The Whicker’s World Foundation has launched three new documentary filmmaker awards worth a total of £100,000, for the promotion of excellence in programme making, funded by a legacy left by journalist Alan Whicker who died in 2013.
Whicker wanted to encourage curiosity and empower talent. His Foundation launches at a time when television funding for documentaries is at an all-time low, yet interest in the form is growing apace across the world.
“I am very enthused that this foundation aims to encourage authored documentary at a time when TV is becoming increasingly formatted and when most foundations have requirements to promote social issues,” said Mark Atkin, of Sheffield Doc/Fest. “This is exactly what the industry needs right now”.
The Funding Award (worth £80,000/£10,000 runner up) will be given to a debut filmmaker under 30; the Recognition Award (worth £4,000/£1,000 runner up) to the finest industry newcomer aged 50 or over; and finally, a prize will be awarded to the Best Audio Documentary (worth £4,000/£1,000). The closing date for entries is January 31 2016 and the shortlists will be announced in May 2016. The first winners will be announced by the Whicker’s World Foundation at the Sheffield Doc/Fest Award Ceremony, which will take place on the final night of the 2016 festival, 14 June 2016.
The panel of judges, chaired by Whicker’s partner Valerie Kleeman, will be looking for imaginative storytelling, either breaking new ground or taking a familiar path in a new and innovative direction.
The Foundation’s consultant editor, international TV executive Jane Mote, said: “Whicker’s World opened my eyes to the most amazing stories, people and places. Alan’s unique style and sharp wit was inspirational and I am so excited to be part of creating a Foundation to nurture future trailblazers for international documentary filmmaking”.
Jane Ray, consultant artistic director for the Foundation is a multi-award winning documentary maker and an executive producer in radio and television with a journalistic background. She has worked for the BBC for 28 years, and worked with Whicker throughout the 90’s on various radio projects, and wrote and directed Radio 4’s archive programme celebrating Whicker: Around the World in 80 Years, presented by Michael Palin.