'Delhi Crime' and 'For Sama' win top prizes at International Emmy Awards

The ceremony was streamed live from an empty theatre in New York City

Shefali Shah in Delhi Crime. Courtesy Netflix
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Indian Netflix series Delhi Crime has taken home the coveted award for Best Drama at this year's International Emmy Awards, while Syrian filmmaker Waad Al-Kateab's searing documentary For Sama has secured its 63rd award, winning the prize for Best Documentary.

For the first time since the awards were established in 1973, the annual International Emmys were hosted virtually this year – in light of the coronavirus pandemic – streaming live from an empty theatre in New York City. The ceremony, which took place on Monday, November 23, was hosted by Argo actor Richard Kind.

The trophies, bestowed by the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, are among the most prestigious given to television programmes and films produced and aired outside the US.

The winners this year included Netflix's Brazilian show Ninguem Ta Olhando (Nobody's Looking), which won Best Comedy Series; Brazilian serial drama Orfaos Da Terra (Orphans of a Nation), which nabbed Best Telenovela; French documentary Vertige De La Chute, which won Best Arts Programming; and British TV film Responsible Child, which won Best TV Movie / Miniseries.

Individual winners included Billy Barratt, who received the Best Actor award for Responsible Child, and Glenda Jackson, who was named Best Actress for her role in TV drama Elizabeth is Missing.

However, one of the most notable wins this year came from Netflix series Delhi Crime.

The series is told from the perspective of the Delhi police team who investigated a fatal rape in India in December 2012.

Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old paramedical student, was brutally attacked by six men in a private bus before being thrown out of the moving vehicle along with her male friend. Singh was admitted to hospital before being flown to Singapore for specialist treatment, but died 11 days later after the attack.

The case made global headlines and sparked a number of protests in India, as activists demanded justice for the victim and reforms to the country's sexual assault laws.

Delhi Crime, which was released on Netflix in March 2019, was written and directed by Indo-Canadian Richie Mehta. It stars Bollywood actress Shefali Shah as deputy commissioner of police Vartika Chaturvedi, as she tries to piece together evidence to find the men who perpetrated the attack.

The critically acclaimed documentary For Sama, meanwhile, follows the intimate and epic journey of Al-Kateab through five years of her life in the rebel-held city of Aleppo as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to her first daughter, Sama.

The film was constructed using footage entirely drawn from Al-Kateab’s extraordinary archive.

She told The National last year that her footage was "very big evidence that the people who are there are Syrians and not, as the regime was saying, all strangers and terrorists".