Vaughan Smith wins war reporting prize for his film Blood and Dust

October 12, 2011

Frontline Club founder Vaughan Smith has been given a prestigious Bayeux-Calvados award for Blood and Dust, a film shot during 10 days spent with a US Medevac helicopter team in Afghanistan.

The awards, which were launched in 1994, recognise the work of journalists covering conflicts around the world.

Smith’s film, which was shown on Al Jazeera in February this year,  won the grand format television category with his coverage of the work of the paramedics of the US Army’s 214th Aviation Regiment.

This year the awards were dominated by Libya, with Sky News’ Alex Crawford’s team announced winners of two awards at an event in north-west France for their reports from Libya’s besieged town of Zawiyah, between 4 to 6 March.

Smith, who has filmed in Afghanistan several times in the past, said he decided to go back because he was concerned that his previous work had shown the machinery of war but not the suffering:

"This being a grevous omission I went back last winter to film US army air ambulances, ‘Dustoff’ helicopters, flying over Marjah in Southern Afghanistan, " he said: "The pictures are strong and show both US marines and Afghan civilians being lifted off the battlefield in equal numbers."

Of his decision to work with Al Jazeera, he said: "I couldn’t find another news broadcaster in Britain that would show the film without cutting out the stronger images. I have huge respect for the way Al Jazeera as a broadcaster engages the world while so many others appear to retreat from it."

Read more about Vaughan Smith in Afghanistan.