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Record entries, wider reach for focal awards: the nominees are...

200 entries, including first-time nominations from China, Finland, Israel and Hungary were submitted for the third annual FOCAL International Awards in association with APTN Library, celebrating the use of archive footage and images.

The total was an increase of 10 per cent over last year with the UK, France, Germany, USA, Australia, Italy and Canada accounting for most of the submissions.

An international jury has now whittled down the nominations to the best three in 14 categories with the winners to be announced at a prestigious ceremony at London’s Savoy Hotel on May 15.

The juries praised the highly creative use of archive which saw it used to tell innovative stories about icons like Bob Dylan, or explain difficult situations such as the Middle East conflict.

As always, the most hotly contested categories were for use of footage in Factual History and Entertainment, but clip based entertainment shows have been very popular with broadcasters and a large number were entered. Together these categories made up more than half the nominations.

“We at FOCAL are thrilled and encouraged by the growing awareness of and enthusiasm to take part in these our third Awards,” commented Sue Malden, Chair of FOCAL International. “The high quality of the programming in terms of content and the truly international spread of sources reflect a huge growth in the use of archive footage in all media. Our Awards recognize the vital importance of footage content and those who preserve and distribute it – not to mention the researchers and producers who access the footage and use it in their productions to such wonderful effect, despite their unrealistically low budgets.”

Award for Best Use of Footage in a Current Affairs Production

Documentaries prompted by problems in the Middle East dominated this category with Elusive Peace and Conflicts: Iran being shortlisted. The topical UK production How to be a Tory Leader secured the other nomination.

Award for Best Use of Footage in a Factual History Production

Nearly 60 programmes were viewed from a wide range of countries. After much deliberation it was A Very British Olympics, Canada's War in Colour and Churchill: the Forgotten Years which were shortlisted.

Award for Best Use of Footage in an Entertainment, Arts or Drama Production

There were more than 40 programmes to view from irreverent comedy through all forms of the arts. However it was the year of Bob Dylan with nominations for both American Masters: Dylan, No Direction Home, which featured footage seamlessly interwoven with the enigmatic Dylan telling his own story, and Arena’s: Dylan in the Madhouse, a programme about a BBC drama recorded in 1962/3 and then wiped. Music also featured in the third nomination, Girls & Boys: Sex & British Pop.

Award for Best Use of Footage in a Clip Based Entertainment Production

This category showed the continuing appetite for “100 best….” and blooper type programmes. The Jurors chose to nominate The Comedians’ Comedian and TV Makeovers that Changed the World both from North One Television and The World’s Greatest Supermodel made by Shine.

Award for Best Use of Footage in a Science or Natural History Production

Integrating wildlife stock footage with graphics and weaving it into an imaginative story marked the BBC’s Animal Crime Scene: African Assassin out for nomination. Climate Challenge packed an amazing number of stockshots into a 2 minute production and caught the eye of the Jury. Finally The Pet and the Beast - 100 Years of Natural History Perception from Marco Polo in Germany was nominated for being a showcase of the way we have filmed animals.

Award for Best Use of Footage in a Sports Production

The Olympic bids led to a number of programmes on the subject being submitted along with documentaries on football, golf and motor racing all making use of the footage archives. The nominations are: A Very British Olympics from the BBC which has also been nominated in the History Factual category along with Dare To Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team from HBO and Scots on Speed from Caledonia TV Productions.

Award for Best Use of Footage in an Advertisement / Pop Music Video / Corporate Production

Showing off even more creative use of footage, nominations include: Cluedo "Guilty"; HSBC "Gorillas"; and Virgin Trains "Falling in love with the train", an ingenious concept, packing 5 feature film clips into one short ad!

The pop videos nominated include: Alain Souchon singing: Et en plus il n'y a personne; Audio Bullys: Shot You Down; and Soulwax: NY Excuse.

The Nominations for Corporates include: A History of European Economic and Monetary Union; Sanyo LCD Television In-Store Demonstration and Souvenirs de Pau.

Award for Best Use of Footage in a Feature Film

This category attracted six submissions from 6 different countries and the Jury came up with three clear nominations: Favela Rising showing the disturbing reality of life experienced in the slums of Rio de Janeiro; Good Night, and Good Luck which integrates actuality footage with the dramatic broadcasts of CBS’ Ed Murrow in the 50s which led to the eventual downfall of McCarthy. In a very different vein, Sean O’Casey – Under A Coloured Cap followed the life of the playwright through the sympathetic eyes of his daughter Shivaun.

Award for Best Use of Footage in New Media

The Judges were impressed with Film Australia’s Wilderness DVD and both the CBC and British Movietonews websites, and also commended the Gaumont-Pathé website as an excellent example of work in progress.

Award for Archive Restoration or Preservation Project

This award is designed to highlight the skills of the archivists and facility houses involved. The three nominations highly commended were Beyond the Rocks starring Gloria Swanson which was found and remastered in The Netherlands, Black Narcissus and Electric Edwardians incorporating the celebrated Mitchell and Kenyon footage.

Award for Footage Researcher of the Year

The International panel of Jurors for this category, all of whom are professional Footage Researchers, judged the skills used in researching the diverse topics cited - locating footage, often never seen before, clearing and licensing it right through to delivery. The Nominations are: Angela Spindler-Brown for A Very British Olympics; Declan Smith and Nava Mizrahi for Israel and the Arabs, Elusive Peace; Peter Fera for The Pet and the Beast - 100 Years of Natural History Perception.

Award for Footage Library of the Year

APTN Library, British Movietonews, Film Images, Footage Farm were submitted and so all four will go through as Nominations for this award, and all FOCAL Researcher members will be invited to choose the winner during March.

Award for Lifetime Achievement

This category is still open for Submissions but it has to be someone who is a FOCAL Member. Please send your Nominations to with up to 100 words in support of your Nomination.

The international Jury of 44, sponsored by ABCNEWS Videosource was led by veteran history producer and winner of FOCAL’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2004, Jerry Kuehl.
“Choosing who’s going to make it to the short list is like choosing between Thursday and a baked potato! It’s a damn near impossible job,” said Jerry Kuehl. “None of our jurors threw tantrums, staged walkouts, nor had hissy fits. They were conscientious, dedicated, indefatigable. Bravo!“
Their names are listed on the website at
The full list of Submissions and Nominations, with supporting text at

The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony at the Savoy Hotel in London 15th May hosted by Lord Puttnam, Chair of Patrons, FOCAL International and a guest keynote speaker.

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