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Whicker’s World Foundation launches Inspiring Funding Award at The Radio Academy’s Radio Festival this September


26 September 2016

• Whicker's World Foundation launches the Radio & Audio Funding Award (RAFA) at the Radio Festival, the annual celebration of all things audio at the British Library. The festival brings together a full media scope of leading figures from the UK’s audio industry.

• Supporting authored storytelling in the UK, taking us into new or hitherto unseen worlds, RAFA will help fund independent audio documentary makers.

• RAFA Awards are worth a total of £7,000.

• Submissions for this and existing Whicker's World Foundation Awards 2017 are now being accepted.

Whicker’s World Foundation will today, at the UK’s popular Radio Festival hosted by broadcaster Paddy O'Connell launch a brand-new funding award – the RAFA – to help aspiring independent audio documentary makers. The awards were created to celebrate and encourage excellence in audio documentaries, and have been generously funded by a legacy left by the celebrated journalist Alan Whicker who died in 2013. Whicker wanted to encourage curiosity, stimulate the senses and empower talent which might otherwise never find a place in today’s highly-competitive industry. The Whicker's World Foundation, launched in 2015, has already awarded over £100,000.

The award prizes consist of £5,000 for the winner and a runner-up prize of £2,000. The winning pitches will offer new and exciting ideas for audio documentaries, meeting Whicker’s World Foundation criteria of: taking us into a new or hitherto unseen worlds; being personal but not partisan; and with an emphasis on strong original storytelling and development of the medium. Applicants need to supply up to six minutes worth of audio in support of their proposals.

Deadline for entries is 23rd December 2016, there is no application fee and candidates can apply online. The best five will be invited to pitch at an event in March 2017 and the winners will be announced at next year's Radio Festival.

Whicker’s broadcasting career began in radio and he went on to join Radio 2 in the late 1990s, adding what Jim Moir, the then Controller, described as “Great lustre to my network”. Alan was an avid fan of radio documentary and told the press he wanted to return to it because, unlike TV, it didn’t ‘dumb down’ – radio and ‘assumed an intelligent audience’. Alan Whicker’s passion continues into new generations with awards such as RAFA, created to empower emerging talent.

The panel of judges will be looking for imaginative storytelling, either breaking new ground or taking a familiar path in a new and innovative direction. Valerie Kleeman, Whicker’s partner in life and work for over 40 years, said "Alan was well aware that he had been lucky enough to start working at a time when serious journalism was respected and presenters given the freedom to fashion their own programmes. He and his colleagues were writing the grammar of what was to follow; they were given support and opportunities and often allowed to learn on the job. He was aware that this scenario is not replicated today; money is scarce and commissioners are reluctant to green light without a celebrity name fronting a subject with which they often have little connection. Alan, who felt the best shot of himself was the back of his head, abhorred this trend. He was apolitical; he sought to intrigue and stimulate but not to influence. He strived to uncover the unusual as well as entertain. Above all he was a writer and observer who wrote and filmed what he saw. At the Foundation we seek to use Alan’s legacy to further his vision and to help those with talent to take the first step up a ladder which is increasingly difficult to climb."

Jane Ray, Consultant Artistic Director for Whicker’s World Foundation said “I am thrilled that the Radio Festival are partnering this new funding award for audio. I am a passionate believer in the enduring power of the well made, thoughtfully produced audio documentary. The other day we were contacted by someone looking for a series Alan Whicker had made 18 years ago. They knew the title and could describe the pictures vividly - then remembered they’d actually ‘seen’ radio broadcasts. Those who inspire us to listen, I mean really listen, and take us deeper into understanding the notions and motivations that shape our human story need to be nurtured. If this award goes some way to helping talented independent audio producers realise their documentary dreams Alan Whicker’s legacy will be wonderfully well served.”

Roger Cutsforth, The Radio Academy Managing Director added "The Radio Academy is proud to be partnering with Whicker’s World Foundation on this fantastic initiative to encourage and support new talent in audio documentary making. The Radio & Audio Funding Award [RAFA] is a wonderful legacy of the late, great Alan Whicker and his passion for the medium and will be a wonderful addition to the Radio Festival.”

