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FOCAL Awards Honour Footage Triumphs

1 March 2005

International productions have dominated the final selections for the moving image industry’s annual awards, as members now take their turn to decide on the ultimate winners.

The FOCAL International Awards in association with APTN Library are the highest honours given out by the footage world, voted on by producers, researchers, archivists, facility companies and library owners.

Nearly 200 entries were received in 15 categories, designed to highlight the use and importance of archive in productions ranging from TV broadcast and Feature Films to Electronic Publishing and Post Production.

Two of the most keenly contested areas, for the use of footage in History and in Entertainment productions, reflected the diversity of entries and the quality of international programmes.

The History category alone attracted 55 entries and the three finalists were praised for using detailed research to support fascinating stories.

· “Different Times” (Andere Tijden, produced by NPS, Netherlands) used many unseen films from small and private collections combined with diaries and interviews to illustrate the realities of life under German occupation during World War 2 in a huge 17 part series.

· “Comrades” (Camarades, il était une fois les communistes français produced by La Compagnie des Phares et Balises, France) used the archives of the French Communist party to tell an extraordinary story of its pre and post 2nd world war influence, and the people who lived through its rise and fall.

· And “Mr Patterns” (produced by Film Australia) pieced together the story of an art teacher in a remote community who helped recognise Aboriginal culture, sensitively integrating Mr Pattern’s own home movies with the narrative.

In the Feature Film section American entries both dominated and impressed the jury, revealing a strength in feature-length documentaries not matched elsewhere. Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 is joined by Going Upriver, the story of John Kerry’s Vietnam war experience and Giuliani Time, a look at the career of the former mayor of New York.

The entries were narrowed down to a maximum of three finalists in each category by a jury with members from the US, Australia, France, Germany and the UK. They will now be opened up to Focal members for the final judging.

“We at FOCAL are thrilled and encouraged by the wide range of entries in these our second Awards – both in terms of content and the truly international spread of sources,” commented Jane Mercer, Chair of FOCAL International. “The past twenty years have seen a huge growth in the use of archive footage in all the audio-visual media, especially television and recently on the web. Our Awards are a timely recognition of the vital and growing importance of this content – and those who preserve, collect, distribute and protect it, as well as those who use it to such wonderful effect in their productions throughout the world.”

While there was praise for the widespread creativity of productions and many original uses of footage, the judges also singled out some of the practices that show the darker side of archives.

“American aircraft bombing the American fleet at Pearl Harbour in 1941, 1927 shots of New York which featured cars not made until 1937, and a vertical travelling shot of Paris from the Eiffel tower taken in 1889, six years before the Lumiere brothers developed their movie camera,” were highlighted by Jury Chairman Jerry Kuehl as some of the more embarrassing examples which were not being considered for awards.

The awards will be presented by Lord David Puttnam on May 9 at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in London.

FOCAL members are able to vote on the finalists in each category and can view clips and more details through the FOCAL website at

About FOCAL International:

The Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries International Ltd, is a not-for-profit professional trade association providing excellent networking and marketing opportunities for content industry professionals and giving users easy access to over 300 members worldwide:

FOOTAGE LIBRARIES selling clips, archive, footage, stock shots, stills, audio FOOTAGE RESEARCHERS with the professional skills to find and deliver the material, on time, within budget, rights cleared FOOTAGE CONSULTANTS to advise on content management solutions and use of valuable library assets FACILITIES with the technical equipment and expertise to store, restore or deliver the material on any format MEDIA LAWYERS specialising in media and copyright issues. Use FOOTAGE FINDER a FREE service emailing your request for content to all libraries in one hit, or, search the extensive Members' DIRECTORY for content subjects, contacts, skills and services. Need an ARCHIVE FOOTAGE RESEARCHER fast? Call FOCAL on +44 (0)20 8423 5853


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