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15/05/2007

FOCAL International Awards Celebrate Winners

FOCAL International the trade body representing the world’s footage archives, professional footage researchers, consultants and facility houses enjoyed an evening of glamour and celebration last night (Monday, May 14) at their 2007 4th FOCAL International Awards in association with AP Archive.
The 2007 awards and keynote speech were presented by founding Chief Executive of Channel 4 Sir Jeremy Isaacs and hosted by celebrated British film-maker Lord Puttnam, FOCAL International’s Chair of Patrons.
The judging panel, led by Jerry Kuehl, a previous FOCAL Lifetime Achievement Awards winner and veteran history producer chose winners from a record 207 submissions from 22 countries. These awards spanned 16 categories designed to recognise productions which have used library archive and stock footage in an imaginative and innovative way and to acknowledge the work of key services involved with preservation and restoration, plus those archives and individuals who have served the industry well.
The evening welcomed a host of footage archive executives, researchers, technicians and other media professionals from the UK and around the world, including Sweden, France, Germany, the USA, Canada and New Zealand. Amongst industry and diplomatic acolytes in attendance were the Right Honourable Jonathan Hunt, High Commissioner for New Zealand and celebrities including Denis Norden and Peter Snow from the UK, plus one of the original Lindy Hoppers, Norma Miller, who had flown in especially from Miami to support the nominated production 'Queen of Swing'.
A Special Award for Promoting the Use of Footage in Entertainment Productions was given to 'It’ll Be Alright On The Night' star Denis Norden.
Norden is one of television and radio’s most established and popular performers. He has sustained a reputation for over 50 years as a comedy writer, author and presenter, but more important to the footage industry, his clip and blooper programmes, not to mention dozens of copycat versions, have generated work for footage researchers and footage archives the world over.
Category winners represented the diversity of genres and platforms that contemporary archive and footage based productions span today; highlights included the double winner from France for Best Use of Footage in an Entertainment Production for 'L’Aventurière', with Anne Connan also winning the Footage Researcher of the Year award for the same production. This wasn’t the only foreign nomination to do well. 'Miss Universe 1929 – Lisl Goldarbeiter. A Queen in Wien', an Austrian/Netherlands co-production scooped one of the Factual prizes, whilst 'Chernobyl: The Invisible Thief' made by German director Christoph Boekel and 'Hockey: A People’s History' made by CBC also received awards for their use of archive footage. CBC was further awarded in the Restoration and Preservation category for the monumental work of restoring and releasing 16 hours worth of the early works of animator Norman McLaren in a seven pack DVD collection.
Three Awards were destined for Best Use of Footage in Factual Productions, with one going to 'Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple', another going to Miss Universe 1929, as mentioned already, and also to Nation On Film, a series produced for BBC 4 using all amateur footage to tell real life stories of a bygone era. The BBC also scooped prizes for best use of footage in Folk Britannia and the favourite to win ‘Short’ production, BBC Radio 2 ‘Elvis’ trailer.
Best Use of Footage in a Feature Length Production or Film proved a tough choice for the judges this year with both 'Deep Water' by APT Films/Darlow Smithson Productions/UK , and 'The U.S. vs John Lennon' from Authorized Pictures/USA coming in as Joint Winners
Footage Farm, whose moto is ‘Creativity through Affordability’ received the popular vote from FOCAL Members to become Footage Library of the Year.
This year’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award went to Larry McKinna, soon to retire from ITN Source, having served the archive community, in particular, the British Pathe Library, since 1960 when he started out as a post boy. Previous winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Christine Whittaker said: “Larry McKinna has been a vital part of the archive world for as long as I remember. He has survived changes, takeovers and bloody coups but throughout all this his loyalty, knowledge and enthusiasm for the Pathe collection have never wavered. He has constantly taught researchers to search beyond the obvious boundaries with the utmost patience and generosity. We all owe him a huge debt.”
These accolades represent the only global competition dedicated to the celebration of the use of footage by producers together with the recognition of achievements of professionals within the archive industry.
For a full list of winners and awards see www.focalint.org/focalawards
(SP)
VMI.TV Ltd

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