Nigeria documentary by Creative earns 4 prestigious video awards
Production focused on community led peacebuilding efforts as part of the USAID/OTI-supported Nigeria Lake Chad Basin/Nigeria Early Recovery Initiative
By Michael J. Zamba
A documentary about communities working to resolve conflict in Nigeria’s Middle Belt states won four Telly Awards in May, generating a total 11 honors in three different contests for the production.
“Seeking Peace Amid Complex Conflicts: Nigeria’s Peacemakers are Planting Seeds of Hope in the Middle Belt” earned two Silver Awards and two Bronze Awards in the category of Branded Content from the Telly Awards, which annually showcases the best work created within television and across video for all screens. Winners were announced May 24 in New York City.
Produced by Creative Associates International on behalf of USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, the 40-minute documentary explores how communities are working to reduce conflict, improve resilience and establish mechanisms to promote stability. It draws on the groundbreaking work by the USAID/OTI-funded Nigeria Lake Chad Basin/Nigeria Early Recovery Initiative in Kaduna and Plateau states.
“Creative’s Seeking Peace Amid Complex Conflicts documentary is the end-product of a year-long and conscious effort by the USAID/OTI Nigeria program to improve the way it remotely monitored activities implemented in a complex and fluid environment like Nigeria’s Middle Belt, particularly using short videos as a learning and communication tool,” says Olivier Girard, former Chief of Party of the Nigeria Lake Chad Basin/Nigeria Early Recovery Initiative, known locally as NERI.
Prior to the 40-minute documentary, Girard formed a local two-person field production unit that reported on community focused and led activities supported by the USAID/OTI Nigeria program. These locally produced short videos raised awareness among stakeholders of the program’s successes and advances. Ultimately, this set the foundation for the documentary.
Despite the success of these short videos and the comprehensive documentary, Girard says that “video remains underutilized as a reporting tool in the development industry.” He is now applying those lessons to a new USAID/OTI-supported program called Littoral Regional Initiative, which focuses on West African coastal countries.
The 40-minute documentary’s two Telly Silver Awards are for “Brand Content Craft – Writing” and “Branded Content Craft – Directing,” both of which were led by Michael J. Zamba, Creative’s Senior Director of Communications. It earned a Bronze Award for “Brand Content Craft – Videography/Cinematography,” which was led by Jim Huylebroek, with supplemental footage and interviews from Solomon Kyari and Peter Kundum. The documentary was awarded a Bronze for “Brand Content General – Social Responsibility.”
Filmed primarily in May and June 2021, with postproduction during the summer, the documentary is the culmination of efforts by program staff, USAID and contributors, including Andy Hopper as the video editor. Hopper has worked as a video editor on other Creative-led productions.
Across a broad number of categories, the Telly Awards generate entries from a variety of broadcasters (such as CNN and Al Jazeera), socially minded organizations and documentary filmmakers like Ken Burns.
The Telly Awards were founded in 1979 to honor excellence in local, regional and cable television commercials with non-broadcast video and television programming added soon after. Receiving over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents, Telly Award winners represent work from some of the most respected advertising agencies, television stations, production companies and publishers from around the world.
Earlier, “Seeking Peace Amid Complex Conflicts: Nigeria’s Peacemakers are Planting Seeds of Hope in the Middle Belt” earned five Viddy Awards, including two Platinum as a documentary and a Gold for script writing, which is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals. Winners were announced Nov. 4, 2021.
Separately, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences recognized the 40-minute documentary with two Silver trophies in its annual Anthem Awards. It won in two categories: “Humanitarian Action & Services – Partnership or Collaboration”; and “Humanitarian Action & Services – Special Projects.”