Lucky winners, proud nominees, together with German President Joachim Gauck and Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament, high-profile patrons as well as numerous prominent guests and presenters from politics, society and the media: the 29th prize-giving ceremony of the European CIVIS Media Prize for Migration, Integration and Cultural Diversity Berlin’s Foreign Ministry demonstrated the importance of this award in Europe. The CIVIS Media Prize is as highly coveted as it is renowned and honoured programme contributions in Berlin, which, on radio, television, film and the Internet, are dedicated to clarity and truth in the European immigration society and promote the peaceful coexistence of the different groups in the immigration society.
Just how much the developments in recent months have exerted an influence on the creative power of the media professionals, is indicated by the record number of participants in the 29th edition of the CIVIS Media Prize. 935 programmes from 21 EU countries and Switzerland competed in 13 categories for the favour of the jury. The winners were honoured this evening in a glamorous TV gala at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Programmes from ARD, Arte/BBC, BR, Channel 4News, Deutschlandfunk, ORF, SRF, WDR and the Zurich College of Arts received prizes.
The importance of the prize was underlined the guest list. In addition to the German Federal President, Joachim Gauck, and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, the Integration Commissioner of the Federal Government, State Secretary Aydan Özoguz, the Minister of State in the Foreign Office, Prof. Dr. Maria Böhmer, Dr. Friede Springer and WDR Director Tom Buhrow all took part in the ceremony. ORF Director-General Dr. Alexander Wrabetz, SRG Director-General Roger de Weck, WDR Television Director Jörg Schönborn, Minu Barati-Fischer from the Alliance of German Producers, DFB Media Director Ralf Köttker and the DFB National Coach of the German Women’s Team, Steffi Jones (from autumn 2016) were all present at the ceremony – as were the TV presenters Sandra Maischberger (ARD), Frank Elstner (ARD), Sonia Seymour Mikich (WDR), Anja Reschke (NDR), Pinar Atalay (ARD), Siham El- Maimouni (WDR), Cherno Jobatey (ZDF), Fritz Frey (SWR), Christoph Takacs (ORF), media expert Prof. Dr. Jo Groebel, Michael Loeb (WDR mediagroup), Michael Radix (CIVIS Medienstiftung) and other guests.
In his capacity as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the CIVIS Media Foundation, WDR Director-General Tom Buhrow made it clear that, in view of the refugee influx, prejudice, the need for integration and a considerable increase in xenophobic attacks and assaults the media was being faced with major challenges. It was necessary to find the right balance, to present current developments, but also the causes of flight appropriately, to address right-wing threats as openly as the successes and failures of integration. For 29 years, the CIVIS Media Prize has been accompanying the process of social integration in Germany and Europe. "CIVIS is part of the success and plays its part in ensuring that the debate continues to be a publicly effective one", said Buhrow.
Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, called for the cooperation with Turkey in solving the European refugee crisis to be intensified. "However, we must not abandon our fundamental values", said Schulz referring to the current disputes with Ankara regarding the different understandings of freedom of expression.
The State Minister for Integration, Aydan Özoguz, recalled that Germany had already provided great integration services in the past. This will also be the case this time, Özoguz was convinced. "We must defend ourselves against sensationalist propaganda and the intellectual fire-raisers", argued the Minister of State with respect to the incitement against refugees. "We have no reason to be frightened", continued the Minister of State, because in the past Germany has always benefited from the influx.
Michael Radix, Managing Director of the CIVIS Media Foundation, highlighted the record number of participants in this year’s competition. "I am delighted that so many journalists, authors, film-makers and Onliners from all over Europe have competed in the CIVIS Media Prize 2016.". He said that more than 50 judges had taken a closer look at all the programme contributions. "We have outstanding nominees and prize-winners, who have taken the bare figures and made them into stories and background
The European CIVIS TV Prize in the Magazine category (short programs up to ten minutes) went to Lisa Schurr for her report on German Mittagsmagazin: "On the Limit - The Helpers from Wegscheid. Part 1" (Bayerischer Rundfunk). Her film concerned itself with the volunteers on the German-Austrian border crossing at Wegscheid. Thousands of people crowded over the border into Germany there in November. The helpers in Wegscheid do not talk about overwork, but tackle the job, prevent the situation escalating, demonstrate humanity in an extremely difficult situation. For the jury, an exemplary short report that shows what a dedicated topical news report is capable of providing. "Close to the people – strong images, sensitive, impressive", was the jury’s opinion.
