Lancaster University

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Lancaster Film-maker Wins BBC New Talent Contest

01/30/2008 10:16:20

from left: BBC Exec Producer Nick Mirsky , Danny Dewsbury and BBC Commissioning Editor Kate Beetham at the Sheffield Documentary Festival
from left: BBC Exec Producer Nick Mirsky , Danny Dewsbury and BBC Commissioning Editor Kate Beetham at the Sheffield Documentary Festival

An award-winning film maker from Lancaster University has fought off stiff competition to work with top BBC producers on a new documentary strand.

Danny Dewsbury beat over five hundred entries to go forward as one of only five finalists at the Sheffield Documentary Festival, where he was interviewed on stage by Nick Mirsky, BBC Executive Producer, Sarah Swingler, Executive Producer, Darlow Smithson Productions Ltd and Angela Wallis, Executive Producer BBC New Talent.

He said: “I had to pitch two ideas before a live audience on stage, with one of the ideas only thought out about 10 minutes beforehand when we were given a newspaper article and told to come up with ideas for translating it into a documentary. Then the audience and the BBC producers had to vote for their favourite candidate.”

Danny, who graduated last year in Media and Cultural Studies, impressed the audience with his documentary idea 'Half-Pipe Dreams', which follows the lives of two young skateboarders and their campaign to become the first British Skaters in the Olympics.

He was chosen for a nine month paid placement with BBC Documentaries and Special Features where he will work with Executive Producer Nick Mirsky, who has produced 'The Armstrongs' and 'Louis Theroux'. Danny will act as researcher on a new BBC 2 documentary strand called 'Wonderland'.

He said: “It’s a great chance to work with a highly experienced producer. The “Wonderland” documentary strand looks at Britain through the individual but without being hyped up like reality TV. It’ll be my job to come up with the ideas and follow them through so it’s very exciting.”

A BBC spokesman said: “We were looking for people with an original approach to documentary making and who had a good eye for a story, who demonstrated a passion for the medium and had the potential to develop. This was a great opportunity to gain invaluable and insightful training in researching and storytelling for documentaries and learn from some of the best in the business.”

Danny’s career has taken off since he won two awards at the National Student Film Festival - the Grand Jury Prize for the Best Student Film and another prize for Student Documentary of the Year.

He has since been headhunted for a documentary series made for BBC 3 called “Fat Teens Can’t Hunt”, which took him to the rainforests of Borneo where the teenagers had to fend for themselves.

“It was exciting living in the jungle with this tribe for six weeks and provided me with an amazing experience.”