|  CIVIS Media Prize

How did you get the idea for your contribution? What was the biggest challenge? What do you wish for the future?

The CIVIS Media Foundation asked the nominees these questions.

Their answers offer exciting insights into the work of the authors and directors.

I came up with the idea for this film in Germany of all places.

The biggest challenge was finding a Jewish leading actor to hit the German in the face without hurting him too much.

In future, I would like less Klezmer, more hip hop and to raise a Masel Tov cocktail as a toast.

I came up with the idea for this documentary during the winter, when I repeatedly saw the same beggar sitting on the street corner in sub-zero temperatures.

The biggest challenge was meeting the beggar, Narcisa, again in Romania.

In future, I hope for a fairer policy within the EU that prevents a country’s citizens from becoming beggars.

Nikolaus Steiner and I came up with the idea for this magazine report as we have been dealing intensively with EU policy and civilian maritime search and rescue in the Mediterranean for years. Attacks on maritime search and rescue organisations by Europe’s partners and push-backs coordinated by the Maltese authorities have dramatically shown how the European authorities are violating human rights in the Mediterranean, along with the dubious partners upon which Europe is relying, in order to prevent refugees from reaching mainland Europe. 
The biggest challenge for Nikolaus Steiner and me was being able to provide detailed evidence of the human rights violations by European authorities in the Mediterranean, in this case with the help of numerous documents. Plus demonstrating the European links to precisely this violent Libyan militia, in order to make it clear to viewers that Europe’s partners do not shy away from attacking German maritime search and rescue organisations. 
In future, we hope that more journalists will address the funding and training of the Libyan coastguard by the EU more fully and more critically. Plus, instead of reporting on the scientifically refuted pull-effect of maritime search and rescue organisations, they will highlight the fact that Europe accepts that men, women and children are locked up in internment camps after being repatriated, thereby exposing them to treatment that violates their human rights, possible torture and rape.

I came up with the idea for this documentary while spending the winter in Sarajevo and coming across migrants almost every day who were newly missing a tooth, had a gaping head wound or broken arms. It seemed as if this border between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia - our external EU border - is a human-trampling ground, which I was compelled to examine more closely.
The biggest challenge was outsmarting the Croatian police. For almost three weeks, it felt like playing cat and mouse in this green hinterland. There were no push-backs where we were waiting and vice versa. But we soon learned...
In future, I hope that we as the EU, we, the Schengen States (I say this on purpose, because Switzerland needs to be repeatedly reminded that this is also its external border) will integrate our borders into our society. Just imagine if this inhuman behaviour were to occur in the centre of Münster, Basel or Innsbruck. It simply wouldn’t be accepted. But because it’s happening in a Bosnian forest, we can pretend it’s an unfortunate accident. It isn’t accidental, it’s systemic. 

We came up with the idea for this programme because we should talk to one another more instead of about each other.

The biggest challenge was linking the many different opinions together.

In future, I hope that talk shows will be more diverse!

I came up with the idea for this drama because I wanted to show that differences are enriching and the principle of hospitality is a duty. 

The biggest challenge was avoiding the use of caricature and depicting the complexity of the issue.

In future, I hope that Europe will never forget that “hospitality” is a traditional, universal value.

I had the idea to write this film because I was struck by the fact that the French countryside was suffering from depopulation, while at the same time many migrants were being refused entry.

The biggest challenge was to convince our partners (producer, channel) that the local experiences of welcoming immigrants are going well and that many villages are asking for them!

My wish for the future is to give depopulated villages the means to welcome migrants from all over the world who wish to settle in France.

I came up with the idea for this TV film...
While travelling through Ukraine, I met a young woman who I came across again in Dortmund a little while later. She had put all her eggs in one basket, left her homeland and was working as a cleaner in Dortmund, in order to be able to fulfil her dream of having her own small nail salon at some point. I was extremely impressed by her uncompromising attitude and iron will to lead an autonomous life and this is what inspired the story.
The biggest challenge was... 
I spent many months in Dortmund’s Nordstadt district, carrying out research and meeting lots of people. Convincing these people, who had sometimes suffered traumatic experiences, to be involved in the project was not easy, but ultimately very important to me.
In future, I hope... 
For greater equality. That people can settle down and realise their dreams here, regardless of their background and social circumstances. Only then, I believe, will they feel part of our society and this is important for a balanced coexistence.

The Director, Michael Koch, came up with the idea for this TV film.

The biggest challenge was getting to the heart of the story. 

In future, I hope it will be shown in cinemas! Large, busy, multiplex cinemas, in spite of the pandemic and streaming services. 

