Docu ‘Grave’ gets top prize at Banff TV fest

Shows scale Rockies

BANFF, Canada — “A Cry From the Grave,” a chilling docu about the massacre of 7,000 Muslim refugees in Srebrenica, was the grand prize winner of the Banff Rockie Awards, presented Monday.

Produced by Antelope/BBC/WNET and Ryninks Films, “A Cry From the Grave” was the unanimous pick of the international jury as the winner of the top Rockie. The awards are the highlight of the Banff Television Festival. “Cry From the Grave” also won for history and biography program.

“The Sopranos,” recipient of the coveted award for continuing series, beat out five other nominees, including critical compatriots “The Practice,” “The West Wing,” “ER” and “NYPD Blue.”

HBO’s “A Lesson Before Dying” took the award for TV movie and “Longitude,” a U.K./U.S. co-production about the search for a way to measure longitude at sea, took the prize for miniseries.

Comedy nod went to “Smack the Pony,” a Talkback production for C4 from the U.K. “American Masters: Hitchcock, Selznick and the End of Hollywood,” from WNET, was named best arts documentary.

Canada’s National Film Board showed it hasn’t lost its edge, taking kudos in the animation category for the NFB production “When the Day Breaks.” The Australian Children’s Television and ABC TV co-production “Round the Twist: Whirling Derfish” took the award for children’s program.

“Le business du kidnapping,” about warring factions that kidnap for profit, from CAPA/France 2, received the Rockie in the information category. The award for performance program went to “Eine nacht, ein leben,” featur-ing the music of Arnold Schonberg, and produced by Eins54/ZDF in association with Arte, the European Culture Channel.

There was a tie in the science and natural history category, with Rockies going to both “Island of the Vampire Birds,” from ABC/National Geo-graphic/BBC with Telecast Intl., and “Riddles of the Desert Mummies,” from Terra Nova TV with Discovery Channel U.S.

Special jury prizes went to “The Murder of Stephen Lawrence,” a Granada TV production in association with Vanson Prods., and “Pink Trian-gle (Paragraph 175)” from Telling Stories Prods. with C4/HBO Cinemax.

The 21st annual Banff TV festival runs through Friday.