FIJI: Fiji Islands and UK share film prize

James Bhagwan from the Fiji Islands and David Storr of the United Kingdom were awarded joint first prize in the 2003 Commonwealth Vision Awards

Pacific Media Watch
Thursday, December 11, 2003

LONDON (CNIS/Pacific Media Watch): James Bhagwan from the Fiji Islands and David Storr of the United Kingdom were awarded joint first prize in the 2003 Commonwealth Vision Awards today at a ceremony in London.

BBC World News presenter Keshini Navaratnam presented the awards.

James Bhagwan's entry, The Tree of Freedom, uses a coconut tree and coconut to symbolise political freedom and freedom of religion. Bhagwan, of Guerilla Media, has a background in the performing arts and has produced films for Fiji Television Ltd.

David Storr's entry, Signs of Freedom, expresses through the use of placards the values that contribute to a free, democratic society. He has worked in broadcast television graphics for a number of years. He won Gold at the Nike Young Director of the Year Awards (for short film) in 2002 and joint first prize for the MTV 'Need to Talk' competition (for short film) in June 2003.

Ansurie Singh of South Africa received the Highly Commended Award. Her entry depicts children telling of their aspirations for the future. The realities of AIDS and violence are alluded to, but the film ends positively with a child saying "I want to be ... free".

Singh has a background in producing programmes for the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Tim Clague and Kim Rogers of the UK received a Special Award for Innovation. Their entry, The Weight of a Wall, is an animated, dialogue-free film in which the protagonist is trapped in a brick cell. It illustrates that only with the help of others, can she achieve freedom. The pair are involved with Projector Films, a UK-based production company. Clague is a BAFTA nominated writer/director.

The seven other runners-up come from Canada, Fiji, India, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Tonga.

The Commonwealth Vision Awards were launched by former Commonwealth Secretary-General Chief Emeka Anyaoku and British television presenter Sir Trevor McDonald in May 2001. The Awards seek to promote excellence in film-making, attracting entrants from around the Commonwealth. Shortlisted entrants in 2003 were commissioned to make a short 'advertisement' on the theme for Commonwealth Day 2004, Building a Commonwealth of Freedom.

The Awards are an initiative of the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat, the BBC World Service, the British Council, the Commonwealth Foundation and the UK Government.

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