The India-Bangladesh co-produced documentary film ‘Goni’ wins in Global Voices category in prestigious Jackson Wild Festival 2023.
With a staggering 1,100 entries from 74 different countries, the 2023 submissions underwent rigorous assessment by over 200 international judges, who collectively screened over 1,200 hours of media.
'Goni', directed by Malaika Vaz, emerged as a standout entry, delving into the lives of Bangladeshi migrants employed in the Middle East's construction industry. The film also provides unprecedented underground coverage of the living conditions of migrants in Qatar, alongside footage from the FIFA 2022 World Cup in the same country.
Behind this captivating and thought-provoking production are Drik’s Managing Director and National Geographic Explorer at Large, Shahidul Alam, and National Geographic Explorer Malaika Vaz.
The documentary's exceptional storytelling, breathtaking cinematography, and its crucial role in shedding light on the challenges faced by migrant workers earned it this prestigious accolade.
Expressing his gratitude, Shahidul Alam, co-executive producer and Managing Director of Drik, stated, "We are deeply honoured to receive this award at the Jackson Wild Media Awards. ‘Goni’ represents the hard work, dedication, and passion of our talented team who have tirelessly strived to create a film that not only entertains but also educates and inspires viewers about the plight of migrant workers, a mainstay of the Bangladesh economy. This recognition serves as a reminder of our responsibility to ensure the rights of the millions of workers who take great risks and endure inhuman conditions to send remittance home."
The inception of the film began in December 2021 in Qatar, with initial research followed by extensive filming in Bangladesh. Untamed Planet joined the project in July 2022, contributing further footage from both Bangladesh and Qatar. 'Goni' unfolds through the lens of Abdul Goni, a former migrant worker who has transitioned into a photojournalist at the Daily Ittefaq.
This award-winning documentary not only encapsulates the trials and tribulations of migrant workers but also stands as a powerful call to action for a more compassionate and equitable treatment of this vital workforce. 'Goni' serves as a testament to the collaborative efforts of its creators and the urgent need to amplify the voices of those often unheard.