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Shaheen Dill-Riaz wins Sonderpreis Kultur des Landes NRW

Shaheen Dill-Riaz is awarded the Sonderpreis Kultur des Landes NRW

Filmmaker Shaheen Dill-Riaz (c) is presented the Sonderpreis Kultur des Landes NRW by host Michael Steinbrecher (l) and Secretary of State Marc Jan Eumann (r) during the 49. Grimme Award ceremony in the city of Marl, Germany on Friday, April 12, 2013. The Grimme-Preis is one of Germany’s most prestigious TV film awards.

On Friday, filmmaker Shaheen Dill-Riaz was awarded the Sonderpreis Kultur des Landes NRW for his latest documentary The Projectionist. The Film chronicles the life of Rakib, an 11-year-old boy who works as a projectionist in a small-town cinema in Bangladesh.

Mr. Dill-Riaz was presented the award by NRW Secretary of State Marc Jan Eumann, who emphasized the need for more high-quality film documentaries on German television, especially for children and the youth, “who deserve good television as well”.

Mr. Dill-Riaz expressed his gratitude for the award and explained why he chose to make film on the young projectionist: “When I saw Rakib on a photo taken by a photographer friend, it just made me think. He looked so agonized on the photo that as a filmaker, I felt I had to find out more”.

WATCH: Shaheen Dill-Riaz is awarded the Sonderpreis Kultur des Landes NRW at the 49. Grimme award show

In The Projectionist, Dill-Riaz plunges deep into the world of Rakib, filled with the hardships that come as his family’s only breadwinner and the flickering lights and dazzling colors of cinema, which contribute to the kaleidoscopic nature of the film.

“The dream world of the cinema is a means for this child to preserve his childhood. And in a sense this is our childhood as well. The film is for those who go to the cinema, it’s an homage to the cinema,” Dill-Riaz remarked to great applause.

The Sonderpreis Kultur des Landes NRW was awarded to Mr. Dill-Riaz as part of the 49. Grimme-Preis, one of Germany’s most prestigious television awards. It is the second film prize Dill-Riaz received for The Projectionist after winning the GROSSE KLAPPE film award last year.


Simon Klingert is administrator and occasional contributor to this site. His home on the web is at, where he mostly blogs about the Afghan war.

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