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Pulitzer Center Update September 15, 2022

Grantee Wins Hinzpeter Awards' Top Prize for ‘Spider-Man of Sudan’



The film gives a unique window into the 2021 military coup through the story of an extraordinary...

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Pulitzer Center grantee and video journalist Phil Cox has won the grand prize in the 2022 Hinzpeter Awards for the short film The "Spider-Man" of Sudan, co-produced by fellow grantee Rafa Renas.

Cox was named the winner of the top prize, “The World at a Crossroads” Award. The 2022 Hinzpeter Awards Jury Committee named Cox and the other award winners on September 13 at The May 18 Memorial Foundation in Gwangju, South Korea, which commemorates the Gwangju Uprising, deadly mass protests against the South Korean military government in May 1980. 

The Hinzpeter Awards are named after Jürgen Hinzpeter, a German journalist who documented massacres during the uprising.

“The Awards have been established to discover, and bring attention to, video journalists like Hinzpeter, who demonstrate extraordinary journalistic spirit in their coverage of democratic movements around the world,” according to the awards’ website.

The "Spider-Man" of Sudan, released by The Guardian, gives a unique window into the October 2021 military coup in Sudan through the eyes of a demonstrator who became famous for wearing a Spider-Man costume while demonstrating against repression. Through his anonymous acts of civil resistance, "Spidey" became a popular figure in the protest movement.

The film shows not only the violence and chaos of the coup, but also community care, as hundreds of thousands of civilians came together to protect democratic rule. “Spidey” also works with some of the poorest children in the capital of Khartoum to inspire the next generation of change.

Jury members found that “Cox showed the aspiration and will of Sudanese citizens to restore democracy and create a better country through the story of the Spider-Man, who resist the military coup. The video showing the dangers of the protests was vivid, while the visual aesthetics through various devices drew the story impressively. The creative storytelling had a significant quality,” according to the Hinzpeter Awards press release.

Grantees Cox and Renas faced danger covering this story. He has since led seminars on journalists’ safety, including during a Pulitzer Center visit to Northwestern University in Qatar, a Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium partner. He and Renas screened the film and spoke about their project there.

“Cox’s work portrays the indomitable will of citizens fighting for democracy while staying together in a dangerous situation amid bullets. His work is in line with the spirit that the late Jürgen Hinzpeter showed on May 18, 1980. Cox upholds the value of the Hinzpeter Awards,” the jury said.

“The jury hopes that awarding Cox will create international solidarity for the Sudanese struggle for democracy, which has not received much attention from the world.”

View the full film here. See the other 2022 Hinzpeter Awards winners here.


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