Listen to Britain - Again!

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Listen To Britain, 12 aspiring filmmakers have been commissioned to capture the diversity of contemporary Britain.

13 June 2017
We are thrilled to be annoucing the outstanding projects selected for Listen to Britian. After putting out the call earlier this year, we had an overwhelming response from a huge, diverse range of voices across the whole of the country, and the most inspirational short docs are now in production.   
We've been working alongside BBC Four and Wingspan Productions, who will be overseeing the production of the shorts. Together we announced the directors at Sheffield Doc/Fest, who have recieved awards of up to £5,000 to create unique interpretations of modern British life. All of the emerging filmmakers have taken inspiration from the original Listen To Britain, which pioneered a new form of documentary filmmaking, and were selected for the originality of their idea and the individuality of their filmic voice. 

Here's a list of all the directors, and some more info on each of the projects:

Alex Campbell - Voices of Britain (working title)

Alex will create a poetic montage of stories from around the UK, showing our similarities are greater than our differences. Home videos and filmed interviews reveal the broad and vibrant tapestry of our country today. Focusing on households and individuals - their hopes, their fears, their dreams - this film creates an intimate yet wide-reaching snapshot of now. From coast to coast, this is a poetic oral history of Britain which tries to show that our fundamental similarities far outnumber our differences.

Amrou Al-Kadhi - CLASH
In contemporary Britain, why do period dramas still capture so many of the nation’s hearts? Why do we glorify a past that was hostile to marginalised groups, such as people of colour, or LGBTQ+ communities? Why, in a time when diversity is so critical, are nostalgic stories so prominent on our screens? CLASH is an experimental documentary critiquing how period dramas can erase the diverse reality of contemporary Britain. This film will document the lives and voices of some remarkable queer people of colour in London, discussing the social importance of on-screen representation.

Callum Rice - Listen To Bridgeton
An impressionistic study of the last purpose built Corporation Bus Garage in Glasgow - a garage, full of vehicles that once symbolised Britain's industrial past, now serves as a means to a better future. Individuals, who are affected by uncertainty which deindustrialisation and austerity have brought to communities, find new purpose in this place. The restoration of Bridgeton is tangible, but more importantly the rebuilding of self-worth is reflected in the restoration of the vehicles.

Catherine Harte - Accents Speak Louder
A short documentary centred around an accent training class in East London, focusing on students who wish to speak the Queen's English. This is a story about what it is to sound British from the perspective of those who are trying to change their accent to fit in.

Florence Kennard - Eric (working title)
How can one dog make such a big impact on so many people’s lives? What does Britain look like from a therapy dog’s point of view? This short film about a dog therapist is therapy in itself, taking the form of a documentary-symphony; a musical journey through Eric the Therapy Dog's day. The film travels with Eric and his owner Diane, as they journey from a hospital ward, to a care home, to a day centre for people with learning difficulties and to a school classroom. Eric’s unique viewpoint gives the viewer intimate access to a selection of marginalised people within a busy London community.

Gareth Johnson – Poetic Unity (working title)
This film is a collaboration with Poetic Unity, which is based at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton. Poetic Unity encourages young people to engage with issues which they would normally have trouble articulating through poetry and spoken word. Three members of Poetic Unity will create eight-minute spoken word monologues relating to their experiences of Britain in 2017. These performances will be filmed and location footage captured personifying the contributor’s lives and words.

Hermione Russell - India Hope: A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Woman
This is a portrait of a 24 year-old female poet and artist with Down’s Syndrome. Through the affecting and sometimes brutal honesty of her words we encounter a young woman who refuses to be contained within the moniker of a syndrome. In listening to these words we encounter an alternative perspective, which invites us to consider the value of both our differences and our similarities.

Maia Krall Fry - The Silent Roars
Young girls of Britain are creating a roar across the internet. With millions listening, they are sparking online debate and conversation. We reveal how the voices of their followers are also sculpting their own very real existence. This surreal audio-visual poem, centres on four of the internet's biggest stars. It explores their complex relationships with the sounds of the internet, and the blurred boundaries between on and offline emotions.

Marcus Armitage - That Yorkshire Sound
An audio-driven animated documentary covers a day of life in Yorkshire, where the filmmaker was born. This is a rhythmical glimpse of the diverse life and culture that exists in this varied landscape. It will capture the sound of Yorkshire, from its multicultural bustling cities like Bradford and Sheffield to the delicate sounds of birds in the country side and the hypnotic rhythm of the motorways and train tracks.

Michael Ho - From HK to MK
Born to a British mother and a Chinese father, the filmmaker was raised in Milton Keynes, a new town designed to be a utopia for the 21st century, but, for the filmmaker, felt symbolically far from racially-diverse London. This film examines identity as a fluid and constantly evolving state of mind and asks who determines what is legitimately and authentically British? The filmmaker poses questions about his own identity in a changing world and whether the recent political climate signals a less tolerant Britain.

Ruth Grimberg - A Very British Welcome (Working Title)
Beyond the high hedges of an ordinary English town, Ingrid and her children share their home with Ahmed, a young Kurdish man from Syria, whose family were separated as they fled the war in Aleppo and sought refuge in Europe. Ingrid is one of an eclectic group of volunteers who have opened their homes to help those refugees who have slipped through the bureaucratic net of government aid and find themselves without shelter. As Ingrid supports Ahmed in his efforts to find work and independence they find themselves on a journey of mutual discovery and friendship.

Theodore Tennant - Maesteg

Theodore will look at South Wales through the eyes of a local taxi firm. This short documentary follows the journeys of two taxi drivers travelling through the heavily industrialised landscape surrounding the old mining town of Maesteg and Port Talbot in South Wales. This film follows the drivers to the places that are important to both their own personal stories as well as that of the area. The stories of these men and women, weave into the landscape much like the winding roads the taxis trundle along. The film acts as a record what happens when the industry, celebrated in Listen To Britain (1942) can no longer survive..

Filming is already underway on all the shorts and they will premiere at BFI Southbank in September, and some will broadcast on BBC Four. We can't wait to see the finished films.