A documentary titled The Sound Man in which veteran Kenyan sound engineer Abdul Rahman Ramadhan recounts his extraordinary and often heartbreaking journalism career covering crisis zones throughout East Africa won the Best Documentary Award at the 2017 Kalasha International Film and TV Awards in Nairobi on December 9.
During two decades of work with the late acclaimed photojournalist and Camerapix founder Mohamed Amin and others, the 62-year old Ramadhan has experienced and recorded the sounds of genocide, war, revolution, anarchy and famine in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia and Rwanda.
Produced by the Duncan Group and presented by sister company Thunder House Pictures, and co-produced by Camerapix in Kenya, the short documentary was produced entirely "on spec."
The Sound Man was produced, directed, written and edited by Chip Duncan, who has also written, produced and directed documentaries for international distribution including several prime-time broadcast documentaries for PBS and the Mystic Lands series for Discovery Networks.
On accepting the Kalasha Award at the awards ceremony, Camerapix chairman Salim Amin, paid tribute to Ramadhan's courage and bravery, "Abdul has been a part of the Camerapix family for close to four decades and has risked his life numerous times to tell some the biggest stories on the African continent," Amin said. He also thanked Duncan for taking such a big chance to make the documentary.
"It's exciting to have the film recognised in Africa," Duncan said. "Abdul's story is both tragic and hopeful, and it adds an important voice to the eyewitness history that only a frontline journalist can attest to. The Sound Man adds to the dialogue on war, crisis and humanitarian response while also highlighting the risks to journalists and the power of storytelling to impact change."
The Sound Man uses extraordinary footage from Mohamed Amin's vast archives to tell Ramadhan's gripping story -- one that explores the risks to frontline journalists and includes coverage of the Black Hawk Down incident in Somalia, the civil war in Sudan, the revolution in Ethiopia and post-election violence in Kenya.
Ramadhan was an eyewitness to the genocide in Rwanda -- he spent weeks working from the so-called Hotel Rwanda.
He was awarded the prestigious Founder's Award by the Association of International Broadcasters in 2016 for his "outstanding contribution to the international media industry" and was the award's first African recipient.
The Sound Man has been screened at more than a dozen international film festivals including the United Nations Film Festival.