Winners and Finalists:

Rory Peck Award

For News

Name: Kazbek Basayev (Winner)
Nationality: Russian
Entry Title: South Ossetia war
Location and date: South Ossetia, Georgia, August 2008
Commissioned / Broadcast: Reuters Video News

Kazbek Basayev shot the Russia-Georgia conflict from the South Ossetia side, reaching its capital Tskhinvali with the first wave of Russian troops.  His pictures show the human casualties of war – the dead and injured, shocked and displaced survivors in devastated streets – and they provided the first coverage of burning Georgian villages in territory taken under Russian/Ossetian control. 

Kazbek continues to work as a freelance filmmaker and producer for Reuters.


Name: Mahmoud El Ajrami
Nationality: Palestinian
Entry Title: Beth Lahia School
Location and Date: Gaza, January 2009
Commissioned / Broadcast: Self funded/Broadcast internationally

Mahmoud El Ajrami’s footage shows the panic and distress at the UN-run school at Beth Lahia in Gaza when it is hit by white phosphorous shells.  Mahmoud reached the school, where civilians were sheltering, whilst the attack was still going on. He witnessed shells landing in the central courtyard as emergency crews struggled to extinguish the flames and lead people to safety. In a separate sequence filmed a few days earlier, Mahmoud captured the terrifying image of a tank shell being fired along an alley-way almost directly towards his camera. 

Mahmoud El Ajrami is a freelance cameraman who has been working as a journalist in Palestine since 1996. He has worked for a number of major international news organisations, including the BBC.

Name: John D McHugh
Nationality: Irish
Entry Title: Combat Outpost
Location and Date: Afghanistan, October 2008
Commissioned / Broadcast: Guardian Films/ITN / ITV News
This film was shot over a four-week period at one of the US military’s most dangerous outposts. On the first morning John was there, the base came under sustained attack from Taliban fighters, who were using not only small arms fire but rockets and heavy machine guns. With the only road to the base heavily mined, everyone in it was effectively cut-off. Helicopters were relied on for supplies and to take out the wounded.

John D. McHugh is a multimedia journalist and filmmaker based in the UK. You can visit his website here.


Rory Peck Award

    For Features

Name: 'Z' and 'T'  (Winners)
Nationality: Burmese
Entry Title: Orphans of Burma's Cyclone
Location and Date: Union of Myanmar/Burma, May 2008 - March 2009
Commissioned / Broadcast: Quicksilver Media for Channel 4 Dispatches


This story was filmed secretly by two (unidentified) Burmese cameramen who risked an instant 30-year jail sentence if caught. It reveals for the first time what day-to-day life is like for the orphaned child survivors of Cyclone Nargis, following several traumatised children as they try to survive in their devastated villages.

To tell their story, “Z” & “T” revisited the same children over the course of a year, dramatically increasing the possibility of detection by local military authorities.  Six months after filming the documentary, T was arrested and after four months in jail, he was told he would be charged with a new offence of filming without government permission. He has since been released. 

Image: DVB's Myo Min Naing collects the award on behalf of 'Z' and 'T'. 


Name: David Niblock
Nationality: Irish
Entry Title: Congo's Forgotten Children
Location and Date: DRC, November - December 2008
Commissioned / Broadcast: Blakeway for Channel 4 Dispatches

This film examines how Congolese children are affected by the conflict that has raged in their country for the last 12 years. It reveals that more than three million children have died as a result. Niblock and the production team were the only journalists to reach the town of Kanyabayonga where children describe how they hid in dense forest to escape the fighting.  Separated from their parents, without shelter, clean water and little food, many fell ill and died.
David Niblock has worked as a documentary filmmaker for the past twenty years. You can visit his website here.


