2020 Factual & Natural World Production

Here is the shortlist for our 2020’s Factual or Natural World Production category. This category includes documentaries or docudramas that deal with current affairs or topical issues, people, events or phenomena. The Factual genre covers a wide array of subjects such as the economy, politics, the environment or natural world, science & technology, natural disasters, climate breakdown, and human-interest stories. Submissions can include feature length productions and series. 

Black Night in June

Director: Arthur Kent
Archive Researcher(s): Arthur Kent
Archival Sources: Arthur Kent Archive
Production Company: Skyreporter.com
Country of Production: Canada, China

Synopsis: This short factual film recounts the June 4, 1989 assault by the People’s Liberation Army on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Featured in Black Night In June are the voices and words of the students, and the chilling megaphone decrees of the Communist Party’s martial law authority, advising everyone to leave the square immediately or suffer the consequences.

FOCAL Points: This short film presents restored footage from the momentous June 4th 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square, China and gained viral traction on the 30th anniversary of the events.

Propaganda: The Art of Selling Lies

Director: Larry Weinstein
Archive Researcher(s): Céline Deligny
Archival Sources: Bundesarchiv Filmarchiv, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Mosfilm, AP Archive, Getty Images
Production Company: taglicht media Film- und Fernsehproduktion (ZDF/arte Germany) & Haweye Pictures (TVO Canada)
Country of Production: Germany, Canada

Synopsis: From ancient cave drawings to the unbridled stabs of Twitter, every form of media has been exploited in order to sway, awe and intimidate. In a world where access to media is unprecedented, the global conversation around the propagation of information, “alternative facts” and “fake news” has never been more heated. Propaganda: The Art of Selling Lies demystifies the means and methods of propagandist persuasion that have been employed by those seeking power throughout history.

FOCAL Points: A combination of footage from nearly 40 different global archives helps to demonstrate how propagandist media has dispensed – often false – information, also incorporating films like Triumph of the Will and Battleship Potemkin.

Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy

Director: Mimi Armstrong deGruy
Archive Researcher(s): Mimi Armstrong deGruy, Shannon Dybvig, Brent Sumner
Archival Sources: Mike deGruy’s Personal Collection, BBC Worldwide, National Geographic.
Production Company: The Film Crew Inc
Country of Production: United States
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfErd8_faLY

Synopsis: A behind-the-scenes look at charismatic ocean-explorer and filmmaker Mike deGruy, a man who spent his life pushing the boundaries of ocean exploration and shared his profound understanding with a worldwide audience. After his death in 2012, his wife and filmmaking partner Mimi deGruy to complete the most important film of their life; a spectacular call to action on behalf of the world’s oceans, compiling never-before-seen footage and interviews with collaborators.

Archival Highlights: This biopic largely draws from material shot by the man himself – whilst also dipping into the BBC and National Geographic archives – and creates a testament to a world that may not survive its environmental challenges.

Mike Wallace is Here

Director: Avi Belkin
Archive Researcher(s): Gideon Kennedy, Jeffrey Kanjanapangka, Susan Ricketts, Samantha Kerzner, Jessica Berman Bogdan
Archival Sources: CBS News, The New York Times, National Geographic, ABC, FOX News
Production Company: Delirio Films, Rock Paper Scissors Entertainment
Country of Production: United States

Synopsis: For over half a century, “60 Minutes” fearsome newsman Mike Wallace went head-to-head with the world’s most influential figures. Relying exclusively on archival footage, the film interrogates the interrogator, tracking Mike’s storied career and troubled personal life while unpacking how broadcast journalism evolved to today’s precarious tipping point.

Archival Highlights: Access to never-before-seen raw materials and outtakes from the CBS News archive were amongst the 698 hours of footage used to build this film entirely from archival material.