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Terrorists, communists and giant cockroaches scoop Footage Awards

Top honours in the second annual FOCAL Footage Awards have gone to programmes on subjects ranging from perceptions of terrorism to visualisations of an Olympic Games for animals.
The awards, sponsored by APTN Library, recognise the use of archive footage in the media. They were announced at a ceremony at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in London, and presented by renowned filmmaker Lord Puttnam.
Two of the most highly contested categories were for the use of footage in Current Affairs and History productions. The award for Current Affairs went to the BBC for its 'Power of Nightmares' programme looking at how terrorism is portrayed, while the History prize went to a French production 'Camarades' on the rise and fall of the French Communist Party.
FOCAL Chair Jane Mercer praised the many entries which used footage in an innovative way to illustrate stories and bring programmes to life: “Our world view is shaped by moving images we see around us all the time, in cinemas, schools or on televisions, computers and mobile phones. The FOCAL awards recognise the power and vitality of the footage industry not only in the international media but in the daily experience of people throughout the world.”
In the Wildlife category natural history footage was used by John Downer Productions to create 'Animal Games', simulating athletic contests between animals and scaling them so that a cheetah could race a two-meter-high cockroach.
The rise of feature length documentaries also produced a strong category and the winner in this category is Michael Moore’s 'Fahrenheit 9/11', which drew heavily on archive footage of the War on Terror and Iraq.
Recognition was also given to the use of clips in entertainment programmes where the sheer volume of hard work and expertise in clearing the literally hundreds of clips involved, is often unacknowledged and FOCAL was delighted to welcome to the Awards Denis Norden whose '11th Laughter File' was amongst the nominations.
The two blue-ribbon awards were for Researcher of the Year and Footage Library of the Year.
Adrian Wood added to his list of prestigious credits by being named Researcher of the Year along with Polly Pettit for work on 'Japan’s War', produced by TWI/Carlton.
The programme showed the war from a Japanese viewpoint, using colour archive never seen before. So detailed was their research in turning up and using long-forgotten footage that the programme also won an award for postproduction work required to clean and restore much of the film to a watchable state.
The French national archive INA (Institut National de l’Audiovsuel) was named Footage Library of the Year for its Inamedia online outlet. The massive project has succeeded in putting 200,000 hours of digitised material online using sophisticated tools for access and selection in both French and English. The French also walked away with several other awards including those for best use of footage in an advertisement and in a pop music video.
FOCAL Chair Jane Mercer was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award by the FOCAL executive in recognition of her career as a skilled and successful film researcher, and as an ambassador for the footage industry.
Winners were voted on by the FOCAL membership, after being narrowed down to three finalists in each category by jurors from the UK, France, Germany, Australia and the USA.
Nearly 200 entries were received from a huge range of countries including Norway, Australia, Belgium, Israel, the Netherlands, Canada, Tunisia and the Czech Republic.

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