has been performed internationally.

Women Journalists on the frontlines 2015
By Mindy Ran

Mindy Ran from the Netherlands conducted interviews with a wide range of women journalists who have covered conflict and have faced traumatic experiences reporting from dangerous zones both at home and abroad. This program was well researched, well scripted and presented in a manner which revealed the threats faced by the reporters. It seemed a significant topic for IAWRT. It was aired on the US Pacifica Radio Network and its affiliated stations in the US, through the Women’s International News Gathering Service, Wings.  

Mindy Ran is an Amsterdam-based freelance journalist/audio video documentary and feature maker/editor. Ms Ran is currently Production Editor of INTERVENTION (since 2002), a journal on psychosocial interventions for survivors of war, trauma, disaster and torture, as well as a freelance journalist for the International Trade Union Confederation website: (www.equaltimes.org), and audio feature and documentary freelancer at Women's International News Gathering Service. she has worked for  RADIO NETHERLANDS WORLDWIDE and contributed to the GLOBAL MEDIA MONITORING PROJECT (Ethics and Journalism and Reporting on Sexual Violence), as well as guidelines on ethical reporting for the National Union of Journalists, and edited the Best Practice Handbook for the IFJ (gender and media). In 2007, she edited a book on the status of women in Ethiopia, “CANDACE”.


Gala Awards presentation

Gerd Inger Polden, a Norwegian award winning journalist and filmmaker for more than three decades, served  as the AWARDS coordinator. At the Gala presentations, she presented NRK broadcaster Kirsten Bråthen  with a lifetime achievement award (pictured) Canadian-American radio broadcaster Freida Werden (below) ,the co-founder of WINGS: Women's International News Gathering Service and a former President of IAWRT, also received a lifetime achievement award.


Freida Werden, Mausumi Bhattacharyya, Shikha Jhingani, and IAWRT Vice President Ananya Chakroborti. 

Kim Sokuntheary, Padmaja Chiruvolu Shaw, head of the TV Jury,
IAWRT Secretary, Pochi Tamba Nshoh, Sara Chitambo, Leena Manimekalai

Reena Mohan, Anupa Shrestha, Anupama Srinivasan,
Kim Sokuntheary, Pochi Tamba Nshoh, Sania Farooqui