TV Programmes PR
TV Programmes PR
ALAN WHICKER COLLECTION NOW AVAILBLE TO VIEW AT BFI SOUTHBANK AS PART OF LATEST ACQUISITIONS EXHIBITION
ALAN WHICKER COLLECTION NOW AVAILBLE TO VIEW AT BFI SOUTHBANK AS PART OF LATEST ACQUISITIONS EXHIBITION
Inside Whicker’s World: The life and travels of Alan Whicker
- Alan Whicker collection on view now as part of an exhibition of material from the BFI National Archive’s Special Collections; ‘Latest Acquisitions’ is free to view in the Mezzanine Gallery at BFI Southbank until October 23
- Items on display include Alan Whicker’s passports, a BBC Audience report for Whicker Down Under, interview question cards for Papa Doc: The Black Sheep (1969) and The World of James Bond (1967), photographs, correspondence, and shooting schedules
- Test your knowledge by taking part in a travel quiz made by the Whicker’s World Foundation – https://whickersworldfoundation.com/2016/10/quiz-how-well-do-you-know-whickers-world/
- Submissions for Whicker’s World Foundation Awards 2017 are now being accepted
As well as caring for one of the world’s richest and most significant moving image collections, the BFI National Archive also holds world-class Special Collections of scripts, posters, designs, photographs and other documents, including the archives of some of Britain’s most important film and programme makers. This exhibition presents highlights from some of our exciting recent acquisitions including the papers of Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan, television journalist and documentary-maker Alan Whicker, and S John Woods, the man behind many of the best-loved Ealing Studios posters. The exhibition is open now and free to view until October 23rd 2016 at BFI Southbank, Mezzanine Gallery, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XT.
The BFI National Archive is now home to the archives of pioneering investigative TV journalist, Alan Whicker, donated by Valerie Kleeman, Whicker’s World Foundation. The collection contains meticulous records of one of the most enduring and influential careers in British television history, spanning the late 1950s into the 21st century.
This is an extensive and significant donation covering the entire career of a world-renowned broadcaster, and represents a unique insight into the production methods of a master documentarian. Alan Whicker’s name is a by-word for brilliantly crafted and revealing studies of people and places, whether exploring behind the scenes of the Miss World competition, interviewing Papa Doc in Haiti, or exposing the lifestyles of the hippies of San Francisco, with an enquiring mind and a sceptical tone. This unlikely figure, clad in Gucci tie and blazer, found his way into the nation’s hearts as he went where his audience was unlikely to follow.
The meticulously kept Alan Whicker archive spans the years 1938-2014. It includes a school report from 1938, documents relating to his war career and letters, photographs, extensive production files, audience reports, interview notes and questions (including Whicker’s hand-annotated question cards) and transcripts of every TV programme he made, along with some, as yet, unidentified films. The archive gives an insider’s view of some of the key events, social trends and personalities of the 20th century, while fully documenting the changing world of television reportage across more than five decades.
Around Whicker’s World in 13 Guesses
Test your knowledge of Alan Whicker’s Life and Work by taking part in our quiz
Submissions for Whicker’s World Foundation Awards 2017 are now being accepted
The Funding Award
This is the primary focus of Whicker’s World Foundation. Each year £80,000 will be awarded to a new director with the most promising pitch for an authored documentary which fulfils the core criteria of the Foundation and can be completed for screening with this award. The money will be paid in instalments to the director’s film company, enabling a project which deserves to reach as wide an audience as possible. This year it was won by Alex Bescoby for Burma’s Lost Royals. The closing date for entries is 31st January 2017 and the shortlists will be announced in May 2016. Entrants must be aged 35 years or younger on the closing date for applications. The first winners will be announced by Whicker’s World Foundation at the Sheffield Doc/Fest Award Ceremony, which will take place on the final night of the 2017 festival, 13th June 2017.
The Whicker’s World Radio and Audio Funding Award (RAFA)
For 2017 we are introducing a new Funding Award for Radio and Audio documentary projects in association with the Radio Academy. This is for a documentary, 15 minutes or over, broadcast or published online in the previous year. The Whicker’s World Radio and Audio Funding Award (RAFA) has a £5,000 first prize and £2,000 runner up award. The deadline for this award is the 23rd of December, with the best pitch being announced at a special event in March 2017.
