1 January 2004
By the close of play on 9th January more than 130 submissions to the FOCAL International Awards had been received.
"Forty-two titles had been entered for the Best Use of Footage in a Factual Production alone!" commented FOCAL's General Manager, Julie Lewis. Empire, Churchill, The First World War, The Fall of Milosevic and George Orwell are amongst the many contenders produced in the UK, but we have also had a terrific response from all over the world: La Liberation from Belgium, Tintin et Moi from Denmark, Four Corners from Australia, Kuxa Kanema from Portugal and Peter Jennings Reporting: "I Have a Dream" from the USA, to name but a few."
"People tend to think of just historical or political documentaries using 'archive footage' but they may not be aware of the rich amount of stock and other library footage that exists and can be used in all kinds of productions. Lots of wildlife programmes like Natural World: White Shark, Red Triangle and Wildlife on One: Amazon Assassin submitted by the BBC, also make good use of library footage as they can't be sending crews out all the time for such specialist footage!"
'It's FOCAL's first venture into the world of 'awards' competitions and this response is hugely encouraging. The footage industry had been poorly recognised and respected until now, but as the representative trade body, FOCAL felt it was time that excellence in this field was acknowledged and rewarded."
The second most popular category is for the Best Researcher with twenty-one names being put forward for the prized title. The Best Use of Footage in an Entertainment Production has attracted well known UK titles such as Kirsty's Home Videos and TV's Naughtiest Blunders but it is also refreshing to see how library footage is being used to great effect in a crop of feature films premiered in 2003 such as bodysong, The Last Round: Chuvalo vs Ali from the National Film Board of Canada and BertolucciÕs Dreamers.
"Fifteen titles have been entered for the Best Use of Footage in an Entertainment Production, amongst them Les Martin from France showing how drama and archive footage can be seamlessly interwoven into a serialisation of family life over thirty years, and Recto Verso, also from France, taking the celebrity interview to a new level."
"The competition was totally open and we are delighted that tape entries have been sent in from all over the world," Julie Lewis continued, "We've also received a good number of submissions for the Best Use of Footage in an Advertisement and in a Pop Music Promo which again shows the broad range of uses to which library and stock footage can be put."
Eight contenders have come forward for the accolade of Best Post Production work on an Archive Based Production. The skill and artistry of people working in facility houses often goes unnoticed, but bringing old and damaged footage back to its original condition, and sometimes making it even better than before needs to be recognised. Work done by Metro Broadcast, The Machine Room and The Edit Store in the UK and Programm33 and Tigre Productions in France are amongst those companies cited for an award.
Ten FOCAL Award categories have been created and prizes will be presented by former archive producer and now chair of the CRE, Trevor Phillips, at the London Television Centre on 11th May.
"The FOCAL Members will decide who walks away with the prizes," said FOCAL's Commercial Manager, Anne Johnson, "In order to get as many of them as possible involved in the voting process FOCAL has signed up i2i Technology Limited to stream all the submissions via a password protected site accessible through the existing www.focalint.org It will be a major undertaking, but it does allow for more democracy than relying totally on a jury's verdict. For those who prefer to view in a more conventional way, Ascent Media have kindly offered to host a number of screenings at their London viewing theatre."
The full list of competitors will be made available in the next few weeks and voting papers will be distributed in mid February to be returned by 1st April.
"This looks set to be a great contest," exclaimed Julie Lewis, "All we need now is some more sponsors to help make the presentation evening on the 11th May a real gala event!"
The Federation of Commercial Audio Visual Libraries International is a not-for-profit professional trade organisation. For more information: