Docs

“Three Identical Strangers”, “Minding The Gap” take 2019 Grierson Awards

Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap, Tim Wardle‘s Three Identical Strangers and the Spring Films-produced docuseries Prison are among the winners of the Grierson Trust’s 47th annual British Documentary Awards. The awards ceremony ...
November 14, 2019

Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap, Tim Wardle‘s Three Identical Strangers and the Spring Films-produced docuseries Prison are among the winners of the Grierson Trust’s 47th annual British Documentary Awards.

The awards ceremony — hosted by television personality Rob Rinder – was held Thursday (Nov. 14) at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and saw 15 prizes handed out.

UK pubcaster BBC took seven of the 14 prizes available, including the award for Best Single Documentary – Domestic for Stabbed: Britain’s Knife Crime Crisis (Rogan Productions, On the Corner; directed by Toby Trackman). The 58-minute film follows Duwanye Brooks – who took the Best Presenter gong – investigating the current wave of knife crime and its impact across the UK.

Taking home the hardware in the Best Entertaining Documentary category was Wardle’s Emmy award-nominated film Three Identical Strangers (pictured), which chronicles the bizarre mystery of three young men who were all adopted coming to find that they’re triplets separated at birth, while the Best Cinema Documentary was awarded to Liu’s Academy Award-nominated Minding the Gap, a coming-of-age saga documenting the lives of three skateboarding friends in their Rust Belt hometown hit hard by decades of recession.

Meanwhile, Channel 4′s investigative documentary series Prison (Spring Films), which provides rare insight into prison life and explores the issues that prison staff and prisoners face, was honored with a win in the Best Documentary Series category.

Elsewhere, BBC2′s The Last Survivors from Minnow Films walked away with the Best Historical Documentary prize. The Arthur Cary-directed film provides powerful testimony of the last UK-based Holocaust survivors before their voices are forever lost to time.

As previously reported, Channel 4′s Dorothy Byrne, head of news and current affairs, was feted with the Grierson Trustees’ Award.

In a statement, Grierson Trust chairman Lorraine Heggessey said: “These awards bear the name of the man often called the father of the documentary, John Grierson. In the turbulent times we are living through, Grierson’s ethos has never been more relevant. He believed that film had a crucial role to play in countering threats to democracy and highlighting issues that matter to society. And this year we’ve seen many heavyweight themes running through the films entered for these awards. Documentary makers have been getting under the skin of some of the issues that have caused the deep-rooted schism in our society highlighted by the Brexit debate -  the impact of austerity, gangs and knife-crime, Grenfell, modern slavery, homelessness and immigration. Our finalists tell these stories with an intimacy that illuminates our common humanity. In our winners you will see many examples of bold, compassionate and vital filmmaking. Congratulations to them all.”

For the complete list of winners, with credits supplied by The Griersons, see below:

Best Single Documentary – Domestic
Stabbed: Britain’s Knife Crime Crisis
Director:  Toby Trackman for Rogan Productions in association with On the Corner
BBC1

Best Single Documentary – International
Storyville – The Trial of Ratko Mladic
Director/Producers:  Henry Singer, Rob Miller for Sandpaper Films
BBC4

Highly Commended
Storyville – Under the Wire
Director:  Chris Martin for Arrow Media
General theatrical release

Best Current Affairs Documentary
Iraq: A State of Mind
Director/Producer:  Namak Khoshnaw for BBC Arabic
BBC Arabic

Highly Commended:
Escape from Dubai: The Mystery of the Missing Princess
Director:  Jane McMullen for BBC TV Current Affairs
BBC2

Best Arts or Music Documentary
The Football Club: Artist in Residence
Director:  Marcus Plowright for Storyvault Films
Channel 4

Best Historical Documentary
The Last Survivors
Director:  Arthur Cary for Minnow Films
BBC2

Highly Commended:
A Dangerous Dynasty: House of Assad
72 Films
BBC2

Best Science Documentary
The Parkinson’s Drug Trial: A Miracle Cure?
Director/Producer:  Jemima Harrison for Passionate Productions
BBC2

Best Natural History Documentary
Drowning in Plastic
Director:  Tom Watt-Smith for Raw TV
BBC1

Best Entertaining Documentary
Three Identical Strangers
Director:  Tim Wardle for Raw
Channel 4 and general theatrical release

Highly Commended:
Bros: After the Screaming Stops
Directors:  David Soutar, Joe Pearlman for Fullwell 73
BBC4

Best Documentary Series
Prison
Spring Films
Channel 4

Highly Commended:
Leaving Neverland
Director:  Dan Reed for Amos Pictures
Channel 4

Best Constructed Documentary Series
First Dates Hotel
Twenty Twenty Television
Channel 4

Best Cinema Documentary
Minding the Gap 
Director:  Bing Liu
General theatrical release

Highly Commended:
Matangi / Maya / M.I.A.
Director:  Steve Loveridge
General theatrical release

Best Documentary Short
Zion
Director:  Floyd Russ for Bindery Films
Netflix

Best Student Documentary
Ravens
Director:  Karl Forchhammer
National Film and Television School

Best Documentary Presenter
Duwayne Brooks for Stabbed: Britain’s Knife Crime Crisis
Director:  Toby Trackman for Rogan Productions in association with On the Corner
BBC1

Grierson Trustees’ Award
Dorothy Byrne

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