At this year’s Grierson British Documentary Awards, held last week, the Grierson Trust awarded Exit Through the Gift Shop, the directorial debut from notorious graffiti artist Banksy, with the ‘most entertaining documentary’ honor. Jury chairman Emma Hindley said it was a unanimous decision from the jury. ‘It’s a flawlessly made film; original and insightful, it asks questions rather than telling you what to think and at the same time, manages to be very, very funny.’ Given the nature of the subject matter and Banksy’s own elusive image, there are those who have said the film may be more mockumentary than documentary, but that didn’t seem to trouble the Grierson jury. While (predictably) not on hand to receive the award, the street artist did send a taped video where he jokingly proclaimed, ‘I’ve always dreamt of winning a Grierson Award ever since I first heard about them two weeks ago.’
Other winners during the evening included Patrick Forbes, who took the best documentary series gong for Channel 4′s The Force (profiled here by realscreen), and Mugabe and the White African, directed by Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson, which claimed the best cinema documentary prize.
Julien Temple’s Requiem for Detroit was awarded as best historical documentary, while Arena: T.S. Eliot, directed by Adam Low, received the nod for best arts doc. Acclaimed director Penny Woolcock (Tina Goes Shopping) received the Trustee’s Award, while two other Channel 4 projects claimed prizes: Mat Whitecross’ Moving to Mars won the award for best documentary on a contemporary issue and David Hickman’s Race and Intelligence: Science’s Last Taboo was named best science documentary. Other prizes were awarded to Peter Travis and Paula Milne for Endgame (best drama documentary) and Andrew Lang, named best newcomer for his effort, Sons of Cuba.