It is official: Our top prize of £100,000 goes to Ragini Nath and Chinmoy Sonowal from Assam in North East India for Our Hoolocks, whilst Toby Bull from North East London, UK wins the £20,000 development award with Re-Evaluation. The winners were selected from five finalists at this year’s edition of Sheffield Doc/Fest following The Whickers Pitch on Sunday 26th June. The announcement was made by one of the Judges Mak CK and Whicker’s Artistic Director Jane Ray at the Doc/Fest Awards Ceremony on the evening of Tuesday 28th June.
Our Hoolocks, is an endearing, universal tale of human-animal coexistence that packs an urgent environmental punch. It is a story of hard choices and complex realities shot with engaging beauty. It captures the daily lives of characterful family of Hoolock Gibbons whose future is threatened by ignorance and the human quest for oil.
Jo Lapping, Head of Factual Acquisitions at the BBC and a member of our judging panel said: “Ragini and Chinmoy’s passionate commitment to telling the story of this community and the beautiful animals they are endeavouring to protect, promises to provide the audience with an immersive and moving insight into their world.”
Upon announcing the award juror and the documentary maker Mak CK said “Our Hoolocks ticks so many boxes: unique access to a hidden community, that tackles a pressing global issue, with an underdog to root for and cute cuddly animals.”
Upon accepting the award, Ragini shared these words: “This is so overwhelming and I cannot sum up the words what it means to keep going with the film. I would really like to thank The Whickers and Sheffield DocFest for giving us the support to bring a story from the corners of North East India to a much wider audience. More than that, I would really like to thank Valerie, Jane, Emily and the jury for giving a platform for first time filmmakers coming from Ukraine, China and Germany, Cameroon and the UK. We really felt a sense of community and the courage to go forward with the stories we want to tell.”
The runner-up prize of £20,000 in development funding went to the UK-based director, Toby Bull for his film Re-Evaluation. Grieving his parents’ untimely deaths, filmmaker Toby Bull seeks solace from their diaries and home videos. Instead, he uncovers the abuse they faced as children – and their hopes of healing through a secretive psychotherapy movement called Re-Evaluation Counselling. In this multi-layered, personal story, Toby grapples with this controversial organisation, in the hope that it will help him to re-evaluate the past he thought he knew.
Oli Harbottle, Head of Distribution and Acquisitions at the BBC and a member of our judging panel said: “The judges were all incredibly impressed by Toby’s pitch, his film promises to use his own deeply personal story to address universal themes of trauma, grief and our relationships with our parents. It’s exciting to support Toby as he continues to unearth more material and we look forward to seeing the direction in which the film goes.”
When Toby was awarded the development fund, he said: “I’m extremely excited and honoured to receive this year’s runner-up award from The Whickers. This development fund come at the perfect time as it will enable my team and I to further develop the project by answering key questions about the film’s final form at this early stage, before taking it out into the world.”
We would also like to thank our five finalists for their hard work and commitment to sharing their extraordinary stories with the world. You can find out more about them all in our 2022 catalogue HERE.
About the Film & TV Funding Award
The Film & TV Funding Award is awarded annually to an emerging filmmaker from anywhere in the world with the most promising pitch for a director-led documentary, which fulfils our core criteria. With a main award now worth £100,000 and a runner-up contribution of £20,000, The Whickers Film & TV Funding Award is one of the most significant documentary awards in the world.
Our next round of submissions open in October 2022. Find out more HERE.