The documentary film "Exit Afghanistan" wins the award for best TV documentary under Prix Italia.
In Torino Italy, the entire NRK team is in place. Thursday evening is the distribution and reception of directors Olav Njaastad (also Project Manager), Klaus Erik Okstad, Anders Sømmer Hammer, and Marius Arnesen. Film editor Svein Olav Sandem and Editor in Chief for the NRK’s Documentary dept, Morten Møller Warmedal is also present in Torino.
- It is a fantastic recognition for us. It proves that Norwegian delivers at the top level in the world. Prix Italia is considered an unofficial world championship for public broadcasting, so I'm incredibly proud, says Warmedal.
Prix Italia is one of the oldest and most recognized competitions for radio, TV and online, and was first held in 1948, over 90 broadcasters from around the world participate this year.
A difficult process
"Exit Afghanistan" was a pure NRK production and was broadcasted last spring over four episodes, but there was no guarantee that the documentary series would actually become a reality.
- We started working on the idea for the documentary three years ago. We had to get permission from the Army and the Afghan Ministry of Defense to shoot. It took nine months to get permission from the military. It was not easy to get permission from the Afghans. There was a lot of texting with the Afghan ambassador in Oslo, which helped us to accommodate a permit from the Department of Defense in Afghanistan, says project manager Olav Njaastad.
An international version
For the documentary series to be shown to the jury of the Prix Italia, NRK submitted a separate international version.
“We accept the award tonight for a movie based on the documentary series. The film is a compact version where we focus mostly on the situation in Afghanistan, after our military forces has left. We quickly saw that there was enough material here for an international version.
The film is very current and goes right into today's international political situation. Usually, this type of social documentary has a lot of narration. Our film has no commentary, but is character driven and with scenes that are self-explanatory.”
- How important was it to get to make "Exit Afghanistan"?
- It was incredibly important. Still exiting Afghanistan is still a major global political issue that creates much debate. Our aim was to describe what happened before and after extraction, and I'm glad that NRK allows us to make this type of complicated documentary projects, he adds.