The Witness documentary, Sudan’s Forgotten Films, won the prize for Arts and Culture Story of the Year. Over two years, Sudan based independent filmmakers, Suhaib Gasmelbari and Katharina von Schroeder, followed two men trying to save Sudan’s film archive of 13,000 films - one of the biggest in Africa. The release of the documentary went viral in Sudan and sparked renewed interest in rescuing the archive.
Celebrating its 130th anniversary, the Foreign Press Association have celebrated and supported great international journalism since 1888. It is the oldest association of foreign journalists in the world and has members from over 65 countries and 250 outlets. The FPA Media Awards are now on their 19th year.
Witness - one of Al Jazeera's flagship documentary series - won its category against two strong entries: one by The Guardian Long Read and the second Economist magazine 1843. The judges said about Sudan’s Forgotten Films, “The stand out five star film told a sweet and lyrical story providing a rare historical perspective.”.
Executive Producer Fiona Lawson-Baker said, “This award is credit to the excellent work of Al Jazeera’s Witness team who are committed to independent filmmaking voices worldwide. It’s an honour to accept this award on behalf of the filmmakers and ultimately it is a tribute to the two main characters, Awad and Benjamin. You have done a beautiful job, Benjamin!’
Al Jazeera English was also nominated for the Rohingya Women and Children Trafficking by Charles Stratford in the TV News Story of the Year Category. Witness – Venezuela Smuggling Dreams and The Cut: Exploring FGM were both nominated in the Documentary of the Year Category.
The winners were announced at a gala dinner on November 26, in London, United Kingdom.