Irish documentary maker Niamh Heery was awarded the Grand Prize in the 2014 Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) Human Rights Film Awards this evening (Thursday 26 June 2014) for her film Harmanli: Trapped on the Fringe of Freedom, which explores the lives of asylum seekers living in the Harmanli camp in Bulgaria.
Commenting on the winning film today, Awards Jury member and Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker Pamela Yates said:
“Niamh Heery’s Harmanli: Trapped on the Fringe of Freedom celebrates the deep humanity of the asylum seekers in Harmanli, a world which for so many feels so remote. It is a worthy winner in an outstanding field of human rights documentaries”.
The Gala Screening and Awards ceremony, which took place to a full house in Screen 1 of Dublin’s Light House Cinema, saw Second Prize go to Spanish Director Nacho Gil’s A Thin Line, a poignant short film that examines the issue of homelessness on the streets of Valencia. Third place went to director Virginia Manchado for her film Modou Modou, which follows a day in the life of an African emigrant who lives and works in London as a market labourer.
ICCL Director Mr Mark Kelly said:
“The voices of displaced people ring out from the screen at this year’s ICCL Human Rights Film Awards. Whether genuinely fleeing persecution, legitimately seeking a better life than their own country can offer them or excluded in their homelands, these films confront us with the stark realities of displacement.”
For further information, please contact:
Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)
9-13 Blackhall Place
Dublin 7 Ireland
Tel. + 353 1 799 4503
Mob: +353 87 9981574
- The ICCL Human Rights Film Awards is Ireland’s only human-rights themed short film competition. Founded in 2008 by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), the competition honours the finest in human rights filmmaking by up-and-coming directors and documentarians around the world.
- This year is the sixth annual instalment of the competition. The Shortlist is made up of six short films that combine the craft of film making with human rights activism. The issues explored in these documentaries include homelessness, mental health, immigration, war, and the rights of indigenous peoples. The shortlist can be viewed online at www.humanrightsfilmawards.org
- The shortlist was screened at a Gala screening at the Light House Cinema on the evening of 26 June 2014 from 7pm, where the Jury announced the winning film, Harmanli: Trapped on the Fringe of Freedom by Niamh Heery. A photocall took place on the Light House Cinema Plaza and red carpet from 7.30pm. Awards Jury members attending included: Nicky Phelan, Senator David Norris, Brian Gleeson and documentary maker Pamela Yates.
- Stills from the films, and file shots of the filmmakers for print and broadcast can be found on the ICCL’s official FLICKR page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/63083264@N05/sets/72157645348789551/
- The Film Awards Jury comprises acclaimed filmmakers Kirsten Sheridan, Lenny Abrahamson, Conor McPherson, Rebecca Miller, Paco de Onis, Pamela Yates and Ken Wardrop; actors Brenda Fricker, Stephen Rea, Brian Gleeson and Victoria Smurfit; Senator David Norris; Grainne Humphreys, director of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival; Oscar-nominated animator Nicky Phelan and John Kelleher, former Director of IFCO.
- The shortlist was chosen by a panel of experts in human rights and the Arts, including Anthea McTiernan of the Irish Times; Alan Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of Filmbase; John Maguire, Film Critic with the Sunday Business Post; Marc O’Sullivan, Arts Editor of the Irish Examiner; Suzanne Egan of the UCD School of Law.
The 2014 ICCL Human Rights Film Awards Shortlist – available to view at www.humanrightsfilmawards.org – Details:
Food Not Fuel
Director: Alan Whelan Narrator: Aidan Gillen
Shot by filmmaker Alan Whelan, Food Not Fuel is an educational and moving short documentary on the struggles of indigenous Mayans in Guatamala, who have faced eviction and expropriation to make way for bio fuel crops. Actor Aidan Gillen meets with members of the Rio Frio community in Guatemala’s Polochic valley region, who speak emotionally about their struggle to survive and about their relationship with the land, which is central to their lives and identity. The film explores the aftermath of the seizure and exploitation of sacred ancestral Mayan lands from local people – lands now used to cultivate sugar cane to satisfy European bio fuel demands.
A Thin Line
Director: Nacho Gil Cid De Diego
Music: Miguel Gomez Ortin
Directed by Spanish filmmaker Nacho Gil, A Thin Line is a poignant short film that examines the issue of homelessness. Set to an evocative soundtrack, the film introduces people who, for various reasons, have found themselves homeless on the streets of Valencia. The film’s focus on first-hand testimony gives it a profound human dimension, articulately demonstrating the speakers’ impulse not just to survive, but to preserve their human dignity. Through their accounts, we learn that it is only a very thin line that separates all of us from marginalisation and social exclusion.
Director: Róisín Loughery
The Room subtly explores the small moments of magic that happen in the course of an art class in the Sacred Heart Hospital in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Using a ‘fly on the wall’ approach, the film is a powerful and touching portrayal of the creative experience of long stay hospital residents who have an acquired brain injury as a result of stroke, accident or conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Told through artist Tom Meskell’s own words, the film reveals the profound impact of art and creativity in the lives of the residents.
Chaja and Mimi
Director: Eric Esser
Chaja and Mimi is a charming short film that tells the story of Chaja Florentin and Mimi Frons who have been best friends for 83 years having met in kindergarten. Born and raised in Berlin, they had to escape to Palestine with their families in 1934. Chaja and Mimi chat engagingly about their complicated relationship with Germany and with Israel in a Tel Aviv café where they meet every day. By sharing photographs of pre-war Berlin, filmmaker Eric Esser elicits from these two remarkable women a fascinating insight into their attitudes to Germany, to the past, and to forgiveness. This is a tender inspirational story about survival, homeland, identity and the powerful bond of friendship.
Director: Virginia Manchado
Modou Modou is a Senegalese word for migrant people of sub-Saharan origin, who reside in Europe. Directed by Spanish filmmaker Virginia Manchado, this insightful short film follows a day in the life of an African emigrant who lives and works in London as a market labourer. Jazeem is from Senegal and works tirelessly every day to improve the life of his family back home, a family he hasn’t seen in two years. The documentary starkly shows the reality of life for Jazeem as he struggles with loneliness, exhaustion and the disappointment of London life.
Harmanli: Trapped on the Fringe of Freedom
Director: Niamh Heery
Harmanli: Trapped on the Fringe of Freedom sees Irish documentary maker Niamh Heery explore life for asylum seekers inside the Harmanli camp in south-eastern Bulgaria. The camp houses over one thousand people many of whom claim to be Syrians fleeing conflict in their home country and seeking refugee status in Europe. Harmanli was established in a disused military base in order to cope with the high numbers of asylum seekers crossing into Bulgaria from Turkey, and accommodates women, men and children.