The documentary ‘Rebuilding Sichuan’ scooped the top prize in the first International Awards for the Best TV Documentaries on Disaster Risk Reduction.
Producer Sen Zhang collected the award for the film, broadcast on Discovery Channel, for story of the massive reconstruction effort after the huge earthquake of 2008.
In one scene a resolute official is featured pledging “the earthquake resistance of the buildings must be strengthened” before a huge redevelopment model. “I knew there are three nominated films. I admire them, but hoped we would eventually win the award. I was confident and full of expectation. We finally won. I am excited, very excited,” Mr Zhang said.
The special awards ceremony at the Third World UN Conference on Disaster risk Reduction also saw prizes in three other categories.
‘The Kamaishi Miracle’, by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), won the Best Human Story Category. It recounted how 184 students from a school survived the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Senior Producer Ms Kazuyo Fukuda said: “It is a great privilege to be here and to share this great honour with the students and teachers of the school.”
‘It’s Time’ by GMA Network Philippines and BBC’s Panorama ‘Britain Underwater’ shared the Best Investigative Story. ‘It’s Time’ profiles the frenetic pace of modern life and asks “could nature itself be up against a deadline” to highlight the over-consumption of the planet’s natural resources. ‘Britain Underwater’ chronicles the struggles of people during the UK’s worst flooding in recent memory.
‘Vets in the Disaster Zone’ by Dragonfly Film and Television Productions won the Most Innovative Documentary category. In one scene from the film, Philippines farmers corral pigs to safety as the narrator intones: “Moving animals quickly and calmly in a disaster is vital if you want them to survive.”
The new DRR film awards honour filmmakers, producers and broadcasters who make documentaries that can help protect vulnerable communities from future disaster risk.
Host of the ceremony, international broadcaster Ms Veronica Pedrosa, said: “This year’s awards reveal a truly global picture of disaster reduction efforts – from flooding in Pakistan and Great Britain to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the communities in Japan in 2011.”
The three jury members were Bettina Brinkmann from European Broadcasting Union (EBU); Natalia Ilieva from Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU); and Brigitte Leoni from UNISDR. The jury shortlisted 12 documentaries from almost 100 entries broadcast on television since 2005.