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The BFI launches 'Listen to Britain 2017'

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Listen to Britain, Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister's poetic collage of British life, BBC Four, in partnership with BFI NETWORK, is offering the next generation of filmmakers an exciting opportunity to capture the diversity of modern Britain. Not only will successful entries be awarded production backing as part of this new project, but all works created will have the chance to be broadcast on the BBC and screened at BFI Southbank.

Created in 1942, Listen To Britain was aimed at boosting morale during WWII and galvanising global support for the United Kingdom. Directed and edited by Jennings and McAllister, Listen To Britain pioneered a new form of subtle propaganda, engaging audiences in a way never been seen before.

Listen to Britain 2017 will again look to observe life in the United Kingdom, seeking unique interpretations inspired by the original film and created by emerging filmmakers.

Open exclusively to new filmmakers, Listen To Britain 2017 will commission up to 12 documentary pieces, all of which will be considered for broadcast on BBC Four and a special screening at BFI Southbank. Entries will be judged by a panel of industry experts from the BBC, BFI and award-winning Wingspan Productions. Production awards of up to £5000 will be issued to fund, or partly fund, the successful submissions.

Filmmakers will be given freedom to select their style, content and tone, with films limited to 2 - 12 minutes in duration. Production mentoring and delivery coordination will be handled Wingspan Productions, ensuring ongoing project support.

Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor BBC Four says “We are incredibly proud to be fostering new and innovative documentary talent on BBC Four with our partners at BFI and Wingspan Productions. BBC Four is a home for exceptional documentary programming that reflects the diverse country we live in. Listen To Britain 2017 perfectly fits this ethos and we are excited to see the dynamic films that result from this project.”

Ben Roberts, Director of Film Fund at the BFI says “The great Humphrey Jennings and his collaborator Stewart McAllister created an artistic and lasting portrait of British identity at a pivotal moment in our history, and it is in that spirit of outstanding filmmaking that we‘re now searching for new voices to uncover stories of the UK and its people in 2017. This is a really exciting opportunity I would urge budding filmmakers everywhere to apply.”

Archie Wingspan Creative Director, Wingspan Productions says ‘The original ‘Listen to Britain’ remains such an inspiring and intriguing film - it’s simultaneously an observational essay, creative soundscape, film poem, and a piece of very British propaganda. But we live in such different times. I can’t wait to see how today’s new and emerging filmmakers respond imaginatively to the original. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even create works of their own which come to embody Britain in 2017 for those looking back 75 years hence.’ 

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