MediaZones and its sister companies have a full set of international production partners. MediaZones itself is able to supervise or produce short ‘stings’, fast adverts for TV and radio, short features and documentaries.
Its sister companies and its founder Paul Martin have been responsible for numerous special reports and for world exclusives in major newspapers and on television. This includes broadcasting features and reportage on the BBC’s Newsnight programme, BBC’s Panorama, the BBC’s ‘From Our Own Correspondent’, BBC World, Channel 4 and ITV News, PBS (USA), CBS News (USA), NBC News (USA), CNN, SVT (Sweden), ARD and ZDF (Germany), Arte (France and Germany), ORF (Austria), RTE (Ireland) and many others.
After his anti-apartheid struggle – including beating and detentions – as a student and young lawyer in his native South Africa, Martin went into enforced exile in Britain. He has fought for human rights, justice and development on the African continent and in the Arab world, as a result of which he once spent 26 days under threat of death from a hardline militant group, see https://vimeo.com/13044373.
MediaZones produced filming and production for and with ITV’s prestigious monthly ‘On Assignment’ programme. In June 2016 in a glittering ceremony in London, the film Vicky’s Story won first place as the best media contribution to women’s rights in Africa. This was followed by another winning award – from the Association for International Broadcasting (the AIB) – as the best Short Feature of the year.
The story behind the story.
MediaZones founder Paul Martin filmed the bubbly and vibrant Vicky Ntozini in 2010, when she ran “the smallest B&B [bed-and-breakfast hotel] in Africa” – a corrugated-iron shack in a teeming Cape Town black township. That filming became part of a BBC World documentary that he produced and presented about the township. It was broadcast several times in 2011.
However when Martin returned to visit Vicky’s B&B in 2012 he was shocked to find out she had been murdered, and that her husband had been arrested but was on bail. MediaZones and sister company ConflictZones filmed the effects of the murder on Vicky’s traumatised children – and, after making a legal application to the court, hired Shoot the Breeze Productions to film the verdict and sentence at the trial in 2015.
Martin brought this moving story to ‘On Assignment’, the most important programme about foreign affairs produced monthly by ITN for ITV, the biggest commercial channel in Britain.
That led to the making of a powerful nine-minute film ‘Vicky’s Story’, shown after the murderer’s conviction and sentence. It was the lead item on ITV’s programme.
In June 2016 the film received a prestigious One World Media Award at a ceremony held at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in central London.
In November 2016 MediaZones and ITV won the Association of International Broadcasting (AIB)’s award for the best Short Feature of 2016.
Reaction to winning the One World Media Award and the AIB Short Feature award.
“We at MediaZones.net are delighted and grateful that the film has won two such an important award,” said Martin, founder and editor-in-chief of MediaZones. ”ITN and ITV superbly shaped and broadcast it so well, and the African Development Bank deserve huge credit for sponsoring the category ‘Women’s Rights in Africa’ in the One World Media awards. We were also thrilled that the AIB judges considered our film the best short feature made in 2016.
“But we are not satisfied with awards alone.
“We want to take the wider issue – poignantly discussed in her One World Media Awards speech by Dr Sipho Moyo, of the African Development Bank – to screens and televisions around the world.
“To do so we plan to make at least one full-length documentary showing the heroic work of Africans in finding positive solutions to the continent’s problems. This includes women (and men) committed to combating this scourge of domestic violence. Such violence is not just an awful social problem; it also holds back women’s full participation in their countries’ economic and social development.
“That is especially so when women like Vicky are making progress in business and entrepreneurship, only to be the subject of jealousy and violence by men who feel their ‘supremacy’ is being undermined.”
Martin added: “Ironically, though the issue of domestic violence received huge worldwide attention through the killing of his girlfriend by the famous South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, there was another, similar tragic murder trial just two courtroom doors away from the Pistorius trial. Another potentially highly successful young woman had been killed by her ex-boyfriend. We filmed that trial too, and the efforts by victim’s family to cope with their grief.
“Their story also deserves commensurate media attention, and they will be heavily included too in our planned new film – in which we will also be following up what has happened to Vicky’s traumatised children… and of course seeing how the wider issue is being tackled.
“We hope the prestigious awards we have won for Vicky’s Story will help in getting the issue worldwide attention and efforts inside Africa to combat this scourge.”
The AIB judges’ citation read: “This heart-breaking but important story occurred in South Africa, but reflects a universal problem. This was a moving but important story to tell…The ability of the team to get the trust of Vicky’s children to tell their story was powerful – and all achieved in a very short production.”
One World Media Jury’s Citation
The One World Media jury’s citation read: “Vicky’s Story stood out because it really humanises a story often reduced to statistics. Brilliantly illustrated, it conveys so much tenderness and honesty in the interviews and can easily be watched more than once. Beautifully shot – the scripting and presentation is perfect, informative and sensitive, and not overpowering.”
The jury added: “Despite Vicky’s death, her legacy remains and the conversation will continue through this film.”
Below: Prize-winners from ITN and MediaZones photographed (with Dr Sipho Moyo of the African Development Bank, 2nd from left) after the One World Media Awards.