Posted on 11/11/2016
Iris Zaki and the Grierson Award for Best Student Documentary
PhD student Iris Zaki in the Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London has been recognised as one of the best up-and-coming documentary makers in the UK at the Grierson Awards in London.
Iris won the Sky Atlantic Best Student Documentary category of The Grierson Trust’s 2016 Awards. Her film, Women in Sink, uses an innovative technique of her own devising, which she has named ‘the abandoned camera’, that allows her to film open conversations within closed communities.
Personal stories shared over shampoo
Working in hair salon owned by a Christian Arab in Haifa, Israel, Iris installed a camera over a basin and chatted to clients about topics including Israeli history, politics, life and love as she was shampooing their hair.
The Grierson trust describes her film as painting “an unexpected choral portrait of this space that provides temporary freedom, where Arab and Jewish women share their differences and a community of views on politics, history and love.”
Most Innovative Film
In 2015 Women in Sink won the Most Innovative Film award in The International Mid-Length Film competition at Visions du Reel film festival in Nyon, Switzerland.
Established in 1972, the Griersons are the biggest event in the UK documentary calendar. The awards recognise and celebrate documentaries from Britain and abroad that have made a significant contribution to the genre and that demonstrate quality, integrity, creativity, originality and overall excellence.
Iris was recognised alongside winners including the BBC, Channel 4 and Louis Theroux who picked up the BBC Grierson Trustees' Award. Lorraine Heggessey, the chair of The Grierson Trust, said of the winners: “These winning films demonstrate the vibrant and innovative ways in which the U.K. documentary industry is the world leader and they give such optimism for the future of the genre. From the provocative to the heartwarming, the funny to the simply astonishing, our award winners deserve the accolade and recognition a Grierson bestows upon them. Huge congratulations to them all.”
One of 12 awards for 'Women in Sink'
Commenting on the win, Iris’s PhD supervisor, Professor John Ellis said “For Women in Sink to win the Grierson is a double honour for Iris. Not only is it the most prestigious of the 12 awards won by her film, but John Grierson’s writing on documentary has also been a key source for her creative practice-based PhD research here at Royal Holloway.”
Watch a short clip of the documentary or read more about Iris’ process and experience of filming Women in Sink.