Three Irish documentaries have been shortlisted for this year’s Grierson Awards for Documentary Film.
Paul Duane’s ‘Barbaric Genius’, Carol Morley’s ‘Dreams of a Life’ and Ian Palmer’s ‘Knuckle’ have all made the shortlist for the prestigious British awards ceremony considered the Oscars of the documentary world.
Morley and Palmer are up against one another in the Best Cinema Documentary category where they face further competition from such established names as Kevin McDonald (Marley), James Marsh (Project Nim) and Errol Morris (Tabloid).
Duane’s debut feature documentary ‘Barbaric Genius’ is up for the Best Newcomer Award. He has been shortlisted alongside ‘Gypsy Blood’; ‘Holding the Line’; ‘How to Start a Revolution’; ‘Panorama: The Truth about Adoption’; ‘The Sinking of the Concordia: Caught on Camera’; ‘Up in Smoke’ and ‘When I Die’.
Eight titles have been shortlisted in each category with the list set to be whittled down to four on September 25. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony at The Empire in Leicester Square, London on November 6.
Speaking to IFTN, Duane said: “I'm blown away to be nominated for the most prestigious documentary awards in the UK. Given that the film is entirely Irish-made, with no UK funder, broadcaster or distributor attached, I think it's pretty amazing to get this far against very tough competition.”
‘Barbaric Genius’ tells the story of London-Irish author John Healy's journey from alcoholism and homelessness to the world of literary fame and fortune, followed by his sudden disappearance and the mysteries that grew around it.
The critically acclaimed film, which was released in UK and Irish cinemas last May, was produced by Duane’s Screenworks production company with the support of the Irish Film Board and RTÉ. An alternate, shorter version was broadcast by RTÉ in January 2011 under the name ‘John Healy – You Have Been Warned’.
Ian Palmer’s ‘Knuckle’, a documentary about the travelling community and their bare-knuckle fighting tradition, was screened in cinemas and on RTÉ last year. It was also selected for the 2011 Sundance film festival. ‘Knuckle’ was produced by Teddy Leifer (The Interrupters, The Honeymoon Suite) for Rise Films and Ian Palmer for Seafield. It was financed by the Irish Film Board and BBC Storyville.
English director Carol Morley’s ‘Dreams of a Life’ follows the true story of 38 year-old Joyce Vincent, who died in her London apartment in 2003. Her body was not found until three years later. The film was partly filmed in Dublin and received funding from the Irish Film Board. It was co-produced by Irish producer James Mitchell’s (Ordinary Decent Criminal) Soho Moon Pictures alongside Britain’s Cannon and Morley Productions. The project also received support from Film4, Shoot For The Moon and the UK Film Council.
The Grierson Awards commemorate the work of pioneering Scottish film maker John Grierson (1898 – 1972), famous for making ‘Drifters’.
Established in 1972, they celebrate documentaries that have made a significant contribution to the form. The list of past winners includes Penny Woolcock, Norma Percy, Molly Dineen, Nick Broomfield, Paul Watson, Angus Macqueen and Pawel Pawlikowski.