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FOCAL International Awards Celebrate Winners

22 May 2008

FOCAL International the trade body representing the world’s footage archives, professional footage researchers, consultants and facility houses enjoyed an evening of glamour and celebration last night at their 2008 5th FOCAL International Awards in association with AP Archive.

Category winners represented the diversity of genres and platforms that contemporary archive and footage based productions span today; highlights included the BBC stealing three awards for best use of footage across the Factual, Arts and Sports categories for Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain, BBC Music Entertainments’ Brasil, Brasil and BBC Birmingham’s Nation on Film – Caribbean Cricket.

However, they didn’t have it all their own way with French documentary makers Kuiv Productions and Point du Jour scooping the other two winning spots in the Best Use of Footage in a Factual Production category with Being Jewish in France (Etre Juif en France) and The Rape of Nanking, respectively. Italy was also represented with MIR Cinematografica’s We Want Roses Too (Vogliamo Anche le Rose) produced entirely with archive footage from the 60s and 70s which won the Award for Best Use of Footage in a Feature Length Production.

Pett TV’s amusing Memoirs of a Cigarette which went out to mark the introduction of the UK smoking ban in public places was stuffed full of television, film and archive advertising clips and earnt them the prize for Best Use of Footage in an Entertainment Production. Further amusement was afforded by some of the nominations in the Best Use of Footage in an Advertisement category, and the winning entry showed what could be done when a pair of Diesel trainers are digitally attached to the feet of a 70s disco dancer in Diesel 78: Learn Disco Dance produced by Hexstatic.

The 2008 awards and keynote speech were presented by celebrated British film-maker Lord Puttnam, FOCAL International’s Chair of Patrons.

The judging panel, led by Jerry Kuehl, a previous FOCAL Lifetime Achievement Awards winner and veteran history producer chose winners from 200 submissions from 12 countries. These awards spanned 16 categories designed to recognise productions which have used library archive and stock footage in an imaginative and innovative way and to acknowledge the work of key services involved with preservation and restoration, plus those archives and individuals who have served the industry well.

The evening welcomed a host of footage archive executives, researchers, technicians and other media professionals from the UK and around the world, including France, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Canada the USA and Australia.

Further highlights included Vera Productions’ scooping Best use of Footage in a Short Production for Don't Watch That, Watch This which also helped towards earning the coveted Jane Mercer Footage Researcher of the Year Award for Vera’s regular archive specialist Val Evans.

Four nominations were highlighted for an award in the Restoration and Preservation category, but it was the monumental work of restoring and re-releasing 84 titles from five pioneer documentarists, considered to be of huge cultural importance, that earnt the winning prize for the BFI National Archive’s Documentary Centenaries.

The National Archive’s Focus on Film won an award for its excellent use of web-based electronic media in which film can be investigated and clips edited in a free to access interactive learning experience.

AP Archive, received the popular vote from FOCAL International members to become Footage Library of the Year.

This year’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award went to Elizabeth Klinck.

During the past 25 years, Elizabeth has worked as a highly respected Producer, Researcher and Clearance Specialist on numerous award-winning Canadian, American and British documentary films, but she has also given back to the community that fosters her career by regularly leading research and rights clearance workshops at many international conferences and broadcasters. Continually in demand, Elizabeth further dedicates herself by serving as a member of the FOCAL International Executive, and also on the boards of the Audio Visual Trust of Canada, History Makers, and the Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival. She is also the founding chairperson of the Visual Researchers’ Society of Canada.

These accolades represent the only global competition dedicated to the celebration of the use of footage by producers together with the recognition of achievements of professionals within the archive industry.