Sasha Joelle Achilli

Winner of the 2020 Sony Impact Award for Current Affairs

Italy’s Frontline: A Doctor’s Diary
Commissioned by BBC Two / PBS Frontline
Watch the full film here

Entry details.

This film gives an unprecedented insight into three months of life on the COVID frontline with A&E doctor Francesca Mangiatordi. In the early days of the outbreak, as the hospital is overflowing, Francesca works grueling 12-hour shifts caring for the vulnerable who have been most affected by COVID-19. Due to a lack of life-saving equipment, she faces the traumatising task of prioritising which lives to try to save. There are not enough beds for everyone. One by one, Francesca’s colleagues at the hospital succumb to the virus. One of her closest friends, Dr. Laura Bocchi, starts to experience symptoms on the A&E ward and is forced to quarantine after testing positive. She must isolate alone, communicating with her son and husband from behind a glass door. Her medical knowledge – and what she has witnessed treating patients – only make her more fearful about the course the illness might take in her own body.

Watch the full piece here.


Sasha Joelle Achilli is an Italian/Australian Emmy, BAFTA and DuPont award-winning documentary filmmaker specialising in international current affairs. Sasha has spent her career getting at the heart of difficult stories in some of the most remote parts of Africa and the Middle East. She has investigated war crimes in Syria, produced the critically acclaimed film Outbreak about the Ebola crisis in West Africa, and investigated the terrorist attack in Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, gaining exclusive access to the CCTV footage and victims of the attack. More recently, she directed and produced Murdered for Love, Samia Shahid and Shadow Commander: Iran’s Military Mastermind for critically acclaimed BBC Two strand This World. Sasha also directed a film about the only free ambulance service operating in Mogadishu during the aftermath of a twin suicide bombing.

Read Lauren Gill and Victoria Cagol’s profile on Sasha here.

Judges comments.

“Gripping story-telling. A powerful tale of love, family and professional dedication, recording an ongoing historical moment with so much precision, empathy and sensitivity.”

Sony Impact Award for Current Affairs Jury