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Grierson Award-Winners 2000-2001 Announced
15 Nov 2001 :
The UK's specialist awards for documentary filmmaking, the Grierson Awards, announced this year's winners at a prestigious awards evening held at the British Academy for Film, Television and the Arts (BAFTA), Piccadilly.

This year's Grierson Award winners are as follows:

Premier Grierson
Correspondent: Killers Don't Cry (BBC TV)
Reporter Allan Little reports on the ruthless gangs that terrorize and kill in South Africa's prisons and processes that are being set in place to reach out to the murderers and ask them to confront their actions.

Directed by Clifford Bestall, produced by Pearlie Joubert, edited by Fiona Murch and deputy edited by Farah Durrani, the documentary follows workshops run by Joanna Thomas from Cape Town's Centre for Conflict Resolution. As part of a pioneering new approach leading gang members are also persuaded to join a programme known as "Change is Possible". The film bravely confronts the minds and hearts of these terrifying and brutal inmates. Best Newcomer
PROGRAMME 15 (Windfall Films for Channel 4) - Produced by Daisy Asquith, this documentary focuses on 15 year-old girls. The winning documentary follows a young girl's search for her mother after being separated at an early age, growing up with her Chinese grandmother in South London. The runner-up award goes to THE ALCHOHOL YEARS directed by Carol Morley and funded by The Arts Council of England. Morley returns to Manchester, where, in the 1980's, five years of her life were lost in an alcoholic blur. In Morley's search for her lost self, conflicting memories and viewpoints weave in and out, revealing a portrait of the city, its pop culture, and the people who lived it.

Britain at war in colour - darkest hour (Carlton). Britain at War in Colour tells the remarkable story of Britain's involvement in the Second World War through original colour films, letters and diaries of the people that lived through this unforgettable period in our history. A previously untapped wealth of material has been uncovered from archives and individuals around the British Isles and abroad, including both home movie footage and professionally shot films. Archive specialist Adrian Wood painstakingly pieces together the rare footage and together with producers Martin Smith and Lucy Carter along with series producer Stewart Binns brings together a sensitive and emotive documentary.

Indian Journeys (Icon Films for the BBC)
Celebrated travel-writer William Dalrymple author of the award-winning book "City of the Djinns" travels across India looking at the country's great spiritual past and troubled present.

This trilogy, written and presented by Dalrymple, produced and directed by Hugh Thomson and executive produced by Icon Films' Harry Marshall, makes three ambitious journeys into what is for Dalrymple familiar territory.

Best Documentary On A Contemporary Subject
Correspondent: Killers Don't Cry (BBC TV), which has also won the Premiere Grierson.

Life Tribute Awards
Desmond Wilcox posthumously awarded (collected by his wife Esther Rantzen) Last year saw the untimely death of Desmond Wilcox who made a lifetime contribution to British factual television. Desmond Wilcox was one of the UK's most innovative documentary makers. His groundbreaking programmes introduced millions of people to moving stories of human lives in extraordinary circumstances. His talent lay in the passion he brought to the subject matter and his unfussy presentation. He believed that real life provided enough drama without "beefing up" a story, and rejected the "fly on the wall" approach as being fundamentally flawed. In an interview in 1986 he said: "Real life honestly portrayed is sufficiently dramatic in itself. "The idea that might lurk in some people's minds that you somehow have to beef it up, or pump it up or invent the circumstances to make it more colourful, is an idea born of Fleet Street and ignorance." Among his most memorable programmes was the series following the story of David Jackson, a badly deformed Peruvian boy whose face was rebuilt by a Scottish surgeon who adopted him. Millions of TV viewers were captivated by the story of the baby rescued in the Amazonian jungle by a charity worker. The series won six international awards and Desmond Wilcox recently returned to the story of David's life. He began his career in journalism as a reporter. It was with the BBC that he was to make many of his award-winning documentaries. He was co-editor and presenter of the landmark Man Alive series in 1965, pioneering some innovative documentary techniques. His instinct for exploring the strength and frailty of human relationships produced a wealth of fascinating documentaries. He later formed the Man Alive Unit. From 1972 to 1980 he was head of general features at the BBC and went on to make series such as Americans, The Visit, Black in Blue and A Day in the Life.

Alan Whicker
Alan Whicker started working with film in the Army Film and Photo Unit during the Second World War. Then, after the war he joined the Exchange Telegraph before doing his first report for the BBC's trail-blazing TONIGHT programme in March 1957. He very soon became a regular contributor. He joined the other great names of the time in current affairs such as Trevor Philpot, Derek Hart, Fife Robertson and Cliff Michelmore. A world tour he was sent on in 1958 laid the foundation for what was to become Whicker's World. This ran, on BBC and ITV for over 25 years supported by distinguished filmmakers including Jack Gold, Mike Tuckner and Roger Mills.

Wicker created a distinctive and entertaining style with his intimate interviewing technique. This 'personality-centered' style of documentary, with Whicker as the focus of the production, was the start of a form that would later be followed by others including Clive James, Ruby Wax and Louis Theroux. Whicker is still making programmes. In February this year he presented the six-part radio series on the history of television for Radio Two and there are more projects in the pipeline.

First established in 1972 as a single award, the Grierson Award is named after John Grierson, one of the UK's most influential early documentary makers and universally regarded as the 'father' of British documentary. With the support of the FILM COUNCIL the award is to grow into a three-year programme recognising, promotion and celebrating excellence in all forms of documentary production.

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