The Recognition Awards
In addition to our funding awards there are two further annual prizes to recognise completed work: the ‘Audio Award’ and the ‘Sage Award’, the latter of which is for the finest industry newcomer over the age of fifty.
Alan worked in radio before TV and was snapped up by Radio 2 in the late 1990s, adding what Jim Moir, the Controller from 1996 to 2003, described as “great lustre to my network”. Initially Alan’s radio programmes revolved around re-visiting his most memorable encounters from Whicker’s World: from the ‘Ten Pound Poms’ to Margaret Rutherford’s transsexual adoptee who ‘gave birth’ to a mixed-race daughter in South Carolina. He went on to create a radio history of television called It’ll Never Last.
Whicker’s World Foundation will award an annual £5,000 prize for the best audio project of over 15 minutes in length, broadcast in the last year. A runner-up will receive £2,000.
The Whicker’s World Sage Award
‘Retirement’ was not a word in Alan’s vocabulary. He was 83 when he wrote and presented Whicker’s War, a much acclaimed account of his army experiences in Italy for Channel 4. He made his last series for BBC Two, Journey of a Lifetime, in his late eighties. The Sage award will recognise a TV or audio professional who has come to air with an authored story for the first time, a prize of £5,000 will be awarded annually to an applicant aged 50 plus. Submissions of no more than 10 minutes; this can be for presentation but must be their own work. A runner-up will receive £2,000. Keith Earnest Hoult won this award for for Fluechtlinge – Refugee. Keith, a fan of Alan Whicker’s ‘gentle approach’ to interviewing, was inspired to create a ten-minute film about Syrians seeking refuge in a disused airport used for the Berlin Airlift. When he witnessed his friend’s wife Caroline trying to help refugees against a growing backlash he ‘felt the urge to film it if only for her family to reflect on later in life’. Keith learnt his film-making skills at the SAE Institute after redundancy and divorce turned his life upside-down. Judges were impressed that he made this entirely self-funded film as ‘a simple tale of ordinary people helping other ordinary people at their time of most desperate need.’
For further details on the awards and entry forms please go to
Notes to editors:
For images, media information and interviews please contact:
Siobhan Connor at Connor PR email@example.com + 44 (0) 7966 177025
For Terms and Conditions and award Criteria please go to http://whickersworldfoundation.com/application-forms/
Join the conversation: facebook.com/whickersworldfoundation
About Whicker’s World Foundation
On 7 June 2015 Whicker’s World Foundation, whose principle aim is to give a much needed fillip to authored documentary storytelling in the UK, launched three new documentary awards worth over £100,000 for the promotion of curiosity in programme making, generously funded by a legacy left by the celebrated broadcast journalist Alan Whicker. The launch took place in the Sheffield Winter Gardens led by Alex Graham, chair or Doc/Fest, Jane Ray, Artistic Director for the foundation and Kim Longinotto, multi award winning filmmaker. Entries for 2017 Awards opened on September 26th 2016 www.whickersworldfoundation.com
Connor PR’s latest TV project 41 Dogs In My Three Bed Semi – Friday 9th October 2015, 8pm, Channel 5
41 Dogs In My Three Bed Semi
Friday 9th October 2015, 8pm, Channel 5
- Dog-mad Lynn Everett loves her pet dogs so much she shares her semi-detached home with 41 of them
- Meet animal owner of 60, Steve Lucock, who claims his appearance on Britain’s Got Talent contributed to a failed marriage and left him with a home full of animals
- Dog enthusiast Emmie Stevens, 27, is so devoted to her pets that she has spent £60,000 on pampering them – with two hounds even getting hitched
There are estimated to be 71 million pets in Britain today, and 45% of households now own at least one. However, for some, one is nowhere near enough. In this remarkable film, a Middlechild production – we reveal Britain’s most staggering animal obsessives and witness what happens when animal obsessions get out of hand; the animosity, the relationship breakdowns, the risk of losing everything, and the tales of people who love animals so much they collect dozens of them in their homes.
In this one-hour documentary screened on October 9th at 8.00pm on Channel 5, we meet 57-year-old dog-mad Lynn Morgan from Barnsley, a dog obsessive. Many people have one of their favourite breeds of dogs as a pet, Lynn has one in every colour! At last count, Lynn had 41 dogs, all living inside her modest semi-detached home. Lynn lives with 25 French Bulldogs, six Chinese Crested dogs and 10 Miniature English Bull Terriers.
