Voice of America documentaries won six awards at the 2022 New York Festivals for TV and Film, the highest number of awards VOA has received from this 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 depicting the formidable resilience of 211 operators of the San Francisco Bay Area that do everything in their power to connect callers to social services like 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 displacement in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Murdock traveled to the largely cut-off conflict zone, as well as refugee camps in neighboring Sudan, to bring the story of a complex political situation and the growing humanitarian disaster.
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 travel 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 relaying the story of Shukria Bahmani, a Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) fighter from Afghanistan; in the Climate-Change and Sustainability Documentary category for “Weathering the Storm: The Climate Crisis in Coastal Louisiana,” about how climate change wreaks havoc on the shores of southern Louisiana, where residents wonder how long their resilience can last as the problems can seem insurmountable; and in the Politics Documentary category for “Without Women,” VOA Persian’s 30-minute film that examines how Iran’s “political men" 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 more VOA stories as finalists.
“I am so proud that so many of VOA’s powerful stories received the votes of the New York Festivals grand jury members,” said Acting VOA Director Yolanda López. “Congratulations to all 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 shedding light to critical issues for our global audience.”