Filmmaker Johannes Preuss has received a student Oscar for his film, “Galamsey,” which was shot in Ghana. The film looks at the illegal gold trade there.The Motion Picture Academy honoured Johannes Preuss and Katja Benrath amid a competitive international field of student directors. Preuss’ documentary examined Ghana’s gold trade while Benrath’s focused on terrorism.
The 44th Student Academy Awards, which honors and encourages talented emerging filmmakers from the United States and abroad saw a star-studded event at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in the heart of Hollywood, Los Angeles where Preuss was honoured for best international documentary while Benrath will receive an award — either gold, silver or bronze — in the category of international narrative.
Preuss, a student at the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy in Ludwigsburg, was the sole nomination in his category. His film “Galamsey” investigates the lives of illegal gold diggers in Ghana. The documentary grew out of his previous experience as a development worker in the West African nation, during which time he witnessed first hand the problems surrounding illegal gold extraction, such as corruption, exploitation and environmental degradation.
“[The film] was definitely not an easy project,” Preuss told German news agency dpa ahead of the award ceremony, adding that, “The Oscar is a huge recognition.”Benrath was nominated in her category alongside students from the Netherlands and Switzerland. “They are all incredible films and everyone more or less wins, meaning first place doesn’t play such a big role,” the Hamburg Media School student told dpa.