The documentary films Batata, Fire of Love, Aftershock and Mariupol: The People’s Story are among the 35 winners of the 83rd Peabody Awards, recognized as the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting, streaming, and interactive media during 2022.
This year’s winners encompass a wide range of pressing issues across categories, such as the environment: Fire of Love (arts), The Territory (documentary), and The Power of Big Oil (public service); mental health: The Gap: Failure to Treat, Failure to Protect (news) and Life Is Strange: True Colors (interactive); women’s reproductive rights: This American Life: The Pink House at the Center of the World (podcast) and Aftershock (documentary); and transgender rights: We’re Here (entertainment) and ContraPoints (interactive). News winners this year covered subjects such as the gun violence epidemic in America, women’s rights under the Taliban, the war in Ukraine, and extremist threats to democracy, while documentary winners such as Batata and Independent Lens: Missing in Brooks County highlighted migrant struggles.
“Representing a wide range of mediums, genres, and narrative approaches, this year’s winners continue to advance what it means to craft storytelling that is compelling, powerful, and prescient,” said Jeffrey Jones, executive director of Peabody. “Whether capturing the lives of teachers in Philadelphia or young women in Afghanistan, these stories are powerful enough to make us laugh, cry, and learn. They are all deserving of this honor, and we are thrilled to shine a light on their amazing achievement. All citizens should seek out, watch, and engage these winners.”
The winners of the 83rd annual Peabody Awards will be celebrated on Sunday, June 11 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.
Peabody previously announced four specialty awards including NBC News’ TODAY as an Institutional Award winner; Lily Tomlin was named winner of the Peabody Career Achievement Award; Issa Rae won the Peabody Trailblazer Award; and Shari Frilot was named the winner of the Visionary Award.
Complete list of winners of 83rd annual Peabody Awards.
“Fire of Love”
The documentary Fire of Love centers on Katia and Maurice Krafft, French volcanologists bound by a mutual passion for the scientific study of active volcanoes. Directed by Sara Dosa, Fire of Love tells their story through the Kraffts’ own archive of images, featuring spectacular, up-close footage of volcanic eruptions taken by the couple as they relentlessly defy danger to gain proximity to ineluctable forces of nature. The result is at once an intimate portrait of an ordinary marriage and a celebration of scientific determination at its most extraordinary.
National Geographic Documentary Films presents A Sandbox Films Production / An Intuitive Pictures & Cottage M Production (Disney+)
Aftershock holds a mirror up to the country’s maternal-mortality crisis, presenting a sobering look at the deadly consequences of a medical system that routinely disregards Black women’s health. The documentary follows two families reeling from preventable deaths, tracing their ongoing journeys through grief and toward activism.
Onyx Collective and ABC News Studios present a Malka Films and Madstone Company Inc Production In Association with Good Gravy Films and JustFilms | Ford Foundation Impact Partners
Shot over the span of a decade, starting in 2009, Batata follows a Syrian family on a Lebanese farm as they seek to establish an existence as migrant workers harvesting potatoes. As the Syrian Civil War breaks out in 2011, filmmaker Noura Kevorkian stays with the family through the growing strife and conflict. Accounts of war typically drop viewers in after everything is lost, but here is the rare artifact that captures, with power and precision, the exact lives left behind.
Saaren Films Inc., Six Island Productions Inc., Musa Dagh Productions (Streaming platforms)
“Independent Lens: Missing in Brooks County”
Set in Falfurrias, Texas, the site of a border checkpoint, Missing in Brooks County pivots around two families who arrive in the small town in search of missing loved ones. Their stories are layered within a spectrum of perspectives that exist within the county—from an activist detective and a team of forensic anthropologists working to help locate the remains of missing migrants to a paramilitary figure dead set on enforcing “closed borders.” The end result is a work that deeply internalizes the complexity of the subject without ever losing sight of the prevailing tragedy.