We follow Britain’s Got Talent performer Steve Lucock and his 60 animals as he battles to put food in the mouths of his beloved wild family, whilst attempting to feed his own obsession; and dog-lover Emmie Stevens from Croydon who has a paw print tattooed on her wedding finger.
Lynn Everett and husband, Tony Morgan, live amongst their 41 dogs in her three-bedroomed semi on a very normal-looking street in Barnsley. The dogs are free to roam the downstairs of the house and share the sofas with Lynn and Tony. 41 is the maximum number the council will allow her to keep but if she could, she’d have many more. It’s a stressful existence living amongst 41 dogs and Lynn and Tony have a very fiery relationship, especially when it comes to matters concerning the dogs.
In this film, we learn all about their lifestyle and witness the effect it has on their relationship. We meet Lynn’s disabled dogs and she explains how she gives every dog a chance, no matter how much it costs her. We reveal that Lynn breeds some of her more prized pooches and that this helps fund the upkeep of her extra-large family.
Lynn leaves the house just once a year, to go on a scouting mission to Crufts. Lynn began by breeding Bull Terriers but soon found that she couldn’t bear to part with them once born. She has sold some of her more prized puppies in the past but even though she has been breeding dogs since she was 18, she admits it’s becoming nearly impossible to let any new ones go. And now, as long as she sticks within the 41 she’s allowed, instead of selling, she’s buying too! Lynn has five chest freezers and spends £280 on tripe each month to feed her pets. She also buys copious amounts of fabric softener for the dogs’ blankets and there are beds set up for them in the front room.
Not many people could cope with the set-up the couple have in the house but Lynn’s personality seems to suit it perfectly. The worst consequence of their lifestyle choice is the abuse they attract from outsiders who don’t believe the dogs can be healthy or happy in such an environment. This has resulted in substantial trolling over the Internet, on dog-based forums and social media. The pinnacle of the abuse came during Christmas 2014, when a brick was thrown through their window.
Meanwhile in Blyth, Northumberland, animal addict 47-year-old Steve Lucock was at the peak of his career as a magician in the mid-2000s, performing around the country with his wife as his on stage assistant. As Steve is so obsessed with animals, he based their entire show around them. When their act featured on the TV show Britain’s Got Talent, the exposure resulted in 100 animals in need of a home being dropped on their doorstep, in addition to the 60 they already had! Steve’s reluctance to part with the new animals put a strain on his marriage, eventually leading to divorce and plunging Steve in financial disarray.
Not every animal act on Britain’s Got Talent goes the same way as Pudsey or Matisse it seems. Now, unemployed and without a performing partner, Steve has been forced to reduce the number of animals he lives with back to a more modest level of 60. Steve’s living room is home to a parrot and around the rest of the house you’ll find dogs, cats, meerkats, owls, raccoons, skunks, snakes, turtles, rats, doves, rabbits and Steve’s showpiece… his foxes.
The foxes are house-trained and his red fox, identical to the ones who roam the streets at night, is as tame as a ‘well-trained dog’. He often takes his fox when he entertains at children’s parties, much to the amazement of the attendees, who cannot believe how domesticated it is. Steve’s animal obsession has had serious financial repercussions. He only manages to feed his animals through donations given to him after shows he puts on for free locally. However, he is determined to continue growing his collection and is always on the lookout for new additions. In this film, we follow Steve as he tries to turn his fortunes around. We witness a rather tragic performance at a holiday camp and see evidence of Steve’s problems with money. However, he’s come up with a new idea for a show that he hopes will be a big hit on the kids’ party scene. Called Animalgique, it tells the story of the animals’ struggle against man and what children can do to help. Steve rehearses his show and promotes it around Blyth before the big night of his premiere arrives.
In Wiltshire, Mary Cunningham’s small house is overrun with cats. For many years she’s been taking them in and providing homes to any that are offered to her. Her whole life revolves around her feline family. Mary’s house is also brimming with clutter, she claims that this in fact just ‘stock’. Mary raises money for her cats by visiting car boot sales and fetes, selling her ‘stock’. In this film we learn that Mary faces the threat of eviction if the number of cats increases in her home, or if she can’t maintain the property. We watch as Mary attempts to secure a pitch at the biggest event of the year, The Calne Summer Festival and Carnival. If she can get a stall there, she’ll clear a lot of her ’stock’ and make enough money to do some decorating.