The European CIVIS TV Prize in the Entertainment (fictional) category went to Nils Willbrandt for his TV movie "Leberkäseland" ("Meatloaf Country") (ARD, DEGETO, Ziegler Film), in which the fate of Turkish immigrants in Germany in the 60s and 70s is focused upon. Latife is an academic, cosmopolitan, modern. She has just celebrated passing her entrance examination at Istanbul University, when her dream of a career is already over. With a heavy heart, she follows her husband to Germany, who takes over a dental practice there. An occasionally painful integration follows which, however, ultimately ends successfully. The jury speaks in its opinion about "a humorous family story between the Bosporus and the Rhine" and the somewhat different integration story of a bourgeois Turkish immigrant family who are far ahead of their time and German society. In the opinion of the jury the film is cinematically and theatrically outstanding.
Two winners were awarded the European CIVIS TV Prize in the Information (non-fictional) category. Anna Thommen was honoured for her documentary "Neuland" (Swiss Broadcasting Television / Fama Film / Zurich College of Art) and Annalisa Piras could also be happy with 1st prize for her documentary-fiction "EU: shortly before the crash? The Great European Disaster Movie"(ARTE / BBC / Springshot Productions). "Neuland" is about an integration class in Basel. The young people should get to know the language and culture of Switzerland within two years, hope to be able to forget the past and to live out their dreams in Switzerland. The teacher of the young migrants is under no illusions and nevertheless never tires to teach the young people the belief in themselves and a better future. For the jury the outstanding factor is that the film dispels prejudices about the different nationalities of the young people and the people with all their contradictions become clear. Their verdict: "Cinematic and dramatically first-class".
Top marks from the jury were also given to "EU: Shortly before the crash?". This documentary-fiction is set in the not too distant future. The plane of little Jane is caught in a violent storm. To distract the little girl, the person sitting next to her tells her five stories about the EU - what it once was, why everything is falling apart and what would be lost through its downfall. The stories lead back to the Europe of today. Will Europe slide back, as a result of growing nationalism, economic crises and dissatisfaction, into disaster? For the jury an impressive portrait of an EU, "a thoughtful and moving film, which dramatically presents the loss of European values. A brilliant production, magnificent and scary at the same time".
With the CIVIS Cinema Prize, the film of director David Wnendt "He’s back again" (MYTHOS FILM) is honoured, which emerged as the winner of CIVIS public voting on the Internet. Nearly 70 years after his exit , in the film Adolf Hitler wakes up in present-day Berlin and embarks on a career in television. He is thought to be a political and not quite correct comedian and he is made into an acclaimed television star. In this production, David Wnendt picks up Timur Vermes’ success satirical novel "He’s back again". For the jury, a trenchant, highly topical social satire - snappy, angry, with mass appeal. This is a film which says a lot about Germany and the growing seduction by populist demagoguery. Great Satire, definitely worth seeing", in the opinion of the jury.
The European CIVIS Radio Prize in the short programme category (up to six minutes) went to Meinhard Mühlmann took for his serial of 30th June 2015 "People in Flight. An Ö3 minute to contemplate" (Hitradio Ö3, Austrian Broadcasting Corporation). It tells the story of a refugee who has come to Austria. With his experiences and his thoughts, the programme reminds the audience that with the refugees it is very often a matter of people with dramatic experiences. For the jury, a enormously important contribution in a series of short portraits from the most popular radio programme in Austria. "The result is an authentic, emotionally moving radio feature: radiophonic and with a mass appeal. An outstanding brief portrait".
Marianthi Milona received the European CIVIS Radio Prize in the long programme category (over six minutes) for her feature “Should I die in your country. About anonymous burials of refugees in Greece" (Deutschlandfunk). Never before have so many refugees lost their lives in Greece while trying to reach Europe, as in the past five years. The dead often belonged to different faiths which cultivate different funeral rites. Their names are only seldom known. The authorities are helpless, the chance of their families slight to hear anything about the death or the grave of their relatives. "A thematically and formally outstanding radio feature. Close to the people involved, exciting, sensitive", said the judges.
