BBC launches website for documentary-makers

Stacey Dooley with Thai officials Stacey Dooley will look at the impact of the drugs trade for a new BBC Three series

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Aspiring documentary-makers are being invited to submit short films for a new BBC website.

Fresh Online will go live later this summer, and is an extension of BBC Three's Fresh scheme for new directors.

At the Sheffield Doc/Fest on Thursday, Charlotte Moore, commissioning editor for documentaries, said: "Fresh Online is a chance for us to find raw talent and the next generation of filmmakers.

"We're looking for people who have stories to tell, and something to say about the age we're living in."

She added the website was looking for films between two and 10 minutes long, which provide insights into important issues for young people in the UK.

"Free from the pressures of schedules, budgets and viewing figures, it's a chance to experiment, to create short films and to become part of a community of documentary makers in this country. It could be your first step on the road to an Oscar!"

Factual popularity

Fresh Online aims to be the "go-to" site for audiences interested in documentaries. It has been developed by BBC Documentaries, BBC Learning and BBC Three.

Factual is a key genre for the channel, which has had success with the Bafta award-winning documentary Our War and The Call Centre.

The latter focuses on an unorthodox Swansea workplace and has drawn a million viewers since it started last week.

BBC Three controller Zai Bennett said the channel was committed to "documentaries on a diverse range of topics, specifically for a younger audience".

He added the Fresh directors' scheme had a vital role in the channel's factual output, and Fresh Online would aim to find "directors of the future".

There seems to be a growth in popularity for factual content and BBC Two recently announced it will revive the Modern Times series of single documentaries next year. Programmes such as NHS documentary Keeping Britain Alive, Inside Claridges and The Great British Bake Off have proved to be critical and popular hits for the channel.

More details about Fresh Online can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/fresh.

BBC Three also announced three new factual commissions including:

  • Brand New Teachers (w/t) - 6x60 with unprecedented access to fast-track training scheme Teach First, which puts bright graduates into tough schools after only a few weeks of training. Executive producers: David De Haney (Victory Television) and Fiona Campbell (BBC).
  • Shoplife (w/t) - 6x60 with "a soap opera edge" that follows young retail assistants at Gateshead's Metrocentre - the UK's largest shopping mall. Executive producer: Elliot Reed (BBC).
  • New Drug Frontiers: Stacey Dooley Investigates (w/t) - 3x60 where presenter Stacey Dooley travels to Peru, Thailand and the Ukraine to see the impact of the drugs trade. Executive producers: Mark Rubens (Watershed Television) and Fiona Campbell (BBC).

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