ITVS, Fork Films, Engel Entertainment (PBS)
“Independent Lens: Writing with Fire”
The fearless journalists of India’s only all-female newspaper redefine traditional notions of power in Writing with Fire, a gripping film from Independent Lens about the intrepid team behind the success of the news outlet Khabar Lahariya. Their passion and bravery in the face of gender and class bias drive this beautifully shot documentary from directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh.
Black Ticket Films (PBS)
“Mariupol: The People’s Story”
True to the documentary film’s title, the testimonials featured in Mariupol: The People’s Story collectively chronicle the way a once-bustling European center was ravaged in a matter of weeks as Russian forces gained ground and hoped to throttle the Ukrainian city’s services. Composed almost entirely of footage shot by residents who stayed and who bore the brunt of such attacks—with heartbreaking images of shelled buildings and abandoned corpses on the streets—Robin Barnwell’s documentary is an important assemblage of what was one of the most harrowing episodes in the still raging war taking place on Ukrainian soil.
Top Hat Productions / Hayloft Productions (BBC Select)
“The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks”
This necessary documentary film from SO’B Productions demands a reckoning with the historical record of the life of Rosa Parks, and shows the depth, courage, and determination of Black resistance to anti-Black racism and white racial terror. Challenging the historical confinement to symbolic celebrations of Mrs. Parks, the film shows her as a central architect and activist at the center of the Civil Rights movement.
SO’B Productions (Peacock)
At the heart of the Amazon rainforest, the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau people are fighting the encroaching deforestation that threatens not just their lives and livelihood but that of the entire globe. Their efforts are here captured by a documentary intent on amplifying their plight and uplifting the tireless work of activists and indigenous groups that refuse to capitulate to the capitalist violence inherent in seeing land not as something sacred but as something to be exploited for short-term gain.
National Geographic Documentary Films Presents A Documist And Associação Jupaú Film in association with Time Studios, Xtr, Doc Society Climate Story Fund / A Production of Protozoa Pictures, Passion Pictures, Real Lava (Disney+)
“We Need To Talk About Cosby”
For decades, no figure shaped America’s perception of Black life with as much authority as Bill Cosby. His eponymous sitcom wasn’t just a massive commercial success; it also opened the door for countless other television series focused on Black characters. And yet, W. Kamau Bell’s deeply personal docuseries takes up the troubling quandary of Cosby in modern times, given all we now know about him—the man, the entertainment phenomenon, the paragon of respectability politics, and the predator.
SHOWTIME Documentary Films Presents, A Boardwalk Pictures Production, In Association With WKB Industries (Showtime Networks)
Through deliciously funny, unfailingly thoughtful storylines, the mockumentary-style sitcom brings both depth and levity to its depiction of a grade school in Philadelphia, where a plucky group of educators work to ensure their students receive the best schooling possible, even as they face the kinds of challenges that are endemic to low-income districts. The show isn’t content to present funny scenarios absent any social context; Abbott Elementary insists on surfacing the structural issues that make its teachers’ work so hard.
Delicious Non-Sequitur Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and 20th Television, a part of Disney Television Studios (ABC)
Few other long-running franchises loom as large in today’s contemporary pop cultural imagination than Star Wars. Yet amid stories of destiny-driven heroes and doomed superpowered villains, Tony Gilroy’s Andor tackles that familiar galaxy with plenty of spectacle, but also a keen-eyed commitment to mirroring our own mundane trials and tribulations as it follows scavenger Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), who unwittingly becomes radicalized in the wake of a police state intent on crushing any and all signs of the Rebel Alliance.
Lucasfilm Ltd. (Disney+)
The experimental series, in which Donald Glover plays a shiftless Princeton dropout trying to manage his cousin’s burgeoning rap career, won a Peabody for its first season in 2016 for its sharp, evocative depiction of its eponymous city and the cast of characters making their way through it. Now, in its final seasons, the groundbreaking series has transcended its original success by introducing an anthology-style structure in Season 3 that deviates largely from the central cast, allowing the final two installments of Atlanta to display a wealth of creativity and insight.
