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The FOCAL International Awards 2017


  • AWARD:

  • AP Archive

  • Sponsored by: AP Archive

    AP Archive is the film and video archive of The Associated Press - the essential global news network. The collection includes more than 1.7 million global news and entertainment stories dating back to 1895 sourced both from AP's own coverage and from our premium content partners. Hours of new footage are added daily with coverage from AP's global news gathering network. If an event happens anywhere in the world, you can be sure that AP covers it.
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Nina Krstic

for   |   O.J.: Made in America

Credit 1 - Title of Production: O.J.: Made in America
Credit 1 - Production Company: ESPN Films and Laylow Films
Credit 1 - Broadcast / Media Platform: Theatrical
Credit 1 - Date Production Premiered: 2016-5-20

Credit 1 - Brief Synopsis, in English (maximum 100 words): It's the defining cultural tale of modern America " a saga of race, celebrity, media, violence, and the criminal justice system. Two decades after its unforgettable climax, it continues to fascinate, polarize, and develop new chapters. Drawing upon more than seventy interviews " from longtime friends and colleagues of Simpson, to civil rights leaders, and recognizable commentators " the documentary is an engrossing look at a tragic American tale. At the end of what seems like a search for the truth about O.J. Simpson, the film reveals a collection of unshakeable and haunting truths about America, and about ourselves.

Credit 1 - Reason for submission, in English (maximum 100 words): With a documentary covering the entire life and career of OJ Simpson intertwined with the history of Los Angeles and the LAPD's relationship with the black community, the film relies on diverse and rare footage and photos tell the story. The film sourced footage, audio, and stills from over a 100 archives, collections, libraries and networks, to visually give the audience a journey through time periods and the evolving media that OJ's career spanned- including everything from sports coverage, to commercials and film, to Court room footage to multiple period interviews with OJ Simpson, to more recent verite moments.

Credit 1 - Researcher's Statement, in English (minimum 100 words): We are proud of the footage we researched and unearthed for this project and feel the film's success is in large part due to the visual / footage experience that enhances the 70+ interviews shot for the film.

Credit 1 - Director/Producer or Production Manager's Statement, in English (minimum 100 words): We are proud of the footage we researched and unearthed for this project and feel the film's success is in large part due to the visual / footage experience that enhances the 70+ interviews shot for the film.
EZRA EDELMAN

Rich Remsberg

for   |   The Bandit

Credit 1 - Title of Production: The Bandit
Credit 1 - Production Company: Mile End Films West
Credit 1 - Broadcast / Media Platform: CMT (Country Music Television, Inc.)
Credit 1 - Date Production Premiered: 2016-8-6

Credit 1 - Brief Synopsis, in English (maximum 100 words): The Bandit is a film about 70s superstar Burt Reynolds, his best friend, roommate and stunt-double Hal Needham, and the making of their unlikely smash-hit Smokey & The Bandit. The film tells the action-packed story of the making of Smokey, while tracing the personal journeys of Reynolds and Needham from obscurity to stardom and highlighting one of the most extraordinary relationships in Hollywood history. Featuring new interviews with Reynolds, rare archive material, including footage from Reynolds' personal archive, as well as candid interviews with the late Needham, it tells an exhilarating and moving story about loyalty, friendship and creative risk.

Credit 1 - Reason for submission, in English (maximum 100 words): The Bandit premiered to universal acclaim at SXSW, followed by a high-profile festival run, prior to airing on CMT in August to stellar ratings. Almost every review has singled out the extraordinary " and extraordinarily rare " archival that graces this film from beginning to end, without which this film simply could not have been made, and it's an exceptional example of the creative use of library footage (also orphaned and Public Domain footage) in a feature length documentary.

