The popularity of the CIVIS Media Prize for Integration and Cultural Diversity in Europe continues unabated. For 28 years, programme contributions in European Radio, Film and Television and, since 2010 also on the Internet, which promote the peaceful coexistence in the European immigration society have been honoured. 700 programmes from 21 EU countries and Switzerland were entered in recent months for the coveted prize. Eight European radio, film and television programmes as well as one Webpage and one Web Video were awarded prizes on Thursday evening in the European Parliament in Brussels on the occasion of a grand television gala. The prizes, which are endowed in each category with a cash prize of 3,000 Euros, went to programmes from BBC Scotland (GB), BR (Germany), ORF (Austria), RBB / Arte (Germany) and SRF (Switzerland).
Alongside this year's patron of the CIVIS Media Prize, the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, other prominent guests present at the prize-giving ceremony included the Bavarian Minister of State Dr. Marcel Huber, the TV presenters Pinar Atalay, Frank Elstner, Till Nassif, Anja Reschke and Ranga Yogeshwar, film director Til Schweiger and WDR Director-General Tom Buhrow, SRG SSR Director-General Roger de Weck, the Director-General of Deutschlandradio Dr. Willi Steul, Michael Breuer, President of the Rhineland Savings Banks Association, Minu Barati-Fischer from the Allianz Deutscher Produzenten Film & Fernsehen, WDR Television Director Jörg Schönborn, WDR Radio Director Valerie Weber, SWR Editor-in-Chief Fritz Frey, WDR Editor-in-Chief Sonia Seymour Mikich, ORF Editor-in-Chief Christoph Takacs, media expert Prof. Dr. Jo Groebel, Chairman of the Board of the WDR Mediagroup, Michael Loeb, Managing Director of the CIVIS Media Foundation, Michael Radix, together with many others.
WDR Director-General Tom Buhrow praised the CIVIS Media Prize as a “flagship”, which even after such a long time had lost none of its appeal and its popularity. "Not only the number of entries in the competition, but also the quality of the contributions is extremely impressive”, said Buhrow. He said that it showed attention can be attracted to important social issues with great seriousness and expertise, but also with irony and a twinkle in the eye. “And there are no blinkers, that is very important to me”, continued the WDR Director-General.
Selected by the jury was the production “Honig im Kopf” (“Honey in the Head”) from Barefoot Films/Warner Bros. (Germany), the prize went to Til Schweiger and Tom Zickler for direction and production. The winner was chosen via the Internet, all users over the age of 16 were able to participate and vote for their favourite film. A total of five European cinema films were nominated. “Honig im Kopf” tells the story of an eleven-year-old girl who, above all else, loves her grandfather Amandus who is suffering from Alzheimer's and unceremoniously abducts him because he is meant to be transferred to an old people’s home and would really still like to see Venice once again. Told in a way that is both amusing and moving, the story earned the following verdict from the jury: “It succeeds in creating great emotional cinema - with lots of humour and emotion. An unusual family film, in which the motives, adventures and experiences of migration and cultural diversity are positively addressed in made clear in many scenes”.
The European CIVIS TV Prize in the Information (non-fiction) category was awarded to Eszter Hajdú for her documentary “The Process of Budapest” (RBB / Arte). The focus is on the trial of a gruesome series of murders on Hungarian Roma, which for many observers was one of the most serious criminal cases in Hungary in the 21st century. Six people died in the attacks by right-wing extremists, the police made mistakes in their investigations and the secret service was suspected of being involved in the murders. For the jury “state ignorance and inadequacy was abundantly clear” in the film by Eszter Hajdú The author succeeded with limited dramaturgical means in achieving a maximum effect. “An oppressive protocol of the incomprehensible. A tense, highly topical courtroom against racism. An outstanding documentary”, was the jury’s verdict.
The European CIVIS TV Prize in the Entertainment (fictional) went to Joe Barton, Brian Welsh and Colin Barr for their musical drama “Glasgow Girls” (BBC Scotland). The musical drama tells the true story of a group of teenagers. The young women campaigned in 2005 with vigour and with great public participation for a girlfriend threatened with deportation and ensure that the Scottish deportation practice, that does not even make an exception for children, is critically examined. The result of the resistance of the “Glasgow Girls”: the practice of returning asylum-seeking teenagers during their exams was cancelled. The jury praised the “excellent direction, music selection, as well as the convincing acting performances” and is certain: “It produces a convincing plea for moral courage”.
The European CIVIS TV Prize in the Magazine / short programme category (up to ten minutes) went to Philipp Zahn for his report “Rundschau: Escape over the Sea” (SRF). The theme is as topical as it is deeply disturbing. People who flee from persecution, terror and war and fall into the hands of unscrupulous traffickers, and are left to their fate in the Mediterranean. If they were lucky, they were rescued in the past by the Italian navy with its “Mare Nostrum” mission between Libya and Sicily coast when in distress on the sea. In 2014, the mission was discontinued. Previously, Philipp Zahn had recorded the dramatic rescues in pictures. The highly topical short report show hopes and expectations. “It is close to the refugees. Powerful images and impressive”, said the jury.