Emmie Stevens’ is an animal obsessive in training – her current 12 dogs are some of the most pampered pooches in the country. Emmie, 27, from Croydon, South London, is obsessed with dressing up canines and even calls them her children. Over the past seven years she has spent £60K on them. To Emmie, her dogs are her children and she feels a very maternal connection to them. As she says, “parents like dressing their children up” and that’s precisely what she does with her dogs. She has a whole room devoted to their outfits. Recently, Emmie married two of her dogs at a lavish ceremony attended by 30 of their best doggie friends. In the film we learn that Emmie’s addiction to dogs started after enduring years of confidence-destroying bullying before buying her first dog, Doodles. The love and happiness she got from him, and the compulsion to care that grew inside her, drove her to seek that ‘buzz’ over and over again. If there was more room in her house she’d have more dogs and one day Emmie fully intends on increasing her collection.
Connor PR promoting 41 Dogs In My Three Bed Semi, Connor PR expert in TV promotion
PUSSIES GALORE: THE WOMAN WITH A THOUSAND CATS
Friday 18th September, 8:00pm – 9.00pm
There are over 9 millions cats in our UK homes, with most owners living with a single feline friend, however for someone just isn’t enough. In this extraordinary one hour programme we meet some of the most fanatical kitty lovers who have taken their love one step further. We meet a woman who can’t stop taking local strays in, a man with a cat tattoo obsession, we get an insight into the world of cat competitions and we visit a unique establishment that allows you to enjoy your food whilst stroking a pussy.
Lynea Lattanzio is the embodiment of a crazy cat lady, she has over 1000 cats on her premises and is still unable to say no to more. What started off as company for the divorced retiree, has now spiralled into taking over her whole existence.
Lynea was refused a cat as a child and has been working hard since, making up for lost time. We visit her Californian home and see her surrounded by her furry family, witnessing just how she manages to keep things ticking. With a thousand cats on the property is it all getting too much for Lynea or will she always be thinking of the many more roaming the streets?
From Crazy Cat Lady to Crazy Cat Man, we meet pussy magnet Andy Richards who has spent the last 20 years of his life dedicating his time to helping cats. Andy, the manager of the East Lancashire Cats charity store and owner of 18 of his own, has now racked up 40 cat related tattoos! We join Andy as he embarks upon his latest design, as he goes under the needle for two more tatts. Will Andy’s cat inking obsession come to an end or will he run out of space first?
Later in the episode we meet up with some UK based cat crazies as we discover the world of the Cat Competition. We follow Sue Miller from Devon, a self admitted cat obsessive, who is taking seven of her eighteen cats to the West of England and South Wales Cat Society Show in hope of adding to her vast collection of ribbons and rosettes. We see the preparation, the judging and the results and find out just how much her little superstars winning means to her. Will the pressures of the competition get too much for Sue or will see come away with more accolades?
In the final instalment of the hour we enter a unique establishment that allows people to eat their lunch and drink a coffee surrounded by their favourite feline. We meet Katie Jane Glazier who has opened up Newcastle’s first of its kind, the Cat Café called Mog on the Tyne! In a café influenced by its phenomenon success in Japan, you can now eat your lunch at the same time as stroking a pussy. Will Katie’s unique business venture be a roaring success or will it be doomed to failure?
Connor PR specialist in TV programme promotion, Connor PR working with Channel 5, Connor PR expert in entertainment PR
I am so sad to hear about Cilla Black. She was the queen of Saturday night TV when I was growing up! Blind Date owned Saturday night in the 90s and I was very lucky to be part of it. Cilla had a great sense of humour and what you saw on television was the real Cilla. There was no pretence about her, she was the queen of entertainment. Like many others, Blind Date helped pave my way for a career in TV and I’m still in touch with some of the production team. I went onto work with Cilla when she launched her own show on Living TV. I was number three and picked by Keith from Dublin. We won a trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands and it was magical. Flew First Class and Suggs from Madness was on the plane. Happy memories!
