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Whicker’s World Foundation rings in the new year with a series of articles from leading documentary makers

31 December 2015

Whicker's World Foundation rings in the new year with a series of articles from leading documentary makers including Louis Theroux, Kim Longinotto and Dom Joly

In anticipation of the application deadline for the newly formed funding organisation for emerging documentary makers. The Whicker’s World Foundation have asked leading lights in the world of documentary making to answer a questionnaire. The series of articles, ‘Docs Dose’ which will run online will serve as both inspiration and help stimulate awareness of this significant fund ahead of the deadline of January 31st 2016.

The Whicker’s World Foundation is supported by the generous legacy of journalist and broadcaster Alan Whicker to provide £80,000 a year to new talent with additional prizes for audio documentary and first timers over 50 years.

First to share his insights is writer, comedian and television documentary maker Dom Joly who cheekily states that Louis Theroux is overrated and has a prison obsession. Although the surreal hidden camera show Trigger Happy TV made him famous, Dom Joly has worked as a political journalist with a growing passion for documentaries about people in parts of the world a long way from the tourist trail.




This will be followed by BAFTA-winning documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux on Thursday 7th January who calls for TV Documentaries to regarded and ‘showcased’ with the respect and attention currently shown only to cinematic docs. He also confesses to begin bored by the kinds of docs that currently win prizes and acknowledges the effect doc making has had on his knees . Articles will also run from Alan Hall, Mak CK both award winning documentarians and judges for the Whicker Foundation and Kim Longinotto who won the 2015 Camerimage Award for Outstanding Achievements in Documentary Filmmaking and helped the Foundation launch this summer at Sheffield International Documentary Festival.

Alan Whicker wanted to stimulate and empower talent which might otherwise never find its place in this highly competitive industry. His foundation which launched at Sheffield Doc/Fest in June 2015, at a time when television funding for documentaries is at an all-time low, and yet interest in the form is growing across the world.

The three awards – the Funding Award (worth £80,000 / £10,000 runner up) to a debut filmmaker under 30 years of age; the Vet’s Award (worth £4,000 / £1,000 runner up) to the finest industry newcomer aged 50 years of age or over; and the Audio Award (worth £4,000 / £1,000) will be looking for a spirit of inquisitiveness that will leave the viewer wanting more, and tell something new and unexpected about the world.

The closing date for entries is January 31st 2016 and the shortlists will be announced in May 2016. The first award winners will be announced by the Whicker’s World Foundation at the Sheffield Doc/Fest Award Ceremony, which will take place on the final day of the 2016 festival, Tuesday 14th June 2016.

The Funding Award
This is the primary focus of the 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 be realised, to reach as wide an audience as possible.

The Recognition Awards
In addition to the Funding Award there are two further annual prizes to recognise completed work: the ‘Audio Award’ and the ‘Vet’s Award’, the latter of which is for the finest industry newcomer over the age of fifty. Alan worked in radio before TV and was snapped up by Radio 2 in the late 1990s, adding what Jim Moir, the Controller from 1996 to 2003, described as “great lustre to my network”. Initially Alan’s radio programmes revolved around re-visiting his most memorable encounters from Whicker’s World: from the ‘Ten Pound Poms’ to Margaret Rutherford’s transsexual adoptee who ‘gave birth’ to a mixed-race daughter in South Carolina. He went on to create a radio history of television called It’ll Never Last. The Whicker’s World Foundation will award an annual £4,000 prize for the best audio project. A runner-up will receive £1,000. The first Prizes will be presented in 2016 at the ‘In The Dark’ radio festival, a recent addition to Doc/Fest.

The Whicker's World Vet's Award
Retirement’ was not a word Alan knew. 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. Persistently irritated by any reference to his age, he came to abhor the casual ageism he saw around him. To help recognise a TV or audio professional who has come to air with an authored story for the first time, an annual prize of £4,000 will be awarded annually with an over 50 qualification age. Submissions of no more than 10 minutes; this can be for presentation or production, but must be their own work. A runner-up will receive £1,000.

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