The New Yorker Wins Its First Emmy, for “Reeducated”

The New Yorker won its first Emmy Award on Thursday, in the Outstanding Interactive Media category, for “Reeducated,” a virtual-reality documentary that takes viewers inside one of China’s “reeducation” camps in Xinjiang. The award was presented on the documentary-focussed second night of the News and Documentary Emmy Awards.

Guided by the recollections of three men who were imprisoned together at the same facility, “Reeducated,” directed by Sam Wolson, uses hours of firsthand testimony, combined with hand-drawn animation by Matt Huynh, to reconstruct what is likely the largest mass internment of ethnic and religious minorities since the Second World War. Reporting for the film was conducted by Ben Mauk, whose accompanying New Yorker story, “Inside Xinjiang’s Prison State,” received two Online Journalism Awards in 2021. The film’s lead animator and technical supervisor, Nicholas Rubin, and its composer and sound designer, Jon Bernson, worked to capture the visual and auditory experience of the detention facility.

“The New Yorker team behind this stunning and haunting film deeply understands the power of visual journalism, and they saw an innovative way to describe one of the most horrific human-rights outrages of the modern era,” David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, said.

Based on the eyewitness testimony of Erbaqyt Otarbai, Orynbek Koksebek, and Amanzhan Seituly, “Reeducated” documents China’s persecution against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other predominantly Muslim minorities—which continues. The film premièred at SXSW, taking home special jury recognition, and has since been screened at the Venice Film Festival and dozens of other festivals around the world.

The film was supported by the Pulitzer Center, the Eyebeam Center for the Future of Journalism, and the Online News Association. ♦

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