No less than three submitted contributions share 1st place in the CIVIS Special Prize for Integration + Sport category. Mareike Wilm was honoured for her television documentary "BVB V. the Right-wing - Dortmund and its unloved fans" (Westdeutscher Rundfunk), as was Jennifer von Massow for her radio magazine report "NRW helps - Burscheider Ballverein plays football with refugees" (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) as well as Hans Helmreich and Steffen Lunkenheimer for their webpage "Woher stammt die Liga" (Where does the League come from) (Bayerischer Rundfunk).
Mareike Wilms shows in her film "BVB V. the Right-wing - Dortmund and its unloved fans", how the Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund defends itself against a small but noisy and violent right-wing scene which makes use of the stadium for agitation. For two years, the BVB has been opposing these fans and positions itself publicly against racism. For the jury an impressive documentation – "convincing, concrete, highly informative".
Engagement on behalf of refugees can sometimes be very concrete and simple as the report "NRW helps - Burscheider Ballverein plays football with refugees" by Jennifer von Massow shows. The football club makes a targeted appeal to refugees and invites them to play football. Football is a language that is spoken internationally. In Burscheid the refugee camp is almost directly alongside the football pitch. The club’s committee makes contact with the refugees and brought some young men onto the pitch. One Syrian turns out to be a doctor and physiotherapist. He offers to provide treatment for the players from now on. The "fast-paced magazine report" convinced the jury. "Atmospherically intense, humorous and without false pathos. Impressive," it says in its assessment.
On the Webpage "Where does the League come from?" Hans Helmreich and Steffen Lunkenheimer set off in search of the origins of Bundesliga players and with interactive maps that show the birthplaces of more than 500 players, provide practical answers. For example, they know that about nine Japanese professionals are playing in the German football’s top league. The jury praised the contribution for its "impressive data journalism", which simultaneously set an example for diversely experienced integration. As a result, it was clear that players from over 50 different countries are playing in the 18 Bundesliga clubs. For the jury an "outstanding Website”, which has also been rewarded with the 1st prize.
With his short film "Inland" (Zürich College of Art), Piet Baumgartner has presented a true story and was awarded the European Young CIVIS Media Prize. The film is all about the 15-year-old Alina, whose world is suddenly turned upside down when her stepfather is arrested. The Nigerian is alleged to have been dealing with drugs, which is not true. The events and the and the demoralizing waiting for the Process put an end to Alina’s youth, shaking her ideals and putting the entire family under pressure. In Alina’s story, Switzerland stands as representative of the increasing xenophobia in Europe. The jury speaks of an explosive political theme, which has been presented in convincing, exciting pictures. "An impressive acting performance and great direction" in a film in which it is about xenophobic attitudes, which ultimately also resulted in deportation.
The European CIVIS Online Media Prize in the field of webpages was awarded by the jury to Felix Renicks for the website twobillionmiles.com (Channel 4News). The Webpage shows the incredible distances that people fleeing from terror and war overcome on their way to Europe - more than two billion miles. The interactive video stories offer the opportunity to really understand the experiences of refugees and migrants. With the use of Using images that are true to the original, without commentary, the users of the Webpage assume the role of migrants: their personal decisions influence the further course of the story and the fate of the journey. The jury was impressed by the topical, multi-media webpage, which they described: "Extreme powerful pictures and rich in facts, with impressive videos. Outstanding content and technology".
The European CIVIS Online Media Prize in the field of Web video went to Stephan Keicher, Hans Helmreich and Wolfgang Vichtl for their Video Special "www.nsu-interviews.de" (Bayerischer Rundfunk). "NSU Interviews" offers an approach to the Munich NSU process from different angles, with exclusive interviews, protocols, reporters’ diaries, graphics as well as original images from the process and the crime scenes. The Web special offers an interactive overview. The focus is on five videos with interviews of fourteen participants and observers of the process. The jury highlighted the fact that the video provides orientation, additional information on a socially important issue and raises questions about the role of the state. Their verdict: "An impressive Web special, Technically and graphically outstanding".