Siobhan Connor contestant on Blind Date, Siobhan Connor MD of Connor PR pays tribute to Cilla Black,
Whicker’s World Foundation launches new documentary
awards at Sheffield Doc Fest
Three awards worth a total of £100,000
Supporting authored storytelling in the UK
First winners to be announced at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016
Sunday 7th June at Sheffield Doc/Fest: the new Whicker’s World Foundation, whose principle aim is to give a much needed fillip to authored documentary storytelling in the UK, today launches three new documentary filmmaker awards worth a total of £100,000 for the promotion of curiosity in programme making, generously funded by a legacy left by the celebrated broadcast journalist Alan Whicker, who died in 2013. Details of the Whicker’s World Foundation and the awards will be announced by filmmaker Kim Longinotto at a special event at Doc/Fest, following the screening of Whicker’s World: Conflict in Kentucky.
Says Mark Atkin, Acting Festival Director, Sheffield Doc/Fest: “I am very enthused that this foundation aims to encourage authored documentary at a time when TV is becoming increasingly formatted and when most foundations have requirements to promote social issues. This is exactly what the industry needs right now”.
The three awards – the Funding Award (worth £80,000 / £10,000 runner up) to a debut filmmaker under 30 years of age; the Recognition Award (worth £4,000 / £1,000 runner up) to the finest industry newcomer aged 50 years of age or over; and the Best Audio Documentary (worth £4,000 / £1,000) to be awarded at the In The Dark audio festival, also part of Doc/Fest – will be looking for a spirit of inquisitiveness that will leave the viewer wanting more, and tell something new and unexpected about the world.
The panel of judges, chaired by Valerie Kleeman, photographer, programme consultant and Whicker’s partner for more than 40 years, will also be looking for projects that are playful with how the story is told, either breaking new ground, or taking a familiar path to come up with a new style.
The Alan Whicker Foundation consultant, top ranking international TV executive Jane Mote, says: “Whicker’s World opened my eyes to the most amazing stories, people and places. Alan’s unique style and sharp wit was inspirational and I am so excited to be part of creating a Foundation to nurture the future trailblazers for international documentary film-making”.
Jane Ray, the Consultant Artistic Director for the Foundation is a multi-award winning documentary maker and executive producer in radio and television with a journalistic background and nearly 28 years’ service at the BBC. Her awards range from the Sony Award for best news programme (2002) and the TRIC award for best children’s programme (1993) to China’s Golden Kapok award for best director (2014). She worked with Alan throughout the 90s on various projects for radio. She also wrote and directed Radio 4’s archive programme about Alan: Around the World in 80 Years, presented by Michael Palin.
The first award winners will be announced by the Whicker’s World Foundation at the Sheffield Doc/Fest Award Ceremony, which will take place on the final day of the 2016 festival.
For further information for Whicker’s World Foundation contact:
Siobhan Connor firstname.lastname@example.org
+ 44 (0) 7966 177025
For further information for Sheffield Doc/Fest contact:
Sarah Harvey Publicity
+44 (0) 207 232 2812
+44 (0) 7958 597426
Sarah Harvey email@example.com
Nikki Cummins firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Bond email@example.com
Join the conversation:
Sheffield Doc/Fest is the UK’s premier documentary and digital media festival. It is the place to see world and UK premieres of the best creative documentaries from the cinema, television and online arenas, and to hear from and meet filmmakers at Q&A sessions. Highlights of the film programme are honoured with an award programme including the Sheffield Grand Jury, Innovation, Environmental, Interactive, Youth Jury, Inspiration, Student Doc, Short Form and Audience Awards. In 2014, 3,263 full festival pass holders attended the Festival and it attracted over 26,700 members of the film-loving public.
Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015 takes place from 5-10 June
Connor PR launching the Whicker’s World Foundation, Connor PR expert in travel PR, Connor PR expert in presenter PR, Connor PR specialist in TV publicity
Gypsies, Come Dancing!
Forget Got to Dance and Strictly Come Dancing, telly bosses are currently battling it out for the rights to bring an even more sequined dance event to our screens, the World Gypsy Dance Championships! The first and only worldwide contest for dancers from the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller community is to be hosted in London later this year. Organisers have already begun the worldwide search for the next Gypsy dance star, and are expecting stiff competition for the coveted gold medal.
