The Grierson Trust has announced the recipients of both its Trustees’ Award and Hero of The Year Award to be presented at the 2023 British Documentary Awards in association with All3Media.

Documentary maker Anna Hall will receive the BBC Grierson Trustees’ Award, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the art and craft of documentary. Deaf & Disabled People in TV (DDPTV) will receive the Sky Documentaries Grierson Hero of The Year Award, for its successful work to increase diversity and inclusion in documentary and factual television.

The awards will be presented at the ceremony which takes place on 9 November at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, hosted by Nish Kumar.

Anna Hall’s first film was Dunblane: Remembering our Children, a personal film as she grew up in the town. It premiered on ITV on the first anniversary of the shootings and was nominated for numerous awards including the RTS Best Single Documentary, an Emmy and a Prix Italia. Since then, Anna’s critically acclaimed, high-profile films have included Edge of the City (Channel 4), The Hunt for Britain’s Sex Gangs (Channel 4), Behind Closed Doors (BBC One), Libby, Are You Home Yet? (Sky), and The Push (Channel 4). Anna has won and been nominated for multiple awards across her 28-year career including RTS, BAFTA, Griersons and Women in Film and TV. In 2014, she set up female-led independent production company Candour Productions, based in Leeds. Her vision for the company is a workplace which is truly inclusive and flexible in its approach, including mentoring and employing female directors for her films.

Lorraine Heggessey, Chair of The Grierson Trust says: “Anna Hall has consistently set out to create agenda-setting, high-profile documentaries which often challenge established thinking and lead to real change to the everyday lives of individuals and communities. Alongside the highest quality films she produces, she has championed inclusive filmmaking and in particular the role and work of female directors in an industry in which they are often overlooked, and she stands out as a beacon of out-of-London television production. I can’t think of a better recipient of this year’s BBC Grierson Trustees’ Award.”

Previous Trustees’ Award winners including documentary luminaries Roger Graef OBE, Tabitha Jackson, Asif Kapadia, Dorothy Byrne, Sir Trevor MacDonald OBE, Alastair Fothergill, Louis Theroux, Sir David Attenborough, John Battsek, Molly Dineen, Nick Fraser, Alex Graham, Kim Longinotto, Kevin MacDonald, Norma Percy, John Pilger and Penny Woolcock.

The Sky Documentaries Grierson Hero of the Year Award, now in its third year, recognises the achievements of people working behind the scenes in documentary or factual TV who have had a real impact on the industry over the last twelve months.

This year’s recipient, DDPTV, is a disabled-led organisation dedicated to elevating, progressing and advocating for off-screen Deaf, Disabled and/or Neurodivergent talent within the TV industry. DDPTV runs an online forum enabling 2000 industry professionals to network, receive peer to peer support, access exclusive events and view prospective jobs with access information. DDPTV also provides advice and guidance to indies, broadcasters, recruiters and other stakeholders and runs cross-genre networking events to help companies grow their talent pools.

The three Co-Directors – Drama Producer Bryony Arnold, BBC Assistant Commissioner Caroline O’Neill and Executive Cast and Talent Producer Charlie Pheby – have considerable shared lived experience across a variety of genres, and are familiar with the barriers faced by Deaf, Disabled and/or Neurodivergent people having been there themselves.

Sylvia Bednarz, Managing Director of The Grierson Trust says: “The testimonials we received for Deaf & Disabled People in TV all point to how the organisation has been a real driver for increased inclusivity in our industry, successfully working with broadcasters, streamers, indies and disabled people themselves to help talented, diverse people enter and sustain successful careers in documentary making. But they also point out how Caroline, Bryony and Charlie spend so much time and effort doing this alongside their very busy day jobs.  As one nominee succinctly put it, ‘they are true heroes.’”

Jon Creamer

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