Studio 9 Films’ ‘The Cost of Cobalt’ is finalist at prestigious DIG Awards 2021


The Cost of Cobalt’s recent selection as a finalist at the DIG Awards 2021 further raises the profile of birth defects in mining areas of Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo and the cause of this alarming issue.

The documentary was one of only five films selected in the Reportage Medium category, alongside Syria: Lost childhood, Iraq-Iran: The Dangerous Borderland, Desperate Journey and Malaysia’s Plastic Jungle. Studio 9 Films’ selection for an international award emphasises the importance of this work focusing on scientists in the area who are finding increasing evidence that environmental pollution caused by mining is leading to malformations like cleft palates in babies.


The jury included the likes of Paolo Pellegrin, one of the world’s leading photojournalists who documents disasters and conflicts, and Anne Koch, who has led an illustrious career at the BBC, including as director of the English World Service.



The DIG festival and awards ceremony in Modena, Italy where the film was screened is an important event in the calendar of journalists focusing on investigation and reportage.


The Cost of Cobalt’s director, Robert Flummerfelt, was delighted to receive the high recognition. Speaking at the event, he said: “ The DIG awards and the impressive films showcased there are perfect examples of how documentary filmmakers can use the medium to expose the powerful to public scrutiny and affect change.




“Our hope is that as we bring the Cobalt film to more audiences, we can raise the profile of the problem and encourage audiences to ask serious questions about the steadily mounting scramble for Congolese cobalt that many imagine can underwrite a green future.”


Cobalt is seen by many as being key in the fight against climate change, it’s essential to produce electric car batteries. At a time when world leaders are searching for new ways to meet environmental targets, Studio 9 Films is scrutinising an important issue that is being overlooked and asking whether it’s right Congolese children pay the price of solving climate change with their health. It’s hoped the film’s finalist selection will draw even more attention to the problem of birth defects in DRC, putting pressure on the mining industry to clean up its act.


You can watch our film here. More about the DIG awards here.