Running the contest is Irish Romany Gypsy, Róisín Mullins, a former Irish Dance World Medallist and dancer with Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. Róisín has judged thousands of Gypsy acts, including performing horses, in TV talent shows such as Travellers Got Talent and Gypsy and Traveller Face of the Year, alongside singers David Essex and Jentina. But now Róisín will be encouraging Travellers to swap their twenty stone wedding dresses for flamenco skirts, hitch up their wagons, and hit auditions at Traveller fairs, sites and events throughout the UK.
Róisín Mullins said: “The World Gypsy Dance Championships is a fantastic opportunity for dancers to take centre stage. We have already seen singers from the community make it on TV talent shows, but for me, the dancers represent our culture best”.
Joining Róisín to organise the contest will be her Gypsy partner, Irish dance show producer, Jack Jacobs. The pair are keen to show off a more positive side to the community, at what they hope will be the biggest gathering of gypsy dancers in history. Event organiser Jack is particularly excited about revealing the community’s hidden talent.
Jack Jacobs said: “The contest is a real first for the Gypsy and Traveller community. There are some incredibly talented dancers out there, and traditional dance styles that we, in the UK, have never seen before. So the chance to pull Gypsy dancers together from all over the world to compete against one another will be an amazing site”.
Celebrities rumoured to be taking a seat on the judging panel alongside Róisín include world famous Gypsy dancers, and stars from the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
As well as heavily diamented costumes and fake tan, the contest promises to deliver an all out battle of traditional versus modern, with Flamenco and Irish dancing facing off against hip hop and street dance.
Entrants can compete in any dance style, but must be from a Gypsy, Roma or Traveller background.
To enter visit www.worldgypsydancechampionships.com
For all media enquiries please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07966 177025 or Jack Jacobs at email@example.com
Connor PR entertainment PR Specialist, Connor PR working with Gypsies, Come Dancing
Connor PR working wtih Studio 9 Films for the UK Premiere of Seeds of Hope to be screened at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict
UK PREMIERE of Seeds of Hope
to be screened at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict
- Award-winning filmmaker Fiona Lloyd-Davies takes us to ‘the most dangerous place in the world for women’ – the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo – in her film Seeds of Hope at the Summit Fringe on 10 June 2014.
- Seeds of Hope tells the extraordinary story of Masika and her journey to help women and children who have experienced sexual violence in conflict in eastern Congo.
- The Foreign Secretary Rt Hon William Hague and Angelina Jolie, UNHCR Special Envoy, will co-chair the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on 10–13 June 2014 at ExCel London.
- The summit calls for an end to sexual violence in conflict – an act that destroys lives and damages communities.
- It will be the largest gathering ever brought together on this subject.
Starting 9.00am on 10 June 2014, there will be three days of global action aimed at creating awareness of sexual violence in conflict. One voice that will be added to the call for an end to sexual violence in conflict is Masika Katsuva’s.
The 84 hours of action is the largest meeting ever held on ending sexual violence in conflict. The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict (ESVC), co-chaired by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie , Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, will bring together government delegations, NGOs, experts and sexual and gender-based violence survivors from over 145 countries.
Studio 9 Films will show Seeds of Hope at the Summit Fringe on 10 June 2014. Seeds of Hope tells the extraordinary story of Masika and her journey to help women and children who have experienced sexual violence in conflict in eastern Congo. Masika, herself a multiple rape survivor, has helped thousands of women and children in eastern Congo who have suffered physical and sexual violence.
Every hour, 48 women are raped in Congo (DR). Eastern Congo was described as the ‘rape capital of the world’ by Margot Wolstrom, the United Nations Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict in 2011. A new generation of children, born from rape in the DRC are growing up in a country where violence is a regular occurrence. It’s become a place where there is widespread acceptance of rape and brutality towards women. “Whenever there is fighting, militia use rape as a weapon of war”, Masika says.
Filmmaker Fiona Lloyd-Davies also interviews perpetrators of rape, among them soldiers from the Congolese army. Groundbreaking interviews are captured with the soldiers whose duty it is to protect the women they are brutally violating. These men give extraordinarily open testimony as to why they rape and their attitudes towards their horrific acts. As one soldier candidly reveals, “Raping gives us a lot of pleasure. When we rape we feel free.” This calls into question the crucial issue of justice and as one of the women, Nzgira, poignantly says, “If justice is done maybe this will stop the soldiers. It’s just they aren’t afraid of anything.”
