SOURCE: The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film

The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation For Documentary Photography & Film

November 03, 2015 12:14 ET

MRO Foundation Opens 2016 Documentary Photography & Film Call for Entries, and Awards Laurence Bonvin of Switzerland 2015 Prize for Documentary Short Film

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - November 03, 2015) - Standing out among submissions from around the globe, The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation today announced that Laurence Bonvin of Switzerland has been awarded its third annual Documentary Short Film prize. Her film, Sounds of Blikkiesdorp, documents life in a government-built settlement in Cape Town, South Africa. Setup as temporary housing for 1,600 forcefully resettled residents shortly before the 2010 World Cup, Blikkiesdorp now shelters a population of 25,000 by many estimates.

Bonvin will receive a US$5000 prize for best documentary "Short-Short" film. Sounds of Blikkiesdorp (Afrikaans for "Tin Town") follows the 'temporary' residents in this remote, exposed to the elements, hazardous place where no one really chooses to live. Evoking the atmosphere of an internment camp, the people go about their harsh existence in uniform iron shack housing without insulation, running water or toilets. Bonvin captures the perseverance and resourcefulness of these people with special focus on the music that provides the link between themselves and their surroundings.

Laurence Bonvin is a Swiss-born documentary photographer and filmmaker based in Berlin and Geneva. Her work focuses primarily on the transformation of social landscape in and around large urban centres.

"Beyond the hardship in Blikkiesdorp, I was taken more by the ingenuity and creativity of the people in improving their homes and daily lives. In the final cut of the film, music became another main protagonist," said Laurence Bonvin. "I'm honoured and excited to receive this MRO Foundation award. It will enable me to pursue new projects that explore human conditions and their surroundings."

Led by MROF Artistic Director and Curator Nicolas Havette, the esteemed selection jury included:

  • Alfonso Moral -- 2014 MROF Documentary Film Grant Winner
  • Pascal Beausse -- Head of the Photographic Collections, Centre National des Arts Plastiques
  • Clément Saccomani -- Executive Director of Noor Agency
  • Jean-Michel Vecchiet -- Documentary Photographer & Film Maker
  • Christophe Loviny -- Artistic Director of the Yangon Photo Festival

MRO Founder and President Manuel Rivera-Ortiz commented, "Poetry seemed the recurring theme in this year's film shortlist. The best films melded harshness, beauty and heartbreak without any obvious forced plot. Laurence's film allows us to watch, learn and feel by simply letting the scenes unfold and through happenstance. She treats us to a window into the lives and the souls of this settlement with empathetic realism. To me this is ... great filmmaking."

This announcement coincides with the 2016 Call for Entries. For the sixth consecutive year, photographers and filmmakers from around the world are encouraged to submit documentary work covering disenfranchised communities, war, famine, poverty, religious persecution, political oppression, forced migration, and social issues or injustices impacting populations around the world. One submission will be selected in each category to receive US$5,000.00 in funding. The documentary photography grant will be awarded for the completion or start and completion of a print photographic project. The documentary short-short film award will be awarded to an outstanding filmmaker for an already completed documentary short film.

Grant laureates will be announced in July 2016 in Arles, France, during Les Rencontres d'Arles. Finalists will have their work exhibited in the foundation's Hotel Blaine facility in the historical center of Arles alongside previous year shortlisted projects and grant recipients.

Submission guidelines can be found at under "Programs." Entries for both photography and film categories must be submitted no later March 31, 2016.

"As we firmly establish the foundation's projects and exhibitions in our new Arles home, we're already in the planning stages of an exciting slate of 2016 grant nomination and award activities," said Sylvie de la Dure, newly appointed MROF Director. "We invite documentary photographers and filmmakers from all parts of the world and from all walks of life to enter their inspired works in our grant competition."

About the Foundation
Established in 2010, The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film is a 501(c)(3) Not-for-Profit Organization committed to positive social discourse in underrepresented communities throughout the world by encouraging emerging photographers working in developing nations to keep their lenses fixed on the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. Headquartered in New York, the foundation is a charitable trust serving the international photographic and film community through exhibitions, publishing, grants and other curatorial projects. For additional information, please visit

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