Film-maker shot dead in Gaza wins Rory Peck Award

Freelance film-maker James Miller – shot dead in May 2003 while making a film in Rafah about war’s impact on the lives of Palestinian children-has won the Rory Peck Features Award 2004.

Miller, 34, was preparing to leave Rafah when he was killed by an Israeli soldier. He was wearing a helmet with TV on it and carrying a white flag. His footage was made into a film, Death in Gaza , shown on Channel Four.

Last week the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, applied pressure on the Israeli authorities to conclude and publish their investigation into Miller’s death.

The Rory Peck Awards highlight the dangers that freelances face to capture inaccessible stories, and four were presented on Wednesday night.

The Hard News Award went to Martin Adler for a film about the US Army in Iraq for Channel Four News.

Judges described it as “a shocking observational account of Charlie Company whilst they attempted to secure Highway One in the heart of the Sunni Triangle in Iraq”.

Philip Cox won the Sony International Impact Award for his self-funded film ‘Inside Darfur: The First Images of the Crisis’, also shown on Channel Four News. The film alerted the world to the escalating crisis in Darfur and prompted calls across Europe for immediate action.

Ron McCullagh received the Freelances’ Choice Award, honouring those who have made a significant, positive impact upon the freelance community. McCullagh is managing director of Insight News Television and has ensured that the company remains focussed on in-depth international current affairs programming.

The Rory Peck Trust exists to recognise freelance news gatherers as an essential part of an open and free media and to promote their safety.

The trust also helps the dependents of those killed or injured.

By Caitlin Pike

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