I am delighted that two very special films, both of which I saw on the big screen this year, have been nominated for a Grierson British Documentary Award.
John Grierson was a documentary film-maker who made a name for himself in the first half of the twentieth century, for films such as Drifters and Night Mail (above). He is remembered with this prize, because he was one of those rare things – someone who changed and developed dramatically the medium he worked in. So it is down to him and other pioneers that documentary film is considered an art form in itself.
The two films I am delighted to see on the short lists of the 2012 Grierson Awards are Carol Morley’s feature documentary Dreams Of A Life and Paul Duane’s Barbaric Genius. I will write at more length about them both. They have overlapping themes of loss, grief, friendship and alienation. But are quite different in style, with Morley’s splicing interviews with dramatised scenes, and Duane’s taking on a more traditional documentary format, that still seems contemporary and fresh.
Good luck to both film-makers, I can’t wait to see their next pieces of work!