Finalist, Rory Peck Award for News

Will Vassilopoulos (Greek)

October 2015 – March 2016, Greece

Fear and Desperation: Refugees and Migrants Pour into Greece

Broadcast by Agence France-Presse

Since 2015, Greece has become one of the main entry points into Europe for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war, poverty and persecution. Will’s footage shows desperate migrants and refugees arriving in the country from Turkey, having crossed the Aegean Sea in overcrowded, rickety boats and rubber dinghies - and their rescue from open water in the middle of the night.

His entry is focuses on the island of Lesbos, which has seen the highest number of arrivals, and on the makeshift, sprawling Idomeni camp on Greece’s northern border with Macedonia which became a flashpoint in the migrant crisis. 

 

BIOGRAPHY:

Will received his Masters in Exercise Physiology in England, but it was journalism that stole his heart. He started his career in text for Japanese news agency Kyodo News before becoming a news anchor at Greece’s state broadcaster ERT.

In 2011, Agence France-Presse financed a training course for Will to learn how to film. He has freelanced for them ever since as a video journalist, covering topics such as Greece’s economic crisis, political unrest in Egypt and Turkey, the conflict in Ukraine and most recently the migration crisis in Europe.

 

Judges Comments

"Images from the Med have become so familiar there’s a danger of image fatigue, but these stood out. Will held his shots, let them breathe and evolve, leaving his sequences long so you really got the arc of the story.

His eye for detail – a child getting their foot stuck in the mud, the warming of a frozen man with a hairdryer, the shot of a body bag being taken out of its wrapper – added an extra richness. It brought the humanity of it home so much. It’s difficult to do something exceptional when everyone is shooting it, however tragic and important the story is, and Will really managed that."