U.K. docu org to get $1.9 mil over two years
The Britdoc Foundation, one of the key players in the U.K.’s vibrant feature documentary sector, has won a significant funding increase from its main backer, Channel 4.Britdoc will receive £1.2 million ($1.9 million) over the next two years, a 50% rise on its current budget. Since the non-profit org was created with initial funding from C4 in 2005, it has financed more than 60 films, many of which have gone on to win awards around the world. They include two Sundance winners: “Hell and Back Again,” helmer Danfung Dennis’ experiences as an embed with the Marines in Afghanistan, and “Afghan Star,” Havana Marking’s look at how the “American Idol”-style show is changing the country; plus Paul Taylor’s Tribeca winner “We Are Together,” about the Agape Children’s Choir in South Africa, and Berlin winner “The Yes Men Fix the World,” from Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno. C4’s chief creative officer Jay Hunt said, “Over the past six years, Britdoc has been the catalyst for an incredibly impressive body of work. Britdoc nurtures new and emerging talent, its films win major awards and are seen worldwide.” Britdoc chief exec Jess Search said, “The foundation has grown into a mature organization with international partnerships including Sundance Institute, Puma Creative and Ford Foundation.” The funding announcement coincided with the 2011 Grierson British Documentary Awards, which took place Tuesday at London’s BFI Southbank. Clio Barnard’s “The Arbor,” about late British playwright Andrea Dunbar, was named best cinema doc. “Out of the Ashes,” Tim Albone, Lucy Martens and Leslie Knott’s doc following the Afghan cricket team in its quest to qualify for the 2011 World Cup, won for best newcomer. Another cricket title, Stevan Riley’s “Fire in Babylon,” about the record-breaking West Indies team of the 1970s and 1980s, won best historical doc.