C4 commissions docs for ‘First Cut,’ ‘Artists in Residence’ strands

British pubcaster Channel 4 has commissioned a raft of projects for two of its doc strands. Seven documentary films by up-and-coming directors have been greenlit for ‘First Cut’ — a doc ...
August 18, 2017

British pubcaster Channel 4 has commissioned a raft of projects for two of its doc strands.

Seven documentary films by up-and-coming directors have been greenlit for ‘First Cut’ — a doc strand devoted to new talent.

The hour-long films explore a variety of pressing issues that run the gamut from racial segregation through to the impact of Brexit on Britain’s temporary workforce.

“Developing new talent continues to be a focus for Channel 4′s documentaries team,” said Channel 4 commissioning executive Rita Daniels, who curates the ‘First Cut’ strand, in a statement. “We want to help the next generation of successful storytellers find their voice and we are proud to have such a diverse group of directors authoring such a wonderfully eclectic mix of films.”

The films included in ‘First Cut’s upcoming season include Luned Tonderai’s White Kid Brown Kid (Windfall Films; pictured), in which two young girls attempt to become and remain friends in one of Britain’s most racially segregated towns: Dewsbury in West Yorkshire; and Ahmed Peerbux’s How to Start an Airline (w/t; Darlow Smithson Productions), about a Bangladeshi-British businessman to launch an Islam-compliant airline in the UK.

Also featured in the lineup are Fred Windsor-Clive’s British Workers Wanted (w/t; Drummer TV), following the efforts of a UK recruitment agency providing temporary workers with employment in the wake of a mass exodus of Eastern European employees due to Brexit; Sara Kandasamy’s The Surgeon’s Apprentice (Windfall Films) traces three generations of neurosurgeons at St. George’s Hospital in London at crucial crossroads in their lives; and Camilla Arnold’s Deaf School (w/t; Flashing Lights Media) about three deaf teenagers as they navigate the challenges of life at one of the most exclusive boarding schools for the hearing-impaired in the world.

Rounding out the slate are Tom Pursey’s The Internet, Cancer & Me (w/t; Amos Pictures), shadowing three young cancer patients recording their battles with cancer for the world to see; and Ross Bolidai’s The Sleep Clinic (STV Productions), in which people with the most extreme and debilitating conditions are treated under the watchful eye of leading sleep scientists.

Elsewhere, C4 has commissioned three documentaries featuring different artists for its new arts strand ‘Artists in Residence’ (w/t).

Each artist will be filmed for an individual documentary, which will air on C4 in 2018 as part of a new strand featuring acclaimed artists placed in unlikely settings to create work in response to their surroundings. All three films will document the creative process and response from locals in Birmingham.

In one doc, multimedia artist Rachel Maclean has moved into one of the busiest shopping centres in the UK, Bullring Birmingham. She has immersed herself in the retail space and will not leave the building until she has completed a brand new work in response to her surroundings and the people she encounters. Firecrest Films is producing Maclean’s film, while the executive producer is Iain Scollay.

Maclean joins painter Tai Shan Schierenberg and performance artist and theater-maker Bryony Kimmings, who are spending time at West Bromwich Albion Football Club and Whittall Street Sexual Health Clinic respectively in order to create their own artwork.

Schierenberg is spending time at West Bromwich Albion Football Club following the manager, team and fans during this year’s season. Schierenberg’s film is produced by Storyvault Films. Danielle Graham as executive producer.

Meanwhile, Kimmings will immerse herself at a clinic run by the largest sexual health service in the UK, Umbrella, Birmingham and Solihull Sexual Health. She will create personalized performance pieces and installations which she will give to some of the people she meets there. Kimmings’ film is being produced by The Garden with Zac Beattie executive producing.

According a release, the films reflect John Hay’s, head of specialist factual, push to expand the channel’s ‘artist-authored documentary’ approach to arts programming.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.