Scot Wins Human Rights Award

Christian Media Associations Confer Joint Prize

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By Will Taylor

BUCHAREST, Romania, DEC. 3, 2007 (Zenit.org).- A Scottish filmmaker won the first human rights award bestowed by two Christian media organizations for his documentary on the massacre of a group of indigenous in Mexico.

The World Catholic Association for Communication (SIGNIS), and the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), conferred the Human Rights Award for the Best Documentary Film in 2007 on Nick Higgins for his documentary "A Massacre Foretold."

Responding to the news on his Web site, Higgins said, "It is extremely gratifying to be recognized in this way by two such prestigious international organizations so active in the world of cinema."

The film was originally screened in July in Edinburgh during the SIGNIS/ WACC Interfilm Conference on "Peacemaking in the World of Film," and the two media associations awarded the prize jointly during the SIGNIS board meeting in Bucharest in November.

This is the first time that a joint award has been conferred by the two organizations for the best human rights documentary. 

Asked about the decision, Father Peter Malone of the SIGNIS cinema desk said "a number of films were screened [...] -- including 'A Massacre Foretold' -- and it was so strong that our committee decided it was the clear winner."

The award-winning documentary depicts the events which led to the 1997 murder of 45 unarmed Mayans in a small southern Mexican village of Acteal.

Regarding the human rights award, Father Malone said that it began when he saw the need for the development of a new category for documentaries on the topic.

As of yet, he explained, SIGNIS doesn't have a system of nominations for films, but rather "a jury that's on the lookout for a film generally seen in a context of a human rights situation."

The next SIGNIS/WACC human rights award will be presented during the 2008 WACC Congress "Communication Is Peace: Building Viable Communities," that will be held Oct. 6-10 in Cape Town, South Africa.