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19 September 2014
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Impress The Panel Finalists

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 for an opportunity to win a 9 month placement in documentaries at the BBC.

Here you can find out a bit more about them and get a flavour of what their pitches were about.

The Winner

Guy KingName: Guy King
Location: London
Occupation: Journalist

Brief idea synopsis: Mr Stokes had an operation to become a woman, and now plays for an women’s rugby team in Birmingham.

I have always had a desire to listen to peoples' stories. I have a passion for oral history and am constantly hearing tales that demand to be recorded and passed on.
Guy King
Guy carried out his placement with Nick Mirsky in 2007.


The Finalists

Simon Tatum

Name: Simon Tatum
Location: London
Occupation: Freelance AD

Brief idea synopsis for BBC TWO: 'The Last Freak Show.' In the early part of the 20th Century hundreds of travelling Freak Shows carved their way across North America. Today there’s only one left.

For the best part of the 20th century Ward Hall was on the road with some of the greatest freaks of all time. Now he is taking to the road one last time with The World of Wonders, a show which he runs with his business partner Chris Christ and seventy-six year old fire-eating dwarf Little Pete Turhurne.

In The Last Freak Show we will join them on the road and finally at home in Gibsonton, Florida, a town which was founded by sideshow freaks and human oddities as a haven in which they could support each other as they had on the road.

Documentary is my passion. I have a good eye for the weird and the wonderful and a great track record of hunting down and securing diverse and difficult contributors.
Simon Tatum



Name: Alan Parker
Location: Lincolnshire
Occupation: Primary School Teacher

Brief idea synopsis: 'Debbie’s Day.' In my former career as a police officer, with attachments in Child Protection and CID, I came across Debbie. Debbie is a former prostitute and crack addict as well as being a victim of Frank Beck (notorious Leicester children’s home paedophile).

At 41 she is a grandmother as well as having another illegitimate toddler herself, and has turned her life around. She keeps her house immaculately clean, allows no swearing or alcohol, and has a 10pm curfew.

Debbie’s story is the all-too seldom heard success that we all crave to hear - someone who by sheer dint of personality has overcome adversities most of us can only dream of.

I have always thought of documentary filmmaking as probably the high water mark of film and television. I am appalled by much of TV - I want to contribute to work the sees the goodness in people as well as the badness.
Alan Parker



Name: Julius Abraham
Location: Bristol
Occupation: Freelance director, writer and presenter

Brief idea synopsis: 'Undersize Me.' As most of us know, eating fast food on a regular basis is not healthy, as was highlighted by Morgan Spurlocks documentary 'Super Size Me'. It got me thinking about all the vitamin pills I consume year in year out.

If a man can live on junk food for 30 days, then why can’t I live on vitamin pills for half that time, just 15 days? After all, they’re meant to be good for us, even keep cancer at bay, or so we’re told.

Every conceivable mineral, nutrient & supplement that is needed for human survival is available in pill form. The only thing I will be allowed to consume that is not in pill form will be water.

I have worked on over 30 films ranging from comedy to documentary. I remember the documentary format that brought about Michael Portillo exchanging places with a single mum on the dole and wish to learn from that source.
Julius Abraham



Name: Lilli Geissendorfer
Location: London
Occupation: Social Researcher

Brief idea synopsis: 'The House of Fat and Thin.' Britain’s bodies are under attack like never before. Opposite extremes of fat and thin dominate popular consciousness, with obesity levels demanding a minister for fatness at the same time as size 00 has become the ultimate accessory.

In this groundbreaking experiment, compulsive overeaters and anorexics from both sexes will live together and be treated the same way in an attempt to cure them.

Previously regarded as opposing afflictions, latest research argues that the spectrum of disordered eating - from anorexia via bulimia to compulsive overeating - all originate from the same socio-psychological issues. While controversial, this juxtaposition of physical otherness will challenge patients and viewers alike to reconsider their deepest preconceptions.

I have always wanted to affect social change through my work. I do not believe ratings have to be sacrificed to make factual programming with a social conscience
Lilli Geissendorfer


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