The Grierson Trust has announced its call for entries for this year’s British Documentary Awards, also known as the Grierson Awards. The awards celebrate and promote excellence in documentary filmmaking for broadcasters, theatrical releases and streaming platforms.

This year’s awards cover 16 film categories spanning the factual and documentary genres, from feature films to formatted series, uncovering new talent alongside recognising contributions from well-known names behind – and in front of – the camera. The closing date for entries is 1 June, with the awards ceremony taking place on 9 November at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.

2022 marked the 50th anniversary of the awards, with a record number of entries from around the world showcasing compelling content on platforms including the BBC, Netflix, ITV, Channel 4, Apple TV+ and Disney+, as well as theatrical releases. The Trust is again looking for entries which represent the best factual content from filmmakers anywhere, made available to UK audiences within the eligibility period.

Lorraine Heggessey, Chair of The Grierson Trust said: “Documentaries have the power to enthral and educate audiences by telling new stories or shedding new light on past and current events that can bring about political or societal change. Our viewing habits may change, but the finest documentary films remain centre stage on every platform and schedule as audiences demand stimulating, engaging content. By celebrating the incredible talent of creative teams in the UK and internationally, the Grierson Awards help to ensure that documentary filmmaking will continue to be as relevant and admired as ever.”

The 2023 awards again include two additional special categories: the BBC Grierson Trustees Award honours an outstanding contribution to the art or craft of documentary filmmaking. The Sky Documentaries Grierson Hero of the Year Award recognises an individual, working in a behind the scenes role and at any stage of their career, who has made a significant, positive difference to the way the industry operates over the past year. The past two winners were Clare Richards, founder of We Are Doc Women, and Line Producer and Head of Production Serena Kennedy.

The Grierson Trust is committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in documentary filmmaking, and the industry more widely, through the Grierson Awards as well as its wider programme of work including three Grierson DocLab training initiatives. Juries will take into consideration the efforts that have been made to include under-represented groups both on and off screen as The Trust believes this is part of the overall excellence that all nominees are expected to achieve.

Sylvia Bednarz, Managing Director of The Grierson Trust added: “Widening the talent pool and bringing under-represented voices and stories to the screen helps drive creativity; ultimately ensuring that audiences continue to search out and enjoy the incredibly varied films and series recognised by the Grierson Awards.”

All entries must have had their first UK screening between 1 June 2022 and 31 May 2023. This includes scheduled screenings within recognised film, television and documentary festivals. Entries are accepted for all digital platforms – as long as the content was accessible by a UK-based audience within the qualifying period. You can find more detailed information on criteria, eligibility and terms and conditions for entry on The Grierson Trust website.

The Grierson Trust is grateful to all its sponsors who help support the awards including headline sponsors All3Media and category sponsors BBC, Channel 4, Disney+, ENVY, Fulwell 73, Netflix, Red Bull Studios, Sky Documentaries, Televisual, The Open University, as well as sponsors and supporters Apple TV+, British Council, Little Dot Studios and Satusfaction. The awards event will take place in November at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Pippa Considine

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