The Prize has been awarded since 2003 by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, and since 2006 carries the name of its patron, Marek Nowicki (1947 – 2003), cofounder and for many years the President of the Foundation, cofounder of the Helsinki Committee in Poland.

Dieudo Hamadi is an author of highly valued documentaries depicting the reality of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country full of contradictions and torn by conflicts, and the life of people who work actively to change it. Hamadi was born on 22 February 1984 in Kisangani. Before taking up filmmaking, he studied medicine. He quickly chose a path of a documentary filmmaker however. Since 2002 he had attended workshops and courses in Paris, and later on, moved to Cape Town, South Africa, where he worked as editor, producer and director’s assistant. His first independent film, from 2013, about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Atalaku, has received great attention all over the world. The documentary was awarded a Joris Ivens Award at the Cinéma du reel festival in Paris. Hamadi discusses in it the election campaign in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The main protagonist of the film is Gaylor, penniless pastor who plays the role of an atalaku, or city herald, during the 2011 presidential election. Gaylor offers his services to the candidate willing to pay the highest price. He then campaigns for him on the streets of Kinshasa, finds musicians who write him an election song and employs dancers and helpers. In the end, he is the one who is blamed for failing to keep the promises made by others. In his next film, National Diploma, Hamadi examines his homeland through the prism of its education system. Up close, observing a group of high-school graduates preparing for the title diploma, which is treated as an entry pass to a career, Hamadi mercilessly, though with humor, exposes pervasive corruption, the inertia of state institutions and the endemic poverty, which are blocking the path to development. Another equally moving story is Mama Colonel. Its main protagonist is a policewoman who deals with cases of rape and violence against children.

In his newest film, Kinshasa Makambo, Hamadi talks about the protests in the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, when President Joseph Kabila, despite the end of his second term in 2015, refused to give up power in violation of the constitution. Dieudo Hamadi follows three young activists: Ben, who decided to return to the country from America; Jean Marie, who had just been released from prison and is being watched by the special services; and Christian, a master of street demonstrations. Among Dieudo Hamadi’s films, which we will see during the 18th edition of WATCH DOCS festival, we can also find the picture Congo in Four Acts. The film was made by three Congolese artists, debuting as filmmakers, Dieudo Hamadi being one of them. 
Dieudo Hamadi is one of the most interesting contemporary African documentary filmmakers, and his insightful socio-political films, far from ideological motivations, clearly stand on the side of human rights and constitutional democracy, though.