Launched in 2004, IRIN’s film unit has won numerous awards for its productions, several of which have been aired by prominent international broadcasters. Here is a list of the unit’s most-watched films in 2011.
1. Slum Survivors (2007): More than a billion people live in slums worldwide, hundreds of thousands of them in the Nairobi slum of Kibera. The film tells the stories of a few Kibera residents and charts their remarkable courage in the face of extreme poverty.
2. Soldiers’ Stories (2011) follows two Ugandan soldiers - a female gunner and a male nurse - serving in the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) at a critical stage in the battle for Mogadishu between Al-Shabab insurgents and the internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government. From their training in Uganda to deployment in the shattered city in July 2011, Roselyn Namutebi and Otto Moses share their thoughts and fears on the frontline of one of the world's most intractable crises.
3. Turning the Page? (2011): In August 2000, a peace accord was signed in Burundi, bringing to an end more than a decade of ethnic conflict. This film analyses the fragile state of the peace process in the wake of elections held in 2010.
4. In Search of Stability (2011): In November 2010, a presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire led to a wave of violence between supporters of incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and the internationally recognized winner of the poll, Alassane Ouattara. The film examines the prospects for lasting peace and the need for equitable justice.
5. The Sex Worker (2010): This film profiles Sou Southevy, a 70-year-old transgender sex worker who has been plying the streets of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh since he was thrown out of home by his parents at the age of 14. Through the worst ravages of the Khmer Rouge regime and since, Sou has been subjected to terrible discrimination and at times violence, and in the absence of any support groups working with transgender and gay men, he decided to start one himself.
6. Bolivia’s Changing Climate (2010): In Bolivia, melting glaciers and erratic rainfall patterns are driving tens of thousands of people to the capital La Paz in search of water.
7. Leprosy: Part of a series featuring neglected diseases, this film was shot in a leper colony in Egypt and highlights the stigma attached to the disfiguring disease which affects more than 200,000 people worldwide.
8. A Question of Trust (2011): Nepal’s decade-long civil war ended in November 2006 with a comprehensive peace agreement. The Maoist rebels won elections two years later and a Constituent Assembly was also elected to write a new constitution. However, by 2009, the peace process was not complete, with little progress made on key issues like the disarmament and integration of thousands of Maoists ex-fighters.
9. Bus Schools (2011): Millions of children living in the slums of Delhi in India do not have access to formal education. Many parents would rather put their children to work than send them to school. So the schools featured in this film - converted buses - travel to the children.
10. The Colonel (2011): One of several Heroes of HIV profiled by IRIN Films, Col Felix Ntungumburanye was the first member of the Burundian army to declare himself HIV-positive. Doing so during a time of conflict left him fighting on two fronts: against rebels and stigma. Ten years later, largely thanks to the colonel’s courage, the army’s policies on HIV/AIDS have been transformed.