BBC dominates Grierson Awards shortlist

The BBC has topped the list of nominees for the Grierson Trust's British Documentary Awards shortlist, with nearly 40 titles earning nods, including Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die and Frozen Planet (pictured).
August 2, 2012

The BBC has topped the list of nominees for the Grierson Trust’s British Documentary Awards shortlist, with nearly 40 titles earning nods, including Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die and Frozen Planet (pictured).

UK broadcaster Channel 4 (C4) also racked up nominations, for titles including Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, Educating Essex and Inside Nature’s Giants.

The 40th annual Grierson Awards, which are this year being presented in associate with Sky Arts, aim to honor the best in documentary filmmaking. “The shortlist contains some of the most talked about television of 2010/11 and some little known gems,” said Dawn Airey, chairman of the Grierson Trust. “I wish them all the very best as they prepare to battle it out to the final nominations and on to victory in November.”

For the Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme – Domestic award, the following titles made the shortlist: Channel 4′s Dispatches: Britain’s Sex Gangs from True Vision Productions; the theatrically released Ad Hoc Films’ The Four Year Plan; BBC2′s My Child the Rioter; BBC1′s ‘Panorama’ title Undercover Care – The Abuse Exposed, from BBC Productions; BBC2′s Protecting Our Children: Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don’t, from BBC Bristol; BBC2′s Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die, from Keo North; BBC1′s Transplant from Lion TV; and C4′s We Need to Talk About Dad from Rare Day.

In the category for Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme – International, shortlisted titles were: Al Jazeera English’s Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark; BBC2′s BAKA: A Cry from the Rainforest from River Films; BBC2′s Children of the Tsunami from Renegade Pictures; theatrically released doc Crime After Crime from Life Sentence Films; For Neda from Mentorn Media and Hell and Back Again from Roast Beef Productions, both for More4; ITV1′s The Life and Loss of Karen Woo from Century Films; and C4′s Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields from ITN.

The Best Arts Documentary shortlisted titles are: BBC4′s Beyond the Notes from BeBop Productions and The Camera That Changed the World from Lambent Productions; C4 titles Crucifixion, from The Garden Productions, and Graffiti Wars from Two Four Productions; BBC2′s Jeremy Deller: Middle Class Hero from BBC Scotland, Lucien Freud: Painted Life from Blakeway Productions, and Queen: Days of Our Lives from Globe Productions; and BBC4′s Rostropovich: The Genius of the Cello from ITN Productions.

For the Best Historical Documentary category, the titles are: ITV1′s 9/11: Day that Changed the World from Brook Lapping Productions; C4′s Britain’s Greatest Code Breaker from Furnace Productions and The Plot to Bring Down Britain’s Planes from Raw TV; BBC2′s Double Agent: The Eddie Chapman Story from Walker George Films; and five BBC4 titles: Fight to Save the World: Sergio from Passion Pictures, The King and the Playwright: A Jacobean History – Equivocation from Green Bay Media, The Love of Books: A Sarajevo Story from Oxford Film and Television, and World War Two: 1941 and the Man of Steel from Barnes Hassid Productions.

In the Best Science Documentary category, titles that made the cut are: BBC4′s After Life: The Strange Science of Decay; National Geographic’s The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space Odyssey; BBC1′s Frozen Planet: On Thin Ice from the BBC Natural History Unit and Earthflight – North America from John Downer Productions; BBC2′s Frontline Medicine: Survival and My Life as a Turkey from Passion Pictures; and C4′s Inside Nature’s Giants – Sperm Wale from Windfall Films and Mummifying Alan from Blink Films.

The Most Entertaining Documentary shortlisted nominees are: The Bengali Detective from Native Voice Films, which was first shown at the Cambridge Film Festival; BBC2′s The Choir: Military Wives – episode 1 from Twenty Twenty TV; C4′s Elizabeth Taylor – Auction of a Lifetime from Silver River Productions; BBC2′s A Hasidic Guide to Love, Marriage and Finding a Bride; C4′s Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder from RDF Television; BBC4′s Perfume: Something Old, Something New from The Garden Productions; BBC4′s Rich Hall’s Continental Drifters from Open Mike Productions; and BBC4′s Timothy Spall: All at Sea – The Last Splash from Barge Pole Productions.

In the Best Documentary Series category, the following were shortlisted: BBC4′s Catholics from Wingspan Productions; BBC1′s Earthflight from John Downer Productions; C4′s Educating Essex from Twofour ProductionsBBC1′s Frozen Planet from BBC NHU; BBC2′s Money; BBC3′s Our War; BBC2′s Protecting Our Children from BBC Productions and Putin, Russia & The West from Brook Lapping Productions.

Feature docs up for the Best Cinema Documentary prize include Liz Garbus’ Bobby Fischer Against the World; Morley Productions’ Dreams of a Life; Ian Palmer’s Knuckle; Kevin Macdonald’s Marley, James Marsh’s Project Nim, Ron Fricke’s Samsara; Errol Morris’ Tabloid; and Anthony Baxter’s You’ve Been Trumped.

The Best Newcomer Documentary’s shortlisted titles are: Barbaric Genius from Screenworks; C4′s Gypsy Blood from ClearStory; Al Jazeera English’s Holding the Line; Current TV’s How to Start a Revolution from Lion TV; BBC1′s Panorama: The Truth about Adoption from Films of Record; C4′s The Sinking of the Concordia: Caught on Camera from Dragonfly Film and Television; More 4′s Up in Smoke from Notion Pictures; and BBC1′s When I Die.

In the final category, the shortlisted nominees for the Best Student Documentary prize are: The Betrayal from Karen Winther, for the National Film & Television School; Kirkcaldy Man from Julian Schwanitz for Edinburgh College of Art; The Marble Village from Ioana Dorobantu, for the London College of Communication; The Men in White Coats from Rob Harper, for the National Film & Television School; Missing Piece from Lucas Barr, George Ellis and Matt Hyland, for the Liverpool John Moores University; Mostar from Sebastian Feehan and Josh Bamford, for the Newport Film School; One More Kiss from Chris Christodoulou for the National Film & Television School; and Streets in the Sky from Leon Seth.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.