The best of international investigative journalism at the DIG Awards. 15 finalists, 15 investigations and reportages from all around the world

The nominees for the investigative video journalism international contest have been announced. The winners will be presented during the DIG Festival, taking place in Riccione from June 23rd to June 25th

The DIG Awards for investigative video journalism is getting to the heart of the competition! The international attendance has been excellent with more than 220 works submitted from 22 countries all around the world: not only Europe, but also Australia, USA, Canada, Brazil, Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Central Africa, Syria, Yemen, China, Mexico, Philippines and more. Brilliant and high quality works, covering a great range of topics: from migration to Middle East wars, from ISIS to mafias, from drug trade to corruption. A significant variety also mirrored in the shortlist of the nominees to the final round: 15 investigation and reportage works divided in five categories. And the winners will be announced during the DIG Festival taking place in Riccione from June 23rd to June 25th.

In the Investigative Long section (no more than 90 minutes length), the challenge will be among three international productions: all of them are portraits of controversial characters in the spotlight for different reasons. Being a whistleblower by Benoît Bringer, reporter from France 2, is an investigation on the dramatic story of Raphaël Halet, key figure of the LuxLeaks scandal. The filmmaker Nanfu Wang is also among the finalists with Hooligan Sparrow, a documentary produced by the American network PBS. This work narrates the life of the Chinese activist Ye Haiyan, persecuted by the Beijing regime for her commitment in defence of women and children’s rights. The third finalist is Bjørn Olav Nordahl, from the Norwegian broadcaster NRK1, who presents The money preacher, an investigation on the ambiguous video-preacher Jan Hanvold.

Two Egyptian works and a Swedish one for the Investigative Medium section (up to a maximum of 27 minutes). Ahmed Elshamy, with Behind the Doors of Silence (ARIJ), breaks the silence on domestic violence and abuses in his country. Saada Abd Elkader, with Upside Down (Deutsche Welle) focuses on the outcome of the Arab uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. The third work that has reached the final is an investigation co-written by two Swedish journalists, Marja Grill and Carolina Jemsby: their work The Art of Stealing Without Getting Caught (SVT) unveils the system of scams and deception in Sweden to the detriment of the Swedish welfare.

The section Reportage Long sees finalists from three different continents. The French reporter Marjolaine Grappe turns the spotlight on the women’s resistance against Beijing’s regime. In her work China, in the Mood for Life, three Chinese women stand up against sterilizations and forced abortions due to Chinese birth-control policies. The documentary Dönüş-Retour, by Valeria Mazzucchi, depicts the latest weeks in Istanbul of Jérôme Bastion, a long standing Radio France’s correspondent from Turkey who left the country and gave up with journalism after the Erdoğan’s authoritarian drift. The last finalist of this section is the American filmmaker Craig Atkinson who presents Do Not Resist, a journey throughout South Carolina to reveal abuses and violence of the police in the United States.

Violence in the USA is also at the centre of one of the selected works for the category Reportage Medium. Eighteen years after the photo-reportage Gun Nation which made him famous, the British photo-reporter Zed Nelson comes back to the places of his masterpiece. He now presents a documentary — for The Guardian online — of the same name of his photo-reportage where he depicts the American gun culture. The third finalist is an Italian work, Hitler’s drug, by Pablo Trincia and Sacha Biazzo for the Fanpage series ToxiCity. The reportage looks into the spread of methamphetamine between the Czech Republic and Germany as it happened among the Nazi soldiers during the WWII.

Sacha Biazzo and Fanpage are also among the finalists in the section Short (less the 12 minutes long videos): The Old Pope — Il caso provolo is an investigation on paedophilic priests in an institute for deaf-mute people. Also Duterte’s war on drugs made it to the final stage of the competition: Filippine, la mattanza dei drogati by Ane Irazabal and Cosimo Caridi for the Rai 2 tv programme “Nemo — Nessuno escluso” focuses on the Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s policy against drug dealers in his country and the huge number of deaths it has already caused so far. The Iraqi journalist Asaad Zalzali is the third finalist of this category with Project no. 1 (ARJI/ Deutsche Welle), an inquiry on the corruption in Iraq that has deprived 200 billions dollars from the most important reconstruction plan of the country: the building of 1700 new schools.

There is one section left: the DIG Pitch, reserved for investigation/reportage video projects in progress or pre-production. The finalists will be announced in the coming weeks and the winner will be awarded €20,000 for the completion of the video project submitted.

The selection of the finalists and the winners has been appointed to an international Jury, chaired by Jeremy Scahill, US investigative reporter, twice winner of the prestigious George Polk award. The other members of the jury are the best of investigative journalism from all around Europe: Alexandre Brachet (Upian), Riccardo Chiattelli (laeffe), Pino Corrias (Rai), Corrado Formigli (La7), John Goetz (NDR/Süddeutsche Zeitung), Morten Møller Warmedal (NRK), Marco Nassivera (arte), Alberto Nerazzini (Dersu), Maggie O’Kane (The Guardian), Hans Peterson Hammer (SVT), Andrea Scrosati (Sky Italia) e Margo Smit (NOS)