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Pioneering producer-director to receive FOCAL International Lifetime Achievement award

7 March 2017

The award-winning producer-director, Serge Viallet is the recipient of the 2017 FOCAL International Lifetime Achievement Award.


London, UK - 7th March 2017

In a celebrated and innovative career, Serge Viallet has been creating documentary films specialising in the use of archive footage for almost 30 years. He has worked with multiple archives across the world and has been lecturing on archive documentation, research and use in film at Sorbonne University since 2012. He has won several awards for his meticulously crafted productions including FOCAL International awards in 2008 and 2009 for The Rape of Nanking and Mysteries in the Archives, and was nominated for an Emmy for Kwai, his landmark and revealing film on the true story behind the building of the bridge over the river Kwai.

Upon receiving news of his win, Viallet said: "I am so proud and moved to have been honoured with this award. I am so thankful to all my mentors around the world who have supported me throughout my career. I am also grateful to all the wonderful archivists and archive lovers whose work has been so valuable in helping me produce my films. Thank you FOCAL!"

FOCAL International, the Federation of Commercial Audio-visual Libraries, today announced that pioneering producer-director, Serge Viallet, is to receive the FOCAL International Award for Lifetime Achievement, at the fourteenth annual FOCAL International Awards, to be presented on 25th May, 2017. This Award is a gift of the FOCAL International Executive, as a mark of gratitude for Serge's dedicated and exhaustive support of the footage archive world through his prodigious body of work.

Historian and archive expert, Jerry Kuehl, comments: "Serge Viallet makes programmes that are scrupulous in their commitment to
archival integrity - and eminently watchable. In the era of 'post-truth' and 'alternative facts' he stands for the finest in our documentary tradition. He richly deserves this recognition."

Not only has Serge been a great friend and champion of archives from behind the camera, and on the industry's frontline, he has also played an important role in facilitating the preservation of over 30 years of Medecins Sans Frontieres footage, shot for and by the famed humanitarian organization, and this collection is now safely established at INA, France's national audiovisual archive.

"The FOCAL executive is delighted to award Serge Viallet with this year's lifetime achievement award. His filmmaking represents some of the best examples of understanding the integrity of archival footage, while still creating new & engaging ways of looking at history. What better place to honour this dedication to the craft than at the 2017 FOCAL International awards on the 25th May." Sue Malden - FOCAL International Chair

Hardeep Singh Kohli will host the gala FOCAL International Awards Ceremony on 25th May at the Lancaster London Hotel. Apart from the Lifetime Achievement Award, fourteen further awards will be presented on 25th May to celebrate the achievement of producers and directors in the creative use of footage in all variety of genres, across all media platforms plus the contribution made to the global production industry by archivists, film libraries, researchers and technicians, as well as the work done to restore and preserve these irreplaceable assets.

Jurors from across the world are shortlisting the FOCAL International Awards 2017; these fascinating and diverse submissions are joined together by their creative & integral use of archive footage. The FOCAL awards have become a vital way of celebrating the best and most effective use of archive footage in storytelling on screen and this year is no different. And while they celebrate productions, the awards also celebrate the people that make everything possible, with exceptionally strong competition for the categories of best archive researcher, library and footage employee of the year.

The final shortlist of all categories will be announced on 17th March and all details on the productions will be listed on our website.
Tickets for the Gala Awards Ceremony 25th May go on sale today, so you'll need to hurry if you want to book a table and take advantage of our Early Bird prices!


Please talk with MARY EGAN at FOCAL International if you are interested +44 (0)20 3178 3535

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The Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries International is a professional not-for-profit trade association formed in 1985. It is fully established as one of the leading voices in the industry, with a membership of over 300 international companies and individuals. Its purpose is to facilitate the use of library footage, images, stills and audio in all forms of media production; promote its members - libraries selling content plus those whose serve the industry; provide a platform for members to promote themselves and their interests; encourage good practise in the research, licensing, copyright clearance and use of footage; support, promote and educate on the need to preserve and restore footage and content; act as an information resource for the footage and content industry; offer training in key skills and in the broader appreciation of the footage and content industry.