(Canada) – Will Vassilopoulos, a freelance cameraman from Canada who works for the AFP news agency, has won the Rory Peck Trust Award. Vassilopoulos’ work attracted international attention when he filmed migrants and refugees heading to Greece and eventually settling in the refugee camp in Northern Greece in Idomeni. This camp, which is now closed, was a hotspot for refugees heading to Greece before the northern border was closed.
Vassilopoulos, who shared his footage via his work, “Fear and Desperation: Refugees and Migrants Pour Into Greece” was at least partially responsible for giving the situation international attention. He filmed this footage from October 2015 to March 2016, which is considered to be the height of the crisis. He followed migrants who journeyed from Syria and then Turkey before settling in the Idomeni camp in Greece.
Even though he was done filming migrants in March of 2016, he continued to film in Greece. In the Spring of 2016 he filmed protests after the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia shut down the border into Greece, trapping some of the migrants.
Judges for the Rory Peck Trust Award said that they gave Vassilopoulos the honor because he, “brought the humanity of (the crisis) home”. He showed people what the situation was really like, which helped outsiders see how complicated the situation really is. The judges also said that, ““It’s difficult to do something exceptional when everyone is shooting it, however tragic and important the story is, and Will really managed that.”
The judges also said that he won because, “”Images from the Med have become so familiar there’s a danger of image fatigue, but these stood out. Will held his shots, let them breathe and evolve, leaving his sequences long so you really got the arc of the story.”
The footage from Will’s winning entry also shows other scenes throughout Greece, such as the conditions of the makeshift boats that led migrants to the island of Lesvos and other islands in the Northern Aegean Sea.