The Grierson Trust has now opened entries for the 2021 awards with three new categories added.

The new categories include Best Music Documentary, Best Sports Documentary and Grierson Hero of the Year. The Best Cinema Documentary category has been suspended for 2021 only and the Natural History category definition has been expanded to include documentaries on the environment.

There are 15 categories to enter before May 28th closing date.

Lorraine Heggessey, Chair of The Grierson Trust said: “We are always keen to reflect the breadth of documentary genre so we have made a number of changes to the awards for 2021 including the introduction of three new categories. There have been an increasing number of outstanding sport related documentaries on our screens recently, so we have brought in a Sport category for the first time. We also felt that Music deserved a category of its own, so we have separated it from Arts. Natural History has been expanded to specifically recognise the increasing number of documentaries that focus on environmental issues.

“The challenges of the past year have highlighted the invaluable role played by many people behind the scenes who often don’t get the recognition they deserve. We hope to address this through our new special award, the Grierson Hero of the Year. This will be presented to an individual judged by our Trustees to have made a positive impact within the industry during the previous 12 months. This person may be working in any area and be at any level of their career. The award will be given someone who has gone the extra mile and made an outstanding difference.”

In addition to the new categories, as the impact of the pandemic rolls on, there will be no Best Cinema category this year as there has been little opportunity to show documentaries on the big screen. However, feature documentaries are accepted in all the single documentary categories.

Entrants will again be asked to identify steps that were taken to ensure diversity and inclusion in the making of their film or series. Juries will take into consideration the efforts that have been made to include under-represented groups both on and off screen; as well as any themes and narratives that address diversity and inclusion.

Lorraine Heggessey continued: “By asking entrants to identify these specific elements of their production, we continue to emphasise that diversity and inclusion are intrinsic to the overall excellence of any production.”

For the 2021 awards, all entries must have had their first UK screening between 1 June 2020 and 31 May 2021. This includes scheduled screenings within recognised film, television and documentary festivals. Entries are accepted for both analogue and digital platforms – such as Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon – as long as the screening was accessible by a UK-based audience.

 

2021 AWARDS CATEGORY DESCRIPTIONS

 

Envy Best Single Documentary – Domestic 

A single documentary which deals primarily with UK-based subjects on contemporary themes: e.g., society, business, religion, welfare etc.

* Single episodes from series will not be eligible but episodes from strands are acceptable, eg First Cut, etc.

 

Best Single Documentary – International 

A single documentary which deals primarily with international subjects on contemporary themes: e.g., society, business, religion, welfare etc.

* Single episodes from series will not be eligible but episodes from strands are acceptable, eg Storyville, Unreported World, etc.

 

Best Current Affairs Documentary 

A single documentary, or an episode from a strand or series, which focuses on specific news or current affairs events. Entries may cover domestic or international subjects. Judges will be looking for evidence of outstanding investigative journalism, access and insights.

 

Best Arts Documentary NEW OR AMENDED CATEGORY

A single documentary, or an episode from a strand or series, on an arts subject.

 

Sky Documentaries Best Music Documentary NEW OR AMENDED CATEGORY

A single documentary, or an episode from a strand or series, on a music subject.

 

Best Sports Documentary NEW OR AMENDED CATEGORY

A single documentary, or an episode from a strand or series, which addresses any aspect of sport.

 

Channel 5 Best History Documentary 

A single documentary, or an episode from a strand or series, on an historical subject.

 

The Open University Best Science Documentary 

A single documentary, or an episode from a strand or series, which addresses any aspect of science or medicine.

 

Discovery Best Natural History or Environmental Documentary NEW OR AMENDED CATEGORY

A single documentary, or an episode from a strand or series, which addresses any aspect of natural history or the environment.

 

YouTube Originals Best Entertaining Documentary 

A single documentary or an episode from a strand or series that sets out primarily to entertain. Judges will be looking for humour, wit, and elegance of style. Entries can be on any subject and in any format, including factual and reality-based programmes.

 

Channel 4 Best Constructed Documentary Series 

An unscripted series, of two or more episodes, that examines the actions or behaviour of individuals within a created format or constructed environment.

* Entrants must provide a minimum of two episodes from the series for judging.

 

NetflixBest Documentary Series 

A finite series of two or more episodes with a single, overall theme.

* Entrants must provide a minimum of two episodes from the series for judging.

 

All3MediaBest Student Documentary  

Awarded to a student director for a film made during a UK-based, full-time academic course.

* All entries must be supported by a description of the course and the contact details of the course tutor.

 

The Rumi Foundation Best Documentary Short 

Awarded to a single documentary with a running time of 25 minutes or less. Can include branded content.

 

Best Documentary Presenter 

This award goes to the presenter or presenting team who has made the most outstanding contribution to documentary programming within the qualifying period. Whether in arts, music, religion, history, science, natural history or contemporary theme, the jury is looking for presenters who engage the audience and bring originality of thought, insight, perspective and content to a subject.

* Entrants should provide a complete programme or episode and entries must be supported by a statement of up to 500 words about why the presenter should be considered for this award.

 

BBCGrierson Trustees’ Award 

Awarded for or an exceptional body of work or an outstanding contribution to the art or craft of the documentary. There is no entry fee for this award and the recipient will be decided by board members of The GriersonTrust.

 

Grierson Hero of the Year Award NEW OR AMENDED CATEGORY

Awarded to an individual who has made a positive impact within the industry in the previous 12 months. They can be a person working in any area, behind or in front of the camera, and be at any level of their career. The award is given in recognition of someone who has gone the extra mile and made an outstanding difference. There is no entry fee for this award and the recipient will be decided by board members of The Grierson Trust.

 

Jon Creamer