Credit 1 - Researcher's Statement, in English (minimum 100 words): In a sense, research for this project began in the 1970s. I never thought that a youth spent obsessed with the esoteric details of country music and watching Burt Reynolds' redneck movies at the drive-in would one day have practical application in my adult professional life, but both were invaluable background for navigating the archival research on this project. More specifically, though, the research was a 16-month process that called for an understanding of everything from commercial footage houses and the National Archives to local newspaper morgues, to the obscure worlds of Hollywood stuntmen and the renegade independent truckers movement. It involved committed digging in the corporate world, among private collectors, and deep file and onsite research at conventional sources in both North America and Europe. Throughout work on The Bandit, we had access to the personal archive of one of our principal characters, Burt Reynolds, but not the other, Hal Needham, who had passed away the year before our production began. Because of this, Hal's storyline had to be created almost entirely from archival material. Although Reynolds fully participated with the film, it was often preferable to tell his story with archival footage. We had full access to what is politely referred to as Burt Reynolds' personal archive: a jumble of videotapes, photos, scrapbooks, working scripts, and other ephemera in his garage and storage locker in Jupiter, Florida. As the lead of a three-person crew, we spent several days triaging, organizing, and creating an inventory of more than 300 relevant videotapes and more than 500 flat pieces. We scanned the flat pieces onsite and arranged for the digitizing of the films and videos, which consisted not only of Reynolds' home movies but also dozens of television appearances that do not survive in their home archives. This material complemented the significant conventional research of Reynolds' talk show appearances and feature films as well as vintage interviews with his pastor and high school drama teacher. To tell the story of Hal Needham, a less high-profile figure than Reynolds, meant digging for every obscure talk show appearance, news feature, and examples of his stunt work. A 20-hour audio oral history at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences provided the spine of our narrative, but the cost and poor quality of the tapes required considerable and judicious onsite pre-selection. I was able to further develop Hal's storyline through additional oral histories and material in corporate and private collections. The General Motors and Allstate archives were straightforward and important " but limited. Some of the best footage, a vintage promotional film for Pontiac dealers, came from a YouTube clip, but the clip's poster was not responsive to queries, and phone calls to relevant auto dealerships yielded nothing. It was not until a letter to the former Pontiac dealer, now living in a Boston-area nursing home, was forwarded to the person who had cleaned out the old dealership prior to building demolition, did I locate two copies of the super 8 cartridge, one of which he sold us for $100. And it was during the only vacation taken during the production, a long birthday weekend visiting friends in Baltimore, that I spent an evening watching 16mm ephemeral films from their personal collection. It was a welcome birthday gift that one of the 1970s industrials they screened contained the rare footage of Hal Needham as the first human to test the airbag, a key piece for our story. On the darker side, one very difficult and volatile collector became verbally abusive and, at the eleventh hour, threatened to withhold his film print from the lab. After a number of tense phone calls, fruitless messenger runs, and rescheduling with the lab, I was able to resolve the situation with our getting an HD transfer, his getting paid, and no one being hurt. (Follow-up: He later apologized, then tried to get me to go in to business with him.) A number of the talk shows and entertainment specials are "orphan works," a status with no legal standing in the U.S. It was necessary to do due diligence to establish that there were no active copyright claimants. After researching what had become of each of these production companies (one had left the talk show business to make porno films, then, like most, went out of business altogether), I was responsible for establishing, through a combination of copyright searches and registered letters, their dormant status to the satisfaction of both the network and the Library of Congress and other institutions that hold the footage. Working with national and regional news archives, screening outtakes and original elements whenever possible, I was able to compile enough news features and behind-the-scenes footage on the making of Smokey and the Bandit to tell those crucial parts of our story with vividness and immediacy. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives at the University of Georgia, especially, had highly worthwhile footage (little scraps, but of enormous editorial value). By maintaining an ongoing conversation with the archivists, we discovered new material as it came available, including one interview from a recently-donated collection of a longtime Atlanta cameraman who was finally cleaning out his garage. This piece, which we obtained three weeks before picture lock, became the framing for the whole documentary. This level of archival coverage allowed for not only a deeper exploration of Hal Needham's character, but also for Burt Reynolds', as we were able to cover beats with multiple-source vintage interviews and by mixing original footage with archival for a richer dynamic and continuity of time. Because the biographical stories of our two principal characters, as well as all of the secondary characters, largely consist of working in the motion picture industry, this required special handling in a couple of ways: One is role of Fair Use, and I was a constant advisor on these matters. The other was in initiating a conversation with Universal Studios for a deal whereby we received heavily discounted licensing rates in exchange for making our documentary available to the studio for their next anniversary DVD release of Smokey and the Bandit. As with any substantial historical documentary, there were extensive databases and spreadsheets, perhaps more extensive on this project because of its nature. Similarly, much of the clearance work required consideration of musical performances, talent / branded content, photographs and third-party footage appearing in clips, and other underlying rights. Poor quality, particularly with the Academy's Hal Needham oral history, required extensive editing to make it coherent, and reporting such usage in a way that both accurately accounted and maintained original integrity was a special challenge. I saw the project through to the end, negotiating final deals (29 sources), participating in Fair Use discussions (40 sources), arranging for HD transfers, delivering masters, and heavy consultation on the rights bible. While the network signed the license contracts, I previewed them for accuracy and coordinated trafficking. While not an official obligation, participating in Q&A sessions with director Jesse Moss and Co-producer Danny Breen at the film's premiere was a satisfying way to cap the project.

