We use cookies on this site. By browsing our site you agree to our use of cookies. Close this message Find out more

Home > About us home > News and events > News > Media Arts PhD student wins major documentary prize
More in this section 2016

Media Arts PhD student wins major documentary prize

Posted on 11/11/2016
Iris Zaki with Grierson Award

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.


Comment on this page

Did you find the information you were looking for? Is there a broken link or content that needs updating? Let us know so we can improve the page.

Note: If you need further information or have a question that cannot be satisfied by this page, please call our switchboard on +44 (0)1784 434455.

This window will close when you submit your comment.

Add Your Feedback