FX Productions (FX)
On its face, Bad Sisters, the dark comedy from Catastrophe co-creator Sharon Horgan, is a whodunit about the death of John Paul Williams, a man who torments not only his wife, Grace, but also her four sisters. When the embattled quartet decides the only path to saving Grace from John Paul’s abuse is to kill him, they embark on a perilous, oft-thwarted journey, but the heart of the show is its keen, loving attention to relationships among women.
Merman / ABC Signature in association with Apple (Apple TV+)
“Better Call Saul”
It is a remarkable thing for a spinoff to surpass the artistic terms of its predecessor, even more so when that predecessor is as excellent as Breaking Bad, but that’s precisely what Better Call Saul did by the end of its six seasons. Featuring an array of career-best performances from a cast anchored by the quintet of Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Jonathan Banks, Giancarlo Esposito, and Michael Mando, all operating within an impeccable creative infrastructure led by Peter Gould with Vince Gilligan, the show serves as a vibrant interrogation of its forebear as well as a closing chapter to an era of prestige television defined by male antiheroes like Walter White.
High Bridge, Crystal Diner, Gran Via Productions and Sony Pictures Television (AMC)
Primarily a Spanish-language comedy with English subtitles, this half-hour American series pays homage to Latin America’s passion for the paranormal and Hollywood’s love of horror, all inside a deadpan comedy with telenovela influences, created and written by Julio Torres, Ana Fabrega, and Fred Armisen. Cassandra Ciangherotti, Bernardo Velasco, Torres, Fabrega, and Armisen play a group of misfits who bond over their shared love of the macabre and turn their penchant for horror and gore into a start-up business
HBO in association with Broadway Video, Antigravico and Mas Mejor (HBO Max)
Mo, starring and co-created by Mo Amer (alongside Ramy Youssef), is a hilarious exploration of what it means to move through the world (or, well, Houston, Texas) as an asylum-seeking refugee, with the constant knowledge that your entire life may well disappear from one day to the next. Sure, he may now float from job to job in order to avoid ICE raids, and his mother still bristles whenever her son brings home his girlfriend Maria (Teresa Ruiz), but throughout this Netflix comedy, the humor comes from telling a wholly American story whose absurdity is only matched by its authenticity.
When Min Jin Lee’s book Pachinko was first published in 2017, the life and family history of main character Sunja—which spans much of the twentieth century and captures a history of colonialism and immigration in Japan, Korea, and the United States—gripped readers who welcomed such a complex tale of being and belonging. Adapting the bestseller for the small screen, Soo Hugh developed Pachinko into a handsome period piece that tenderly traces an intergenerational saga that begins in Japan-occupied Korea in the 1920s and splinters its aching melodrama plots in the lifetimes that follow, playfully putting that titular matching game at its center.
Media Res / Blue Marble Pictures in association with Apple (Apple TV+)
In this prescient Apple TV+ series, director and executive producer Ben Stiller and creator Dan Erickson, along with their brilliant cast, probe what it means to live a meaningful life if given the choice of separating our work and non-work lives. Severance details the emotional and psychological effects of the micro practices of discipline and control that its characters endure. And yet at its most hopeful, Severance examines the desire for meaning, the emotional power of memory, the bonds of social attachment, and the urge to rebel against subjugation and control.
Fifth Season / Red Hour Productions in association with Apple (Apple TV+)
Whenever Shangela, Bob the Drag Queen, and Eureka O’Hara alight on any given town during any one episode of HBO’s docuseries We’re Here, their purpose is clear: all three queens are eager to preach the gospel of drag. Drag isn’t a mask you hide behind, as they suggest with every new transformation of a local trio tasked with performing at the end of every episode; it’s a way to reveal who you really are.
HBO in association with House of Opus 20 and IPC (HBO Max)
INTERACTIVE & IMMERSIVE
Through her YouTube channel, ContraPoints, Natalie Wynn defies simplicity, having developed a following of more than one million subscribers by producing long video essays that dissect trending topics and social phenomena, from “Canceling” to “Cringe,” “Incels” to “JK Rowling.” Using history, theory, pop culture references, and comedic acting, she helps us understand the deeper nuances of what’s trending.
