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Channel 4, ITV and ITN films dominate Rory Peck shortlist

By Nneka Opara

Freelance broadcast journalists covering Afghanistan, Congo, Burma, South Ossetia and Gaza have been selected for this year’s Rory Peck Awards.

The shortlist for this year’s prize, which celebrates the work of freelance journalists in conflict zones across the world, is dominated by films created for broadcast on Channel 4 and ITV News.

In the news category, Kazbek Basayev’s film for Reuters on the human casualties of the conflict in South Ossieta is up against a film by John McHugh on Afghanistan, which was commissioned by Guardian Films and broadcast by ITV News.

Mahmoud El Ajrami’s film on the Beth Lahia School attack in Gaza, which was self funded and broadcast internationally, has also been nominated in this category.

Children are a common theme in the features category. Mehran Bozorgnia’s film on the daily life of Afghans in the wake of NATO’s arrival, which was commissioned by ITN and Channel 4 News, has been nominated alongside David Niblock’s film, Congo’s Forgotten Children, which was made for Channel 4’s Dispatches programme.

The third nomination in the features category, a piece shot by filmmakers referred to as “Z” and “T”, detailed the stories those orphaned by Burma’s Cyclone. The film was made by Quicksilver Media for Channel 4’s Dispatches programme.

American’s Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill have been nominated for the Professional Impact Award for their film, China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province, which was broadcast on HBO.

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Also nominated in this category is Somali Jamal Osman for his film on the World Food Programme in Somalia and Kenya, which was made by SMI Productions for ITN and Channel 4 News.

The third nomination for the Impact Award is Joost Van Der Valk for his film, Saving Africa’s Witch Children, made by Red Rebel Films for Channel 4 Dispatches.

The Rory Peck Trust was set up in 1995 to provide financial support to freelance news gatherers worldwide and the families of those who are killed, seriously injured or suffer persecution whilst doing their work.

The awards were created in memory of cameraman Rory Peck who was killed while covering the October coup outside Moscow’s television centre, Ostankino, in October 1993.

Winners will be announced on 19 November at a ceremony held at the British Film Institute in London.

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