Archives Take Center Stage at FOCAL Awards Gala

The footage industry has made great strides over the last decade, growing in both its capacity and stature, and the FOCAL International Awards has played an important part in this evolution. Now in its 14th year, the FOCAL Awards shine a light on the critical role of archival footage in the production of world-class films, and bring together stakeholders from around the world for an evening of recognition, celebration and fun.

"The FOCAL Awards competition is a way to fully acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of archival footage to the global screen and creative industries,” said Madeline Bates, co-executive director of FOCAL. “Whether it’s in cinematic documentaries, dynamic advertising, innovative visual arts exhibitions or historical exposés - archival footage plays a key role in immersing audiences within all these forms of storytelling, and without which many of these stories couldn’t even be told.”

The 2017 FOCAL International Awards took place on May 25th before a packed house at the Lancaster London Hotel.  This was the first awards gala under the leadership of Mary Egan and Madeline Bates, new FOCAL co-executive directors, and it went off seamlessly. With over three hundred people in attendance at the black-tie gala, the event was elegant, festive and professionally produced. Host Hardeep Singh Kohli, wearing a pink turban and white gloves (in honor of his early experience with archives), set a light-hearted, playful tone for the evening, providing just the right amount of levity, lest anyone get too carried away.

“The annual gala ceremony has become a joyful opportunity to showcase all this work as well as the unsung heroes of the industry who dedicate their careers to preserving and making footage accessible to future producers,” said Bates. “It’s a truly global event that recognizes talent from across the world, evident not only by the nominations and winners but also by the number of international guests from around the globe who attend.”

Big Winners

OJ: Made in America, which took home an Oscar for Best Documentary earlier this year, was honored twice, with one award for Best Use of Sports Footage, and another going to Nina Krstic, who won the Jane Mercer Footage Researcher of the Year Award for her work on the film. The Beatles: Eight Days a Week won two awards as well -- one for Best Use of Footage in a Music Production, the other for Best Use of Footage in a Cinema Release. Eat That Question - Frank Zappa in His Own Words, won for Best Use of Footage in an Arts Production.  British Pathe won for Library of the Year, edging out stiff competition from Reelin’ in the Years Productions and ITN Source. Simon Wood of ITN won for employee of the year. Serge Viallet won the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Most of the winners were in attendance to receive their awards, including Caroline Waterlow and Nina Krstic for OJ, and the team from White Horse and Apple on behalf of Eight Days a Week. And while all seemed extremely pleased to have won, perhaps no one was happier than Serge Viallet, who celebrated his Lifetime Achievement Award with a joyous dance around the room and a rousing acceptance speech, culminating in three cheers for FOCAL. An inspiring conclusion to an exhilarating evening.

See below for a full list of Award Winners

Best Use of Footage in a History Production Sponsored by Getty Images - Hitler's Games - Berlin 1936 - Roche Productions (France)  

Best Use of Footage in a History Feature Sponsored by LoLa Clips - Letters From Baghdad - Letters From Baghdad Ltd / Between the Rivers Productions LLC (USA/UK/France)

Best Use of Footage in a Factual Production Sponsored by Screenocean - The War Show - Fridthjof Film (Denmark)

Best Use of Footage in an Entertainment Production Sponsored by FremantleMedia - When Magic Goes Horribly Wrong - Crackit Productions (UK)  

Best Use of Footage in an Arts Production Sponsored by Film London - Eat That Question - Frank Zappa in His Own Words - Les Films Du Poisson, UFA Fiction / Sony Pictures Classics (France/USA)

Best Use of Footage in a Music Production Sponsored by Shutterstock - The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years - White Horse Pictures and Imagine Entertainment (USA/UK)

Best Use of Sports Footage Sponsored by ITV Sport Archive - O.J: Made in America - ESPN Films and Laylow Films (USA)

Best use of Footage about the Natural World Sponsored by Nature Picture Library -  Zoo Quest in Colour - BBC Natural History Unit (UK)

Best Use of Footage on Other Platforms Sponsored by Visual Data Services - Terence Donovan: Speed of Light - Dog and Duck Films (UK)

Best Use of Footage in a Cinema Release Sponsored by British Pathe - The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years - White Horse Pictures and Imagine Entertainment (USA/UK)

Best Archive Restoration / Preservation Title Sponsored by Pinewood Studios Group - Napoleon (1927 Dir. Abel Gance) - BFI National Archive (UK)  

Best Archive Restoration / Preservation Project Sponsored by Prasad -  1912-1992: 80 Years of Olympic Films Restored - International Olympic Committee (Switzerland)

The Jane Mercer Footage Researcher of the Year Award Sponsored by AP Archive - Nina Krstic (USA)  O.J.: Made in America Footage

Employee of the Year Sponsored by Creative Skillset - Simon Wood & ITN Source team ITN Source - UK  

Footage Library of the Year Sponsored by Broadcast - British Pathé - UK

Lifetime Achievement Award  - A gift of the FOCAL International Executive - Serge Viallet