Credit 1 - Name of Director/Producer or Production Manager: Jesse Moss
Credit 1 - Director/Producer or Production Manager's Statement, in English (minimum 100 words): When building the creative team behind The Bandit, an Archive-based portrait of 1970s superstar Burt Reynolds and his close friend and stunt double Hal Needham, and their extraordinary body of work together, it was abundantly clear that we required someone with deep experience, strong creative judgment, methodical organizational methods, remarkable tenacity and delicate diplomatic skills. Fortunately, we found this and more with Rich Remsberg, one of the key creative collaborators on the project. Rich arrived with a great knowledge and affection for the period, the subjects (Reynolds and Needham), and the individual films that marked their collaborations through the 1970s. In early conversations about the creative direction of our story, I felt the Rich's contribution could be much larger than I'd hoped for or anticipated. The goal of our project was to allow our main subjects to tell this story largely in their own words, which meant finding every shred of archive that would help us illuminate their professional and personal lives, and friendship. Initially, Rich impressed me with his ability to bring order out of chaos in the early phase of production when the project was little more than abstraction. We faced a monumental research task. Burt Reynolds was one of the world's biggest stars in the 1970s and the sheer amount of archival material (films, television appearances, magazine features, photography, interviews, etc) we needed to source was overwhelming. Mr. Reynolds' personal archive was in disorder, but available to us, so we began by assembling the mass of scrapbooks, photographs, personal ephemera and film and tape archive and ingesting, organizing and transferring the material. In addition, the material presented a maze of licensing and ownership issues that would have to be navigated, from studio control, to personal, orphan and public domain material. As valuable as the personal archive was, much of the Reynolds material we needed lay elsewhere. Our story pivoted around Reynolds and Needham's most successful collaboration, Universal's 1977 film "Smokey and the Bandit," but it was a poorly documented production, and Universal has disposed of much of its own archive related to the film. Slowly and steadily, Rich found nearly every extant record of the film's creation, including rare news footage from local Georgia television archives, set photos in private collections, and other fragments from traditional archive sources. Although our Archival budget was robust, we couldn't afford to screen and transfer everything. This required Rich to constantly exercise independent creative judgment about the value (in both time and cost) of pursuing particular elements. Through frequent and wide ranging creative conversations, Rich and I discussed the evolving story we were writing in the edit room with editor Aaron Wickenden. I found Rich (based far from our production home in California), to be extremely attentive, diligent, and thorough, despite the heavy burden he was facing in managing our complex needs. As daunting as the Burt Reynolds research was, the Hal Needham elements presented a wholly different challenge. Although he enjoyed a burst of public attention in the late 1970s, Needham had made his career by remaining in the shadows, as a top stuntman to Hollywood stars. This meant that his archival record was comparatively sparse. Yet our story about their friendship demanded Needham receive equal weight and just credit. Finding revealing elements of Needham, from sources as diverse as the Library of Congress, AMPAS and private collections took extraordinary resourcefulness. Of all of Rich's many achievements on this project, I am proudest of this work (the Needham airbag test, the Pontiac infomercial hosted by Needham, among others), which truly elevated Needham and in turn our story. Working with Rich (for the first time), was extremely rewarding on a personal and professional level. He enthusiasm and joy for the art and craft of image research was inspiring to me, and he set a standard I hope to achieve on future films, hopefully with him on the team. Like many freelancers, Rich was devoting time and energy to other projects through the two years journey of The Bandit, yet I never felt anything less than total devotion to our creative cause. Despite the enormity and uncertainty of the archival elements that would compromise the final film, we came in on budget. The result is a testament to his ability to structure complex licensing deals with finicky owners that respected our bottom line. But most importantly, the creative result " the sheer richness and exuberance of the archival-based story - far exceeded my initial expectations, due in large part to Rich's extraordinary contribution.

Veronique Nowak

for   |   School Revolution 1918-1939

Credit 1 - Title of Production: School Revolution 1918-1939
Credit 1 - Production Company: Les Films du Poisson
Credit 1 - Broadcast / Media Platform: Arte
Credit 1 - Date Production Premiered: 2016-9-7

Credit 1 - Brief Synopsis, in English (maximum 100 words): In 1918, the traumatic experience of WW1 gave rise to a shared pacifist dream in Europe. A new kind of educator formulated an answer for the failing of society, which fault laid in traditional education and its philosophy of submission. For Celestin Freinet, Alexander Neill, Janusz Korczak, Maria Montessori, Ovide Decroly, the peace of tomorrow would depend on a new kind of education in order to create a new individual. But the ideal of pacifist internationalism and the desire for a new era soon began to fade in face of the growing authoritarianism that was sweeping the continent.

