Pioneering Producer-Director Serge Viallet to Receive FOCAL International Lifetime Achievement Award

Pioneering producer-director, Serge Viallet, is to receive the FOCAL International Award for Lifetime Achievement, at the fourteenth annual FOCAL International Awards, to be presented on May 25th, 2017. This Award is a gift of the FOCAL International Executive, as a mark of gratitude for Serge’s dedicated and exhaustive support of the footage archive world through his prodigious body of work.

In a celebrated and innovative career, Serge Viallet has been creating documentary films specializing in the use of archive footage for almost 30 years. He has worked with multiple archives across the world and has been lecturing on archive documentation, research and use in film at Sorbonne University since 2012. He has won several awards for his meticulously crafted productions, including FOCAL International awards in 2008 and 2009 for The Rape of Nanking and Mysteries in the Archives, and was nominated for an Emmy for Kwai, his landmark and revealing film on the true story behind the building of the bridge over the river Kwai.

Upon receiving news of his win, Viallet said: “I am so proud and moved to have been honored with this award. I am so thankful to all my mentors around the world who have supported me throughout my career. I am also grateful to all the wonderful archivists and archive lovers whose work has been so valuable in helping me produce my films. Thank you FOCAL!”

Historian and archive expert, Jerry Kuehl, comments: “Serge Viallet makes programs that are scrupulous in their commitment to archival integrity - and eminently watchable.  In this era of 'post-truth' and 'alternative facts' he stands for the finest in our documentary tradition. He richly deserves this recognition.”

Not only has Serge been a great friend and champion of archives from behind the camera, and on the industry’s frontline, he has also played an important role in facilitating the preservation of over 30 years of Medecins Sans Frontiere footage, shot for and by the famed humanitarian organization, and this collection is now safely established at INA, France’s national audiovisual archive.   

Hardeep Singh-Cohli will host the gala FOCAL International Awards Ceremony on May 25th at the Lancaster London Hotel. Apart from the Lifetime Achievement Award, fourteen further awards will be presented on May 25th to celebrate the achievement of producers and directors in the creative use of footage in all variety of genres, across all media platforms, plus the contribution made to the global production industry by archivists, film libraries, researchers and technicians, as well as the work done to restore and preserve these irreplaceable assets.

Jurors from across the world are shortlisting the FOCAL International Awards 2017; these fascinating and diverse submissions are joined together by their creative and integral use of archive footage. The FOCAL awards have become a vital way of celebrating the best and most effective use of archive footage in storytelling on screen, and this year is no different. And while they celebrate productions, the awards also celebrate the people that make everything possible, with exceptionally strong competition for the categories of best archive researcher, library and footage employee of the year.

The final shortlist of all categories will be announced on March 17th and all details on the productions will be listed on FOCAL's website.

Tickets for the Gala Awards Ceremony are on sale now, so you'll need to hurry if you want to book a table