A 9 month placement with BBC documentaries
Out of hundreds of entries five candidates where shortlisted and invited to the Sheffield International Documentary Festival to pitch their idea to the panel and in front of a audience of festival delegates. Here you can find out a bit more about four of them and get a flavour of what their pitches were about.
The Winner - Daniel Dewsbury
Location: Ormskirk, Lancashire
Biog: Daniel's first job in TV involved cleaning toilets for 3 weeks, but whilst doing some of the worst running jobs imaginable he made his own documentaries at weekends.
Two years later Daniel has two 'student documentary of the year awards' under his belt and has learned from some of the best in the business.
Brief idea synopsis: ''Half-Pipe Dreams - Skating to the Olympics'. The stage is set for two skateboarders making waves in the worldwide skating community. Two boys from the same town, same school and with virtually the same ambition have competed across the world to gain the respect of professionals and amateurs alike.
At just 14 and 15 years old, Paul-Luc and Sam are currently prodigies of the skating world. But silent rivalry is setting in between the two and the difference in personality and life changes will lead them down separate paths for the first time. ‘Half-Pipe Dreams’ presents their transformation into adulthood as they both strive for the right to be the first British Skater in the Olympics.
The search for truth has always seemed a valid reason for being passionate. That may sound very grandiose yet it is my belief that a good documentary can have the power to effect you so much more than a fiction film when done correctly.
Daniel will be starting his placement with Nick Mirsky early in 2008.
Name: Joanna Kamath
Occupation: Currently working at MTV Networks International
Brief idea synopsis: 'Karaoke Saved My Life' follows the stories of four people from different corners of the globe all vying for the title of World Karaoke Champion 2008. For these people, karaoke is not just a hobby. It's not simply a passion. It has saved their lives.
Through the tragedies of death in the family, divorce, bankruptcy and ill health, it is karaoke that has kept these four going. Here, we follow their respective journeys to the Championships, complete with their punishing training schedules, the social exclusion they have endured to pursue their dream and the strain it has put on their social lives and families.
Each has suffered ridicule because of their dream, but it continues to live inside each of them. Will one of them be victorious? Four different walks of life, one passion! See how karaoke can unite the world!
For me documentaries are a way of understanding and engaging with the world around me... I want to use the medium to add new and varied perspectives to current debates.
Name: Dewi Bruce-Konuah
Occupation: Film Maker
Brief idea synopsis: 'Migrant' tells the posthumous story of Ayikoe Atayi, a 49-year-old Togolese cleaner found dead in a tower block cleaning cupboard in November 2006. Atayi, a Southwark council employee, had been living in the 4ft by 8ft cupboard for a year, after being evicted from the council flat that came with his job. Although the coroner returned an open verdict, traces of alcohol and heroin were found in his blood and may have contributed to his death.
Migrant is a shocking portrait of an immigrant’s optimistic arrival and tragic demise in contemporary Britain. It explores how, in the 21st century, a council employee was able to live and die unnoticed inside a cupboard in one of the wealthiest cities on the planet.
Through interviews with relatives, residents and council officials, Migrant will piece together Atayi’s tragic story; from his arrival in 2001, to his subsequent lodgings in a crack house, to his drug-related death in a cupboard six years later.
Documentaries offer the unique opportunity to simultaneously enlighten, educate and entertain, both the filmmaker and the audience.
Name: Gemma Care
Location: West Sussex
Occupation: Broadcasting Student (University College Falmouth)
Brief idea synopsis: 'BIID for Freedom'. This documentary aims to open peoples’ minds to the diversity of the human race. The subject is a disorder called Body Identity Integrity Disorder (BIID), whereby individuals feel the need to amputate one or more healthy limbs or other body parts to feel comfortable and complete.
The conflict lies where procedures such as plastic surgery are legal in order to change a persons’ physical appearance to make them happier, but the amputation of limbs for the same purpose is illegal.
This documentary would follow individuals with the disorder, learning and gaining understanding of their situation by sharing their experiences, and exploring their world on a personal level – not just as a case study. It’s also an opportunity for audience interaction, where they can contribute to an online forum discussing their experiences of BIID and debating the problem of body image.
I love how documentaries give you an insight into other peoples’ worlds, or offer you escapism as you spend hours thinking about what you have just seen... I can’t wait to start making my own!