Credit 1 - Reason for submission, in English (maximum 100 words): SCHOOL REVOLUTION is a 100% archival documentary produced over five years. The film addresses European social and historical topics that had never been covered and which made us gather an outstanding collection of found footage across Europe and Russia. More than 70 sources of material were used in the final film. English sources in particular such as the British Pathe, the Media Archives for Central England, the Yorkshire Film Archive, the Scottish Screen Archive, etc. We digitised rare documents from the BFI British Film Institute, the Bedales School, the Odenwaldschule and amateur films. Many pictures are of a unique nature and give an unexpected vision of pedagogical experiences at that time.

Credit 1 - Researcher's Statement, in English (minimum 100 words): The new education between the two worldwide wars had never been tackled in a documentary in Europe and in the world. The final choice was 100% archives, after having gone through other possibilities. Besides all the names of European pedagogues (Neil, Ferriere, Geheeb, Decroly, Freinet, Montessori, Makarenko, Korczak) on which there few archives, I have researched in Europe and not only in the countries concerned, on all schools, as well as on the intimate of the teaching, and the well-being of schoolchildren. Travel abroad was necessary. I have noticed that the sources of archives lack personnel and financial means, but they participated with enthusiasm. Some archives were not digitized, I guessed the interest despite summary descritions. I had digitized films at the BFI, CNC, Narodni Filmovy Archiv, Royal Cinematheque of Belgium, Bedales School, Odenwald school... Four months of research over three years were necessary, the archive budget represents 1/3 of the total budget. Historical facts such as the Nazi period filmed by chance by an amateur English woman, Lucy Fairbank (Yorkshire Film Archive) are illustrated by staggered images. Since the post WWI films were mute, I looked for a lot of ambient sounds. At the conformation, some worries, some companies no longer have the master, we had to change the chosen images. I was in constant contact with Joanna, the director who was always available and attentive to my work. Joanna used footage with majesty, with the editor Raphaelle. My wish: to publish the documentary and bonus with the best clips not used. Veronique Nowak researcher

Credit 1 - Name of Director/Producer or Production Manager: Joanna Grudzinska
Credit 1 - Director/Producer or Production Manager's Statement, in English (minimum 100 words): It took me sometime to find Veronique. I was looking for a real researcher, who could find images that could 'build' the story I wanted to tell. Veronique understood immediately that we would work hard with the archives- that the images would be the 'land' of the film. The idea was not to illustrate history, but to understand and feel it thanks to the archives : what was this incredible relationship that appeared between the grownups and the children after 1st world war in Europe ? How would adults look at children? Above all, the story of New Education had never been told, so the aim of the archives was to say : Yes, it did exist, it occurred. Many of the rushes were never seen before, and Veronique had to travel to get them. We had incredible experiences : in one of the schools we found a never developed film, it was the entry of the nazis in the school in 1934. Above all, Veronique's eye, both humanistic and precise, helped us, and lead us to the film. The film was very hard to do because of the research, the number and origin of the sources, the rare materials we were looking for, and thanks to Veronique, it became possible. She's like the DOP of the film, able to negotiate the rights, and to find Dziga Vertov never seen footage, or a representation of Hamlet in Elsinore in the 20's. Many of the images inspired the voice over of the movie, and gave us so much joy, and work ! I knew that I could count on her all the time, and that she would respect everything without being afraid, fighting for the footage, and for the film, all the time. A rare partner. Joanna Grudzinska, director.


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On the Night...

Decanter

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AP Archive team

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Anne Fleming and Clyde Jeavons

Alastair White and guests

Elizabeth Klinck and guests

The War Show winners

Nina Krstic and Caroline Waterlow

Pam Fisher and Sue Malden

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Pam Fisher, Joan Porter MacIver and Brid Dooley

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1912-1992: 80 Years of Olympic Films Restored winners

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Hardeep Sigh Kohli - host

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Kevin Brownlow - Photoplay - Napoleon (winner)

Sir David Attenborough acceptance video for Zoo Quest in Colour

Sue Malden - FOCAL International Chair

Serge Viallet - Lifetime Achievement winner

Elizabeth Klinck, Simon Wood - ITN Source and Richard Goldthorpe - British Pathe

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