Natalie Wynn (YouTube)
“Life is Strange: True Colors”
Life is Strange: True Colors centers on the story of a 21-year-old bisexual Asian American woman, Alex Chen, who has spent the last eight years in foster care—a radical departure from whose stories are typically told in AAA video games. Shortly after witnessing the tragic death of her brother, Alex uncovers conspiracies that lead her to question the town’s history and what she knows about her own family. The development team created a diverse and inclusive game, seeking out consultants, including mental health professionals, to ensure that the characters and themes were authentic and respectful, while using a combination of traditional motion capture and performance capture to produce more realistic and nuanced character animations.
Deck Nine Games & Square Enix External Studios (PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Stadia)
“Lucy and the Wolves in the Walls”
Through the endearing and earnest narrative of Lucy and the Wolves in the Walls, Fable Studio deftly invites us to shift our perspective—to see the world as experienced by its eight-year-old protagonist, Lucy, through an interactive VR journey that continues across multiple platforms. As the young girl’s imaginary friend, we are invisible to all other characters in her life, but for Lucy we are witness, confidant, and fellow explorer. Central to Lucy’s story is the delicate balance of truth, evidence, and belief; and at its heart, a celebration of wonder.
Fable Studio, Third Rail Projects, Sound+Design, Story Studio & Experiences (Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest)
China’s brutal and systemic detention of Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang is well-documented, but there exists little photographic evidence from inside the camps, which has effectively limited Western journalistic coverage of what is likely the largest mass-internment drive of ethnic and religious minorities since the Second World War. A two-part project that comprises a VR documentary and an interactive feature, Reeducated uses testimony, hand-drawn illustration, and immersive video technology to record the atrocities and conditions inside the walls of the camp.
The New Yorker (Oculus, Mobile, Desktop)
“The Uncensored Library”
A meticulous, artistically-rendered Minecraft build, The Uncensored Library is a monument to press freedom and an innovative back door for access to censored content. Leveraging Minecraft’s availability in countries where other media is blocked, The Uncensored Library has allowed more than 20 million gamers in 165 countries to access censored articles, available in English and the original language, from acclaimed independent journalists under threat by the authoritative regimes of places such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, Egypt, and Vietnam.
Media.Monks, Reporters without Borders, DDB Germany (Minecraft)
“Guns in America”
In 2022, as a shooting at a Texas school and a grocery store in upstate New York joined the ever-growing list of mass shootings, and with meaningful solutions nowhere in sight, PBS NewsHour dedicated an unprecedented amount of resources, airtime, and focus to the issue. Ranging from on-the-ground updates in Uvalde and survivor interviews in Buffalo, to long-range impact stories around the tenth anniversary of the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, to a deep dive into the psychology behind gun marketing, NewsHour continually found groundbreaking angles to every gun story.
PBS NewsHour (PBS NewsHour)
“FRONTLINE: Michael Flynn’s Holy War”
This profile documentary from FRONTLINE in collaboration with The Associated Press, doggedly reported over several years, follows General Michael Flynn as he travels across America speaking to growing crowds on the far right. Refusing to see him as an outlier, let alone a fanatical fringe figure, the film conveys a sense of foreboding as Flynn and his followers make plans for 2024 and beyond, with veiled threats as to what might happen “next time,” placing his religious extremist operation at the heart of American politics.
FRONTLINE (PBS) with The Associated Press (PBS)
“FRONTLINE: Ukraine: Life Under Russia’s Attack”
In February 2022, Russia launched a military assault on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, and the Ukrainians refused to surrender. Filmed during the first three months of the unprovoked invasion, Ukraine: Life Under Russia’s Attack provides a powerful inside portrait of the civilians and first responders who chose not to evacuate but to remain and defend the city, refusing to hand their country over to Vladimir Putin and taking a stand for democracy in the process.
