Festivals, Events and Awards

Docs blow into the Windy City; countdown to PBS/CPB project pitch; save the date for Sheffield's International doc festival
March 20, 2003

The Chicago International Documentary Festival kicks off its inaugural 10-day event on March 21, 2003. The jam-packed program of more than 100 docs will open with Oliver Stone’s Commandante, and 23 films will compete for the main prize, the Chicago Doc Grand Prix. For the full festival program, visit

The New York, U.S.-based Association of Independent Video and Film (AIVF) is holding its fifth annual Public Television Mentorship Sessions (formerly known as Pitch to Public Television Sessions) on May 22, 2003. The sessions offer AIVF non-fiction producers the chance to pitch documentary projects directly to senior programming staff from PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Applicants must be AIVF members. The deadline for entries is March 27. For more info, visit

The 10th Sheffield International Documentary Festival in the U.K. will be held October 13 to 19, 2003. The festival is now accepting applications for films and videos produced in 2002/03. The deadline for entries is June 1. For more information on how to apply, visit http://

The eighth annual Palm Beach International Film Festival gets under way April 8, 2003. For the first time, the week-long event includes a competition section. Among the six films competing for best documentary are New York, U.S.-based Yale Strom‘s Klezmer on Fish Street making its world debut and fellow New Yorker Dan Klores‘s The Boys of 2nd Street Park. Another New Yorker-directed doc will also open the festival – Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein‘s The Kid Stays in the Picture, about legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans. For more info check out

American Film Institute, BBC Training and Development, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced the postponement of their jointly sponsored event, ‘INTERACTION ’03: A Transatlantic Producers’ Forum’. Originally scheduled for April 1 in London, U.K., the forum will now take place in September. The event is intended to encourage transatlantic cooperation and dialog among producers in the relatively new medium of interactive television. For more information, contact Liza deVilla at

The Florida International Film Festival (March 7 to 16, 2003) ended this past weekend. Among the award winners on March 15 were San Francisco, U.S.-based Jonathan Karsh‘s My Flesh and Blood (special jury award for documentary excellence); New York-based Elaine Epstein‘s State of Denial (audience award for best doc feature) and New York-based Paul Devlin’s Power Trip (grand jury award for best documentary feature).

In the City of Lights, the 25th Cinéma du Réel also closed on March 16, 2003. Taking home the grand prize was Australian director Sharine Salama for A Wedding in Ramallah.

Craving a bit of blackjack in between screenings? The deadline for the CineVegas International Film Festival (June 13 to 21, 2003) in Las Vegas, U.S. is March 31. Download an application form at

The U.K.’s PACT is holding a one-day introductory course on basic elements of production management on April 3, 2003 in Glasgow, Scotland. The ’1st Steps in Factual Production Management’ course will cover such topics as schedule-making and the ins and outs of the independent production budget. This seminar is targeted at industry neophytes – experienced PACT members need not apply. For more information, go to

The Banff Television Foundation announced the dates for this year’s World Congress of Science Producers (December 3 to 6, 2003) and World Congress of History Producers (December 7 to 10). Both events, co-hosted by France Télévisions, will take place in Paris, France. Producers, broadcasters and other industry folk specializing in history, biography and science programming from around the world are expected to participate in the events. For more information, visit and

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts released the list of nominees for its television awards on March 17, 2003. The nominees for the Flaherty documentary award are Michael Atwell’s 9/11: The Tale of Two Towers (Five); Roger Graef and Brian Hill’s Feltham Sings (C4); Peter Taylor, Louise Norman and Bruce Goodison’s SAS Embassy Siege (BBC2); and Benetta Adamson’s Thalidomide – Life at 40 (BBC2). In the category of ‘features’ (formats) are Faking It; Jamie’s Kitchen; Lads Army; and What Not To Wear. The current affairs nominees are Stephen Scott, Gerry Troyna and Andy Davies for Corruption of Racing and Licence To Murder (both from BBC1 strand ‘Panorama’); John Pilger, Christopher Martin and Tony Stark for Palestine Is Still The Issue – A Special Report by John Pilger (ITV1); and Steve Boulton, David Modell and Richard Fabb for Young, Nazi & Proud (C4). The awards will be presented on April 14 in London, U.K.

The U.K.’s Royal Television Society presented its television awards on March 18, 2003. The winners included BBC2′s The Hunt for Britain’s Paedophiles (documentary series, general); Channel 4′s House of War (single documentary, general); BBC4′s Superfly (science and natural history); and Five’s Dambusters: Revealed (history). Peter Balzalgette, the chairman of prodco Endemol UK, who is known for his role in introducing Big Brother to the world, was honored with the Judges’ Award for ‘chang[ing] the terms of factual television.’ The Gold Medal was awarded to ITV’s former director of programs David Liddiment. Liddiment was responsible for scheduling the wildly popular Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and Pop Idol.

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.