The European CIVIS Radio Prize in the Short programme category (up to six minutes) went to Veronika Mauler for her “Mittagsjournal: Life after Flight: Part 1 Nina Kusturica looks back” (ORF). The focus of this report is on the theme of flight, which is featured by the author based on the example of the 17-year-old, Bosnian-born Nina Kusturica. 50 million people worldwide are on the run. In 2014 more came to Europe than at any time in the last 20 years. Austria was last confronted in 1990s with a high number of refugees. Over 90,000 people from Bosnia were taken into Austria. Nina Kusturica was one of them. Experiences of war, flight and arriving in a strange city are made understandable for listeners, the statement of the 17-year-old that flight had abruptly ended her youth gets under your skin. “A sensitive radio portrait with impressive statements - straightforward and without any frills”, the jury enthused.
The European CIVIS Radio Prize in the long programme category (over six minutes) went to Lisa White for her radio feature “radioThema: The whole way only fear of death - Story of a flight to Europe” (BR). A team of reporters from several European radio stations traced the flight and the personal stories of four Syrian men and their families. They all wanted to go to Sweden, but only one made it to the far North. The others remained in Turkey, ended up in England or Bavaria. Without being sentimental, Lisa White has created an “outstanding feature” which is multifaceted, authentic and closely oriented on the people involved”, writes the jury in its verdict. The “enormous journalistic performance” of the author makes it clear what it means for refugees to leave their homes and to rely on dubious human traffickers.
The CIVIS prize for exceptional programme performances was awarded to Margot Overath for her feature “Oury Jalloh. The contradictory truths of a fatality” (MDR in cooperation with NDR, WDR). It is about a case which occurred in 2005 and continues to arouse public concern to the present time. In a police cell, bound hand and foot, Oury Jalloh is burned alive. Two trials fail to provide a definitive explanation. One police officer is eventually sentenced to pay a fine on grounds of manslaughter. Margot Overath encounters many inconsistencies, finds new evidence that might indicate a racially- motivated crime and informs the Federal Attorney General of her findings. Since 2014, the Dessau Public Prosecutor has been investigating murder against persons unknown. For the jury, the work of the author is marked by sustained research and moral courage. The feature is of “high radiophonic quality and offers an outstanding journalistic performance”.
The European Young CIVIS Media Prize went to Martin Rohé from the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg for “Dr. Illegal. Don’t give a hungry man a fish, give him a fishing rod”. This prize recognizes reports, documentaries or dramas for film and television. Participants must be undergoing journalistic training at a film and television school or have only recently started work as a journalist and not be older than 32 years.
The film from Martin Rohé focuses on Omid who wants, above all else, to work as a doctor, but is not registered as a doctor because his Iranian certificate of good conduct has expired. Then, the medical practitioner begins to seek patients in his immediate surroundings: he handles his first cases illegally in the asylum centre, he steals the drugs he requires in the hospital. If he is discovered, his family is threatened with early deportation. The quirky social worker Uwe wants to persuade Omid to abandon his plans. It is the pilot film of a medical series set in a refugee centre. For the jury, a topical, highly political issue, which is entertainingly presented. “Dramatic, convincing, understandable. Asylum seekers are not portrayed as victims, but as vigorous and strong-willed individuals”, was the jury’s verdict.
The European CIVIS Online Media Prize in the field of Websites was awarded to Dietmar Telser and Benjamin Stöß for the website www.der-zaun.net. It is the effectiveness of the images which captures the attention of visitors to this website. The multimedia reporting leads along the walls and trenches of Europe, from Bulgaria via Greece, Turkey, Italy, Tunisia and Morocco. What does the “Fortress Europe” feel like from outside? How do refugees live at the border? How do border policemen respond? Questions which are raised with personal stories, photos and film reports and leave the viewer full of emotion. “Audios, videos, photos, graphics and text are artistically combined to create a new form of Web documentation. Visually stunning, outstanding in terms of both form and content”, said the jury.
The European CIVIS Online Media Prize in the field of Web Videos was awarded to Lars Kaempf and Eiko Theermann for the video "Tarek Chalabi" (vomhörensehen Medianpädagogik und Produktion). The video tells the story of an 18-year-old refugee from Syria who, having arrived in Germany, must learn that his objectives and desire to gain an education do not match up to the bureaucratic reality which awaits him here. For the jury, a moving story, which sensitively and aesthetically makes use of modern forms of presentation such as animations, icons, real images and typography. “The impressive video takes a convincing stand on the important issues of flight and expulsion, both in terms of content and form without the use of clichés. arises content and form convincingly the important issue of flight and expulsion - without clichés”, was the jury’s verdict on the award of the prize.