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The FOCAL International Awards 2017

  • AWARD:

  • ScreenOcean

  • Sponsored by: ScreenOcean

    Screenocean provides unparalleled access to quality content from around the world, captured from 1896 to present. Discover rare and inspiring footage including historic newsreels, quirky entertainment programs, iconic and light-hearted never-before-seen home movies. From the serious to the silly, spanning 3 centuries, we help bring your stories and projects to life. Screenocean's footage library includes clips from Reuters News Archive, Channel 4, Channel 5, Warner Bros TV, Clips & Footage and Cover Images. Searchable 24/7, get footage for TV, film, e-learning, advertising, corporate events, museums, music videos and more. Register today at or
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Blanche Pictures   |   UK

  • Esther Johnson & Bob Stanley
  • Esther Johnson
  • Esther Johnson
  • IWM, NEFA, BFI, Swedish Film Institute

'Asunder' tells the story of what happened to an English town during the First World War, with almost all of its men fighting abroad and its women and children left behind. The North East was in the front line, thanks to its shipyards and munitions factories.

Using archive and contemporary footage and audio, 'Asunder' collages the stories of people from Tyneside and Wearside to uncover what life was like on the home front, with bombs falling on Britain for the first time, conscientious objectors sentenced to death, and women working as doctors, tram conductors and footballers. The narrative moves from an Edwardian golden era, to a war that horrifically reversed this progress. There is a focus on the year 1916 and the Battle of the Somme in which, over the course of just four months, more than one million soldiers were captured, wounded or killed in a confrontation of unimaginable horror.

In directing 'Asunder', Esther Johnson's approach was to reveal hidden social histories - moments of magic during the horror, attempts at finding normality in abnormal circumstances - to find a new way of understanding the war. Johnson researched unusual period footage, such as animations of
zepplins and a man-in-the-moon; sequences of young soldiers play-fighting and tending farm animals; a soldier kissing a girl under the mistletoe; and footage taken from an unsuspecting point-of-view, be it from the front of a tank or from an airship. Johnson took a multi-textured poetic approach in editing archive material alongside newly shot footage showing locations in the North East as they exist now. The script for the film utilises selections from Johnson's research from existing oral testimonies, WW1 diary entries and letters, alongside material from 1914-18 newspapers. The narration for the film is voiced by journalist Kate Adie and actor Alun Armstrong.

Saddam Goes To Hollywood

Mentorn Scotland   |   UK

  • Stephen Finnigan
  • Lizzie Webster
  • ITN Source, Getty Images, Kino Library, BBC, Rex

The story of Saddam's farcical venture into the movie business, revealing for the first time on UK screens, a film that has been lost in a garage in Surrey for 35 years. It involves notorious hell-raiser Oliver Reed, deception, debauchery, black humour and a terrified crew trying desperately to finish a film in a war zone. The movie disappeared along with Saddam's regime. With the discovery of the tapes, cast and crew assemble to piece together with the help from never before seen rushes, behind-the-scenes footage and set photos, the story behind one of the most bizarre movies ever made.

The film mixes beautifully hundreds of hours of found personal archive (from the feature film's producer) much of it going back to original 35mm rushes, along with archive of the period sourced from established archive libraries to tell an extraordinary story of a film, but also the broader context of the Iran-Iraq war.

The War Show

Fridthjof Film   |   Denmark

  • Miriam Norgaard & Alaa Hassan
  • Andreas Dalsgaard & Obaidah Zytoon
  • Alaa Hassan & Adam Nielsen, Obaidah Zytoon and Andreas Dalsgaard
  • Caesar Archive with SAFMCD, RT-Ruptly, AP Archive/Polfoto, Scanpix,

Syrian radio host Obaidah and her friends, join the street protests against the oppressive regime, in 2011. They live together and film as they participate in the demonstrations against President Assad. As the regime's violent response spirals the country into a bloody civil war, their hopes for a better future are tested. Zytoon journeys from her hometown, Zabadani, to the centre of the rebellion, Homs, to northern Syria where she witnesses the rise of extremism. A deeply personal road movie, that captures Syria's fate through the intimate lens of a small circle of friends, whose dreams are turned into nightmares.

Most of the film is filmed by the filmmaker and friends, but to really understand their struggle it was important to contrast the channels by which the government controlled media presented the protests against the protests the Syrian people uploaded on Youtube. It was important, to show Caesar archives, to show that the victims aren't just dead bodies but people who used to live such as Obadiah's friends, as well as to show the Syrian refugee crisis by using pictures of rubber boats and masses on the run, but after getting to know people who have taken this journey.

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On the Night...



Room setup

AP Archive team

Screenocean team

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

Anne Johnson and Gordon Craig - Fremantle

Pam Fisher, Joan Porter MacIver and Brid Dooley

Michael Aplin - Getty Images, Linda Reeve and Kevin Smalley - Getty Images

Tim Emblem-English, Clare Watson-Film London and guest

Sky News team

1912-1992: 80 Years of Olympic Films Restored winners

Adele, Jerry Kuehl, Serge Viallet and Anne Viallet-Thevenin

Robin James - Getty Images and Les Krantz iFocus Films

Michael Aplin - Getty Images, Chris Hulse - BBC Motion Gallery and Chris Prior - Getty Images

Hardeep Sigh Kohli - host



Adrian Wood - Inkula Media

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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FOCAL Awards Promo