Voice of America’s documentaries won six awards at the 2022 New York Film and Television Festivals, the most awards VOA has received from that organization to date.
VOA Senior Executive Producer Euna Lee, Producer Lauren Kawana and Video Editor JP Dobrin won a silver award in the Community Portraits documentary category for “Shelter on the Line”, a visually compelling story illustrating the tremendous resilience of 211 operators in the San Francisco Bay Area who are doing everything in their power to connect callers to social services such as food programs, financial assistance and housing.
VOA correspondent Heather Murdock won a silver award in the Current Affairs Documentary category for “Terror in Tigray: The Ethiopian Refugee Crisis.” The film examines population displacements in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Murdock traveled to the largely isolated conflict zone, as well as to refugee camps in neighboring Sudan, to tell the story of a complex political situation and growing humanitarian catastrophe.
Another VOA film about the plight of refugees, “VOA Unpacked: Life as a Refugee” also won silver in the Social Issues Documentary category. This animated film examines where refugees come from, the challenges they face and the paths they take to seek asylum.
VOA won bronze awards in the Social Issues Documentary category for “Breaking a Taboo: A Muay Thai Fighter in Afghanistan,” a thirteen and a half minute short film telling the story of Shukria Bahmani, an Afghan Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) fighter; in the Climate Change and Sustainability Documentary category for “Taking the Storm: The Climate Crisis in Coastal Louisiana”, about how climate change is wreaking havoc on the coasts of southern Louisiana, where residents wonder how long their resilience can last as the problems can seem overwhelming; and in the Political Documentary category for “Without women” 30-minute film from VOA Persian that examines how Iranian “politicians” have excluded women from meaningful political participation for decades since the 1979 revolution.
In addition to the six award-winning documentaries, the New York Festivals recognized four other VOA stories as finalists.
“I’m so proud that so many of VOA’s powerful stories have received votes from the New York Festival Grand Jury members,” said Acting VOA Director Yolanda López. “Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you to the New York Festival for recognizing VOA journalists as they cover the plight of refugees, women and everyday heroes, while highlighting critical issues for our audience. global.”