Digital platform documentaries welcomed for the first time as The Griersons announce its annual call for entries

The 2015 British Documentary Awards are now open for business as The Grierson Trust makes its annual call for entries to the most prestigious awards in the documentary calendar, more fondly known as The Griersons.

All entries must have had their first UK screening between 1 May 2014 and 30 April 2015. This includes scheduled screenings within recognised film, television and documentary festivals and, for the first time this year, entries will be accepted which have screened on digital platforms only – such as Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon – as long as the screening was accessible by a UK-based audience.

Lorraine Heggessey, Chairman of The Grierson Trust said: “I’m delighted to announce that this year we open up the British Documentary Awards to films and programmes broadcast on digital platforms. As the industry diversifies with viewing patterns shifting and an ever growing range of commissioning platforms emerging, it is important for The Griersons to recognise these newer producers alongside the more mainstream linear channels.

“I would also like to actively encourage more broadcasters to enter films with BAME and female talent. Last year we were shocked that only one woman was entered into the presenter category and not a single female director made a speech on the night. As an industry body we would like to see a much wider variety of filmmakers both behind and in front of the camera entered which more accurately reflect the industry we champion and celebrate.”

In addition, and continuing The Grierson Trust’s work in supporting younger talent in breaking into the documentary world, the Best Student Documentary category now also has a cash prize of £5000 (up from £3000 last year).

Entries are welcomed in 12 categories:

Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme – Domestic
A single documentary, or an episode from a strand or series, which deals primarily with UK-based subjects on contemporary themes: eg, society, business, health, religion, welfare etc. Includes biographical or first-person stories.

Best Documentary on Current Affairs
A single documentary, or an episode from a strand or series, which focuses on specific news or current affairs events. Entries may cover domestic or international subjects. Judges will be looking for evidence of outstanding investigative journalism, access and insights.

Best Documentary on Current Affairs
A single documentary, or an episode from a strand or series, which focuses on specific news or current affairs events. Entries may cover domestic or international subjects. Judges will be looking for evidence of outstanding investigative journalism, access and insights.

Best Arts Documentary
A single documentary, or an episode from a strand or series, on an arts subject.

Best Historical Documentary
A single documentary, or an episode from a strand or series, on an historical subject.

Best Science or Natural History Documentary
A single documentary, or an episode from a strand or series, which addresses any aspect of science, including natural history, the environment and medicine.

Best Entertaining Documentary
A single documentary or an episode from a strand or series that sets out primarily to entertain. Judges will be looking for humour, wit and elegance of style. Entries can be on any subject and in any format, including factual and reality based programmes.

Best Documentary Series
A finite series of three or more episodes and with a single overall theme, planned by an individual or a team.

Best Cinema Documentary
A documentary that has had a UK theatrical release within the qualifying period. For the purposes of the awards a theatrical release is a screening in a UK cinema, open to the general public, for a period of at least seven days. The screenings can be in different cinemas and do not have to be on consecutive days.

Best Newcomer Documentary
The first breakthrough documentary from a new director to receive a public screening or broadcast. The entrant may have worked in other areas of the industry in any capacity or may have directed work that has not received a public screening or transmission or for which they have not had full editorial control.

Best Student Documentary
Awarded to a student director for a film made during a UK-based, full-time academic course. A cash prize of £5,000 plus additional benefits will be presented to the winner of this award.

Documentary Presenter of the Year
This award goes to the presenter who has made the most outstanding contribution to documentary programming within the qualifying period. Whether in arts, music, religion, history, science, natural history or contemporary theme, the jury is looking for presenters who bring originality of thought, insight, perspective and content to a subject.

The judges will be looking for evidence of quality, integrity, creativity, originality and overall excellence in all categories. The full shortlist will be published on the website of The Grierson Trust by 28 July; the nominations by 15 September; and the winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in early November. The closing date for entries is Monday, 1 June 2015.

For more information or to download an entry form, log on to www.griersontrust.org

Published: 1 April 2015

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