We are thrilled to announce our 2021 Film & TV Funding Award finalists!
From an impossible search for justice that began in the mountains of central Afghanistan, to the bumpy expansion of the largest Chinese industry park in Ethiopia, to a former Nepalese guerrilla fighter offering a guiding light to her fellow countrywomen, take a look below at the five extraordinary projects in the running to win our coveted annual Funding Award.
The finalists were selected by an esteemed judging panel of documentary commissioners, international distributors and filmmakers, and will present their projects at The Whickers Pitch on Tuesday 8th June at Sheffield Doc/Fest‘s 2021 Online Edition. The winner will receive £80,000 towards the making of their film, and a runner-up will be awarded a £15,000 development fund.
Jane Ray, Artistic Director at The Whickers, said of this year’s finalists:
“We were expecting an ‘unprecedented’ year at The Whickers but nothing like this. After analysing our Cost of Docs Survey 2020 we started to wonder how any ‘emerging talent in indie documentary’ could possibly emerge from a pandemic that put the word ‘unprecedented’ on everyone’s lips. Yet applications were up again, by more than a quarter since last year. The quality has also continued to rise along with a humbling spirit of ingenuity and determination against the odds. This has brought us a truly fascinating range of projects from all corners of the globe, from a tiny Island off the coast of Brazil where men gather to play football and cry to the disputed Republic of Artsakh where women gather to have their portraits painted. We have seen projects where human endeavour has been hilariously upstaged by a lovelorn camel, a runaway pet sheep or a soppy lion, projects that have uncovered corruption in big pharma, TV news and the hydroelectric power industries. We have seen people who refuse to give up, whether it’s a grandfather’s search for a lost granddaughter, a director’s search for their mirror self or a granny learning the high kicking Pom Pom Dance. As ever it has been a gruelling and at times heart breaking task for our judges. They had to whittle it down to just five, but I am proud of our finalists. Each one exhibits a rare combination of strong narrative storytelling and compelling cinematic sensibility. Each one is both unique and universal. The Whicker pitch at Sheffield Doc/Fest, 8th June, will be a sizzler!”