Name: Mehran Bozorgnia
Nationality: German
Entry Title: Afghan Life Crumbles Despite Foreign Aid
Location and Date: Afghanistan, October - December 2008
Commissioned / Broadcast: ITN/Channel 4 News Independent Fund
Mehran's film gives an extraordinary account of life for ordinary Afghans 7 years after NATO first entered the country. It includes a heart-breaking scene of one family forced to sell their child for money in order to survive the winter. It also shows how, amidst the poverty and lawlessness, local Taliban leaders have now stepped into the power vacuum. Mehran also managed to penetrate a group of kidnappers in the business of snatching and holding wealthy children.

Mehran Bozorgnia is a freelance filmmaker who has worked extensively in the Middle East, Central and Southern Europe over the past thirty years. He has been nominated for the Rory Peck Awards a number of times.


Sony Professional

Impact Award


Name: Joost Van Der Valk (Winner)
Nationality: Dutch
Entry Title: Saving Africa’s Witch Children
Location and Date: Nigeria, February and May 2008
Commissioned / Broadcast: Red Rebel Films / Oxford Scientific Films for Channel 4 Dispatches

In some of the poorest parts of Nigeria, where evangelical religious fervour is combined with a belief in sorcery and black magic, many thousands of children are blamed for catastrophes, death and famine - and branded witches. They are abandoned, tortured, starved and sometimes murdered. This film follows the work of 29-year-old Englishman, Gary Foxcroft, who has devoted his life to helping these vulnerable and desperate children.

Joost is the managing director of Red Rebel Films, for which he has produced a number of documentary films. You can visit the website for Red Rebel Films here.


Name: Jamal Osman
Nationality: Somali
Entry Title: World Food Programme
Location and Date: Somalia and Kenya, April-June 2009
Commissioned / Broadcast: SMI Productions for ITN / Channel 4 News Independent Fund

The head of the United Nations aid operation in Somalia launched an inquiry after this film revealed wholesale corruption in its aid operations.  It exposes food theft on a massive scale, refugees forced to pay for aid at gunpoint and a network of corrupt businessmen profiteering from the country’s suffering. Jamal also captures images of refugees preparing boiled leaves - their only source of food in the camps.


Jamal Osman is a British-based Somali journalist whose work primarily focuses on African issues. He works with ITN/Channel 4 News. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Name: Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
Nationality: American
Entry Title: China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province
Location and Date: China, May-June 2008
Commissioned / Broadcast: DCTV for HBO

Alpert and O’Neill’s film looks at the devastating aftermath of the 2008 earthquake in central China that killed nearly 70,000 people, many of them children crushed beneath the rubble of collapsed school buildings.  The filmmakers follow a group of grieving parents in the days and weeks following the disaster, as they come to terms with their loss and challenge government officials to explain the shoddy construction of the schools. In a scene which has become famous throughout China, the film shows a local party official on his knees begging the parents to halt their protest march.


Jon Alpert is an American documentary maker who has been producing films since 1980. His most recent film, Redemption, was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Documentary.

Matthew O’Neill is an American documentary maker and founder of the Downtown Community Television Center in New York. He has worked with Jon Alpert on several award winning documentary films, including Redemption.

Martin Adler Prize

Awarded jointly to three Gazan freelancers in recognition of the enormous role
they played getting stories out of the region during the 2009 Israeli offensive.

Talal Abu Rama
Freelance reporter, producer & cameraman, Gaza

Talal has been a freelance cameraman, field producer and reporter for many years, working regularly for CNN and France 2. Talal was the first ever winner of the Sony International Impact Award at the Rory Peck Awards in 2001. During the 2009 Israeli offensive, after securing the safety of his own family, he dedicated himself to reporting and shooting pictures from the Gaza Strip.

Raed Athemneh
Freelance fixer, driver & field producer, Gaza

Raed Athemneh has worked alongside many freelancers and international news crews, including the BBC, ARD and Al Jazeera English, covering breaking news and investigative features in the Gaza Strip for the past seven years. The stories he has helped to produce have been broadcast internationally and have made the front pages of the New York Times and International Herald Tribune.

Ashraf Mashhawari
Freelance cameraman, producer & director, Gaza

Ashraf worked for Channel 4 News inside Gaza as the Israeli Defence force first bombed and then invaded the strip in December 2008 and January 2009.