FRONTLINE (PBS) with Channel 4
“The Gap: Failure to Treat, Failure to Protect”
This six-part series from KARE11 in Minneapolis exemplifies the best of enterprising local journalism, diagnosing and documenting a major failing in the Minnesota legal system: suspects in crimes are routinely deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial but are never treated for their mental illness. The careful and compelling reporting, which centered a mass local shooting but took in the wider scope of the problem, prompted action from state legislators, resulting in a change to Minnesota laws regarding competency and treatment.
“No Justice for Women in the Taliban’s Afghanistan”
The impactful and revealing No Justice for Women in the Taliban’s Afghanistan is the result of a VICE News investigation across north and south Afghanistan, which explores the present-day plight—and troublesome future—of a new generation of girls growing up under Taliban rule. Examining the lack of education, healthcare, economic opportunity, and justice, reporter Isobel Yeung weaves together a harrowing and affecting picture of oppression in post-war Afghanistan, where the “new” Taliban swear they are different from their 20th Century predecessors but prove to be anything but.
VICE News (VICE News)
“One Day in Hebron”
For AJ+ Senior Presenter Dena Takruri, arriving in the Palestinian city of Hebron was a vexing homecoming, knowing she wouldn’t find there the lively city her father had known in his youth before leaving for the United States. Capturing her own team’s clash with armed officers in the Israeli settler-occupied urban center and with neighbors intent on making Palestinian residents and visitors alike feel unwelcome (if not outright unsafe), One Day in Hebron offers an unvarnished look at what it means to live cloistered within militarized streets that circumscribe the lives of those within its walled borders.
AJ+ (Direct From)
“Shimon Prokupecz: Unraveling Uvalde”
On May 24, 2022, an eighteen-year-old walked into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and killed 19 children and two teachers. Law enforcement inaction may well have further contributed to the tragedy at the school; the team at CNN, led by Shimon Prokupecz, covered this story with a commitment to getting accountability for the many families who had to contend with the fact that their kids, some of whom didn’t make it out of the school alive, had to wait close to an hour before officers actively responded to the 911 calls coming from inside those classrooms.
“Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s”
Journalist Connie Walker and her team resurface the obscured past of Canada’s “Indian residential school system,” which was developed to forcibly assimilate scores of Indigenous children into white Christian society, including Walker’s own father. An arresting blend of family history and investigative journalism, this podcast ventures far beyond the findings of Canada’s official Truth and Reconciliation Commission to pull together a new basis for the historical record.
Spotify & Gimlet Media (Spotify)
“The Divided Dial”
“The Divided Dial,” reported and hosted by journalist Katie Thornton and edited by Katya Rogers, Executive Producer of WNYC’s On the Media, offers listeners a sobering window into the rise of Salem Media Group, a conservative Christian radio network that has steadily grown from fringe player to a formidable custodian of power and influence over the political right within the last few decades. Synthesizing dogged business reporting with a clear sense of how right-wing talk radio has fundamentally reshaped the Republican Party, Thornton and Rogers have produced a remarkable, vital, and unparalleled document that outlines the uneasy conflict over truth in American civic life.
On the Media/New York Public Radio (New York Public Radio)
“This American Life: The Pink House at the Center of the World”
On the day the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, This American Life had exclusive access inside the clinic at the center of the legal case, Mississippi’s last abortion clinic, witnessing what happened as staff received the news—and then hurried to see all the patients scheduled for the next month in just ten days, before the ban went into effect. “The Pink House at the Center of the World” offers a comprehensive and compelling snapshot of this turning point in America, always maintaining its focus on the human lives and stories at its core.
This American Life (This American Life)
“FRONTLINE: The Power of Big Oil”
Bold and illuminating, this three-part investigative documentary reveals how the fossil fuel industry over four decades manipulated climate change research, influenced environmental policy, and undermined efforts to confront the threat and impact of global warming. The Power of Big Oil draws on more than a year of reporting, reams of newly uncovered documents, and more than 100 interviews with key figures, including scientists employed inside and outside the industry, uncovering the missed opportunities to address an impending catastrophe.
FRONTLINE (PBS) (PBS)