Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster „Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration“

Shaheen Dill-Riaz receives the Grimme Prize for his documentary film "Eisenfresser" [Iron Eaters]

10. March 2010

Shaheen Dill-Riaz

The documentary “Eisenfresser” (Iron Eaters) was awarded the Grimme Prize on 10 March 2010 in the category of “Information and Culture.” In the film, Shaheen Dill-Riaz – author, director, and cameraman all in one – casts a critical eye on working conditions in shipbreaking yards in the south of Bangladesh. His sympathy lies primarily with the thousands of workers from the north. Motivated by poverty, they migrate to the beaches of Chittagong, where they break down retired tankers and container vessels from developed countries with their bare hands. Unlike the locals, they end up with the difficult, dangerous, and less lucrative jobs. They work barefoot and bare-handed, without protecting. They often puts their lives at risk and, in the end, they are hardly able to pay for the journey home with the wages they receive. But Dill-Riaz’s perspective is not biased, for the film does not denounce the “other side,” the small contractors and shipyard owners.

In the prize jury’s rationale, Dill-Riaz’s “poetic camera” is emphasized, providing close scrutiny for viewers and thus enabling a close examination of how affluent societies outsource their problems to other countries.
Even though “Eisenfresser” was originally intended as a feature film, it was also made with television in mind. While it has already won awards at several international film festivals, “the prestigious Grimme Prize is a very special award for me,” says Dill-Riaz, “because it proves one can successfully meet the aesthetic challenge of combining movie and television projects.” He is especially delighted for the television companies that participated in the project: the Bayerischer Rundfunk, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, and ARTE.

Until December of 2010, the award winner will be a fellow at the Konstanz Institute of Advanced Study, one of the fundamental institutional pillars of the Center of Excellence “Cultural Foundations of Integration” at the University of Konstanz.


Shaheen Dill-Riaz was born in 1969 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He was the co-organizer of the International Short Film Festival in Dhaka and worked as a film journalist in Bangladesh. In 1992, he arrived in Germany on a cultural grant from the Goethe-Institut in Berlin. After studying art history at the Free University of Berlin, he began his camera studies in 1995 at the Konrad Wolf Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen in Potsdam-Babelsberg. In 2007, Shaheen Dill-Riaz completed his third feature-length documentary “Eisenfresser.” The film was released nationwide in Germany on 12 June 2009 and has received awards at many international festivals. “Korankinder” [“Children of the Koran”] is his fourth feature-length documentary. Dill-Riaz works as a freelance writer, director, cameraman, and producer. From February to December 2010, he will be a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Konstanz Center of Excellence “Cultural Foundations of Integration” in Konstanz.

Honors and Awards
  • Graduate Prize of the DAAD, 1999, for outstanding artistic achievements, HFF Babelsberg
  • Babelsberg Media Prize / ORB Documentary Award, 2002, for “Sand und Wasser,” Potsdam
  • Special Jury Prize for “Sand und Wasser,” DOCAVIV Film Festival, 2003, Tel Aviv
  • GRAND PRIX for “Sand und Wasser,” El Festival del Riu, 2003, Barcelona
  • Special Jury Prize for “Sand und Wasser,” Film South Asia Festival 2003, Kathmandu
  • First Prize, One World Award for “Eisenfresser,” North Rhine-Westphalia, 2007, Cologne
  • First Prize for “Eisenfresser,” Film South Asia Festival, 2007, Kathmandu
  • GRAND PRIX for “Eisenfresser,” International Environmental Film Festival, 2007, Paris
  • First Prize for “Eisenfresser,” International Documentary Film Festival DOCAVIV, 2008, Tel Aviv
  • First Prize for “Eisenfresser” ACHTUNG Berlin -- New Berlin Film Award, 2008, Berlin
  • First Prize for “Eisenfresser,” Hachenburger Film Festival 2008, Hachenburg, Germany
  • Student Jury Prize for “Eisenfresser” in CINEMAMBIENTE, 2008, Turin
  • Grand Prize for “Eisenfresser” in EARTH VISION, 2009, Tokyo
  • First Prize for “Eisenfresser” in Cinema PLANETA, 2009, Mexico
  • Grimme Prize 2010 (Category Information and Culture) for “Eisenfresser,” Germany
Selected Filmography (as director and cameraman)
  • 2009 “Korankinder,” 88 min., documentary film, ZDF
  • 2007 “Eisenfresser,” 85 min., documentary film, ARTE/BR/RBB
  • 2005 “Die Glücklichsten Menschen der Welt,” 92 min., documentary film, ZDF
  • 2002 “Sand und Wasser,” 110 min., documentary film (final student project), broadcast on RBB
  • 1998 “Augen hören, Ohren sehen,” 7 min., fiction film
  • 1995 “Ein Tag, jeden Tag,” 19 min., fiction film.


Claudia Marion Voigtmann
Tel. +49 (0) 7531 88-4741