Francesca Panetta, last year’s runner up for 'The Dhammazedi Bell' and multimedia special projects editor at The Guardian said "It's wonderful to see this new funding award. There is so much talent out there but few avenues for funding creative audio. I'm looking forward to seeing or more appropriately hearing the results."

Nina Garthwaite, founding director of In the Dark Radio, added "While the Internet has opened up new platforms for independent audio production, it's still not always easy for producers to find the funding to do the work they're passionate about and you need money to have the time to really explore your ideas. So it's great that the Whicker’s World Foundation Awards want to support radio makers with a strong independent voice and a desire to develop the medium. I'm excited to hear the results!"

Will Jackson, managing Director of the Radio Independents Group commented “RIG greatly welcomes this new funding award, which gives the next generation of Britain’s audio documentary makers an invaluable opportunity to join the ranks of Britain’s highly successful indie production sector.”

Alan Hall, previous Whicker’s world Foundation audio judge and CEP of Indie Falling Tree said "It's exciting to welcome a new funding award that encourages documentary production to go beyond worlds (literal or figurative) known already to us and, in so doing, to develop the unique qualities of a medium now entering a new golden age!”

Whicker's World Foundation's pre-existing awards are also opening entries for submissions today.

 

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The Audio Recognition Award
This is moving to The Radio Festival. This is for a documentary, 15 minutes or over, broadcast or published online in the previous year. It was won this summer by Cathy Fitzgerald’s Little Volcanoes. The award is for £5,000 to the winner and £2,000 for the runner-up. The winners will be announced at next year’s Festival.

The Film and TV Funding Award
This is the primary focus of Whicker’s World Foundation. Each year £80,000 will be awarded to a new director with the most promising pitch for an authored documentary which fulfils the core criteria of the Foundation and can be completed for screening with this award. The money will be paid in instalments to the director’s film company, enabling a project which deserves to reach as wide an audience as possible. This year it was won by Alex Bescoby for Burma’s Lost Royals. The closing date for entries is 31st January 2017 and the shortlists will be announced in May 2016. The first winners will be announced by Whicker’s World Foundation at the Sheffield Doc/Fest Award Ceremony, which will take place on the final night of the 2017 festival, 13th June 2017.

The Whicker’s World Sage Award
‘Retirement’ was not a word in Alan’s vocabulary. He was 83 when he wrote and presented Whicker’s War, a much acclaimed account of his army experiences in Italy for Channel 4. He made his last series for BBC Two, Journey of a Lifetime, in his late eighties. The Sage award will recognise a TV or audio professional who has come to air with an authored story for the first time, a prize of £5,000 will be awarded annually to an applicant aged 50 plus. Submissions of no more than 10 minutes; this can be for presentation but must be their own work. A runner-up will receive £2,000. Keith Earnest Hoult won this award for for Fluechtlinge – Refugee. Keith, a fan of Alan Whicker’s ‘gentle approach’ to interviewing, was inspired to create a ten-minute film about Syrians seeking refuge in a disused airport used for the Berlin Airlift. When he witnessed his friend’s wife Caroline trying to help refugees against a growing backlash he ‘felt the urge to film it if only for her family to reflect on later in life’. Keith learnt his film-making skills at the SAE Institute after redundancy and divorce turned his life upside-down. Judges were impressed that he made this entirely self-funded film as ‘a simple tale of ordinary people helping other ordinary people at their time of most desperate need.’

For further details on the awards and entry forms please go to Whickers World Foundation Online.

For Terms and Conditions and award Criteria please go here.

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter@whickersworld

About Whicker’s World Foundation
On 7 June 2015 Whicker’s World Foundation, whose principle aim is to give a much needed fillip to authored documentary storytelling in the UK, launched three new documentary awards worth over £100,000 for the promotion of curiosity in programme making, generously funded by a legacy left by the celebrated broadcast journalist Alan Whicker. The launch took place in the Sheffield Winter Gardens led by Alex Graham, chair or Doc/Fest, Jane Ray, Artistic Director for the foundation and Kim Longinotto, multi award winning filmmaker. Entries for 2017 Awards opened on September 26th 2016.

Radio Festival
Radio Festival is an annual event organised by Radio Academy, a registered charity dedicated to the encouragement, recognition and promotion of excellence in UK radio broadcasting and audio production. 

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