I came up with the idea for this drama series… thanks to the wonderful original Norwegian series, “SKAM”, by Julie Andem. 

The biggest challenge was… as a non-religious person, emotionally grasping the protagonist’s fundamental conflict.

In future, I hope to see more BIPOCs in front of and behind the camera.

I came up with idea for this documentary when I realised that the EU’s open borders are particularly beneficial to a city like Zittau, but paradoxically, many voters are against the EU. 

The biggest challenge was fitting a complex issue and complex emotional situation into just a few minutes of broadcast time, in a fair manner.  
In future, I hope that journalism and public debate will be less heated and polemic and more fact-based. Or in the words of the Washington Post Editor-in-Chief, Marty Baron, when dealing with President Trump: “We are not at war, we are at work.”

I came up with the idea for this documentary together with my colleague Srdjan Govedarica and the team at ARD Studio Wien. During interviews, refugees repeatedly talked about the dead or sick people who were left behind.  

The biggest challenge was actually finding the dead along the Balkan route, because nobody seemed to feel responsible for them. All too often, the authorities, police and public prosecutors have no desire to deal with these complicated cases. 

In future, I hope to hand over the list of deaths we documented along the Balkan route to an organisation that will continue our work, research the often unidentified deceased and find their relatives.

I came up with the idea for this documentary-like collage when no more traces of the countless people who made global headlines in 2015 could be found in Budapest.
The biggest challenge was finding someone who works with refugees and was willing to talk to the media – people are frightened.

In future, I hope that neither coronavirus nor populist legislation will prevent people from telling us their stories.

I came up with the idea for this radio drama when I accidentally overheard a conversation between two elderly ladies, during which one of them complained about her husband’s increasing “malice”.
The biggest challenge was humorously depicting the social issues dealt with during the series - which yes, you could almost say are of national importance - in the satiric style of a folkloric play. Of course, the aim was for the people who were satirised and possible supporters of the Dresden Pegida movement to recognise themselves, while still following the plot.
In future, I hope that the increasing power of right-wing and anti-democratic forces and trends will come to an end and be pushed out.

I came up with the idea for this radio feature when I read an article about the murder of Soumayla Sacko in an Italian newspaper and began to take a greater interest in the living and working conditions of harvest workers in Italy (which are little discussed in German-language media). I spontaneously embarked upon a research trip to Calabria, after learning that the Unione sindacale di base union was planning a large demonstration in Reggio Calabria in memory of Soumayla Sacko, which I didn’t want to miss. 
The biggest challenge was travelling around Calabria as an unaccompanied journalist, especially as my topic - the ghettoisation and de facto enslavement of foreign harvest workers - is closely linked to the Calabrian mafia, N´drangheta. At the start of my trip, it was hard for me to assess who I could trust and how to approach the agricultural workers, on the street for example, without getting them into trouble. The Caporali, who belong to N´drangheta and recruit the workers, do not approve of them talking to journalists - and it was hard for me to clearly predict the consequences of an infringement of the unwritten Mafia-like laws.  

In future, I hope that Soumayla Sacko’s family will learn the truth and that justice will be done. That employment and human rights will be systematically asserted within the EU. That industrialised nations, as the perpetrators of man-made climate change, will take responsibility for the millions of climate refugees who will make their way to Europe in the coming decades, just as Soumayla Sacko did.

I came up with the idea for this documentary together with my colleague Andrea Beer and the team at ARD Studio Wien. We wanted to raise awareness of an issue that nobody appeared to be interested in at the time. 

The biggest challenge was sticking to a story during a correspondent’s fragmented daily routine, which requires a lot of patience.

In future, I hope to no longer be reporting on systematic human rights violations in the middle of Europe, because these will hopefully no longer exist.

I read an Amnesty report about the Syrian torture prison Saydnaya - one of the Assad regime's black holes, the mention of which sends shivers down the spines of Syrian friends and of which no pictures exist. I thought that an extended radio feature would be the ideal way to make this non-existent place tangible, noise for noise.

The biggest challenge was...
In terms of content: reconstructing a non-place, of which the surviving prisoners have only auditory memories. The long radio feature format proved to be ideal and a Stasi prison was a meaningful recording location.
On a personal level: after the feature was broadcast, finding out from the girlfriend of a murdered prisoner that she now has a better understanding of her boyfriend’s final weeks.

In future, I hope that those responsible for this torture in Syria will be brought to justice. Only then will victims be able to forgive and the cycle of trauma and violence that the regime deploys in its “divide and conquer” strategy can be eliminated.

Recommended posts