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Jury Criteria

The FOCAL International Award juries are composed of professionals from the international media archive sector as well as the wider creative and cultural industries. We encourage diverse participation on the juries and, as a result, jurors may bring different priorities to their role and differing ways of appreciating how footage is used within a submission. We encourage debate within the juries, moderated by the chair, that engages with the different values that footage brings to the viewing experience, including historical objectivity and creative innovation. The following criteria is not a prescriptive check list but a set of guidelines to help navigate jurors.

In all categories, Jury Members should look for examples of work where:

  1. Footage is central to the success of the production or has made an invaluable contribution
  2. Intelligent use of footage has helped the understanding of the topic or illustrated it in a way that words alone could not do
  3. Traditional construction or innovative use of footage has managed to portray a topic in a unique way

Jury Members should also consider any of the following:

  • The previous use and exposure of the chosen footage – has the archive material already been widely seen?
  • The efforts made to find new and/or appropriate footage and how this has been managed into the final project.
  • The efforts made to ensure that the footage is well presented, including correct ratio, speed and colour and technical work to make the footage look possible and maintain the integrity of the original material.
  • The relationship between the footage and the corresponding commentary or interviews.
  • The factual accuracy of the production’s narration.
  • The historical accuracy of the footage used.

Please also consider:

  • How the footage is incorporated into and influences the style of the production or influences the creative merits of the production.
  • How the footage provides a level of historical evidence or accuracy to the overall narrative or provides insight into experiences that other forms of storytelling could not.
  • How the footage adds to the audience’s viewing experience.

The range of footage sources, which may highlight the efforts made to find relevant footage to illustrate the topic(s) portrayed.

Although FOCAL acknowledge that stills are often an important asset when working with footage however, the juries are asked to only judge a submission on the use of footage alone, not its use of stills.

The criteria are deliberately loose, as submitted productions may be judged in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. The recipient of our production awards should be the production team involved, including the Footage/Archive Researcher(s)/Producer(s), headed by the Director or Producer.