Hivos award goes to Iranian filmmakers’ collective

In Amsterdam yesterday, human rights ambassador Lionel Veer awarded the Hivos Cinema Unlimited Award to Silent Collective, a group of young Iranian filmmakers. The award ceremony took place in the Tuschinski Cinema, during the International Documentary Film Festival.

Silent Collective won the 5000 euro cash prize for its documentary ‘The Silent Majority Speaks’. The film is a compilation of images, most taken with mobile phones, of the demonstrations in Tehran in 2009. Ambassador Veer praised the film’s ‘insistent message that there can be no democracy without freedom of expression’.

The Cinema Unlimited Award honours individuals and organisations who have made an important contribution to the making, distributing or showing of films made in Africa, Asia or Latin America that combine artistic excellence with social relevance.

Appearing before a full house, the Iranian women’s rights activist Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, who lives in the Netherlands, accepted the prize on behalf of the filmmakers, who must remain anonymous for their own safety.