The aim of the summit is to facilitate dialogue between governments, NGOs, experts and survivors that outline solutions to sexual violence in conflict and develop international co-ordination. For Masika, to stop sexual violence means the conflict must be brought to an end. “If the fighting were to end in the hills, it would mean an end to rape which we want to stop forever.”
Filmed over three years and capturing the ebb and flow of the seasons, we see how the process of farming this small patch of land empowers and transforms these women.The field is their hope, their therapy and their source of food and income. The rape victims and hundreds of children born from rape sow lines of seed every quarter (three months). Together they nurture them, pray for good weather and eventually harvest them to eat, sell and plant again to generate more crops.
The field becomes a central feature, almost a character, both in its symbolic value and as a signifier of time passing. The process of renewal and rebirth that nature provides offers up hope anda restored focus to the women. As one of the women, Mongera, remarks, “When we meet as a group, for a moment, it helps us forget what we’ve been through.”The women build new friendships, helping them come to terms with their pasts and look to make plans for the future.
The extraordinary natural beauty of Congo is juxtaposed against the horrific experiences that these women have endured and the threat of sexual violence that remains, lurking in such landscapes.
Since the filming of Seeds of Hope, 39 soldiers have stood trial for the crimes that took place in Minova in November 2012. Only two were convicted of rape as a war crime. Fiona Lloyd-Davies has produced a documentary on both the aftermath of the rapes in 2012 and the trial that will be broadcast on BBC Newsnight on Monday 9 June 2014.
While the seeds show that there is a way forward and a glimmer of hope, its clear that there’s little justice for these women at present. Masika believes that until there is peace in DRC there will be rape: “Whenever there is fighting there is rape.” Despite the recent Minova trial, prosecutions are rare and impunity still prevails. The battle against an endemic rape culture is far from over.
Senator Mobina Jaffer said: “Seeds of Hope conveys unimaginable pain, but also the hope and strength of the women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It further portrays a British filmmaker, Fiona, reaching out to portray the pain of her Congolese sister, Masika.”
This film takes us deep into the lives of women and children who are rarely given a voice and rarely seen on screen. Seeds of Hope shows how one woman’s enterprise helps thousands of Congo’s rape survivors find healing and independence through farming. As one of the women explains, “we are always very happy when we have our seeds, because seeds are our hope”.
Notes to Editors:
To attend the screening of Seeds of Hope and reception please contact Siobhan at Connor PR. There will be a Q&A after the screening, moderated by Anneke Van Woudenberg, Human Rights Watch, Senior Researcher Africa Division.
Fiona Lloyd-Davies is available for interview.
Please contact Siobhan at Connor PR firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07966 177025
What: Screening of Seeds of Hope at the Summit Fringe followed by a Q&A.
When: 10 June 2014 at 6.30pm.
Where: ExCel Centre, Docklands, London.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/seedsofhopestudio9films?fref=ts
Twitter handle:@Studio9films #seedsofhope
Images are available on request.
To watch the film please click on the following link
A short preview can be viewed on: http://www.studio9films.co.uk/films_new.html
Seeds of Hope documents the extraordinary story of Masika Katsuva, who, with just a small patch of land, commitment and passion, has helped thousands of women and children who have suffered physical and sexual violence come to terms with the nightmares they have lived through.
Every hour, 48 women are raped in Congo. Eastern Congo has been called the ‘rape capital of the world’ by the UN Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict. This is the most dangerous place in the world for women.
The women and children farm the land together, providing them with an income, a sense of stability and a form of therapy. Through donations, Masika and her team have expanded the centre, but the battle against an endemic rape culture is far from over. Since launching the project, Masika has been raped three more times.
The film also reveals the motivations of some of the perpetrators. They are not just foreign militia groups, but are members of the Congolese National Army. These are the soldiers whose duty it is to protect the women they are now brutally violating.
Filmed over three years, Seeds of Hope takes us deep into the lives of women and children rarely seen, offering up a vision of transformation through one woman’s mission to bring healing to women traumatised by rape and in turn, stability to their children born as a result.
Links relating to Seeds of Hope
St Louis International Film Festival November 2014
Africa World Documentary Film Festival
Selected for International Festival “A Film for Peace”
Studio 9 Films
Studio 9 Films Ltd is a company led by award-winning producer/director/self shooter and photojournalist Fiona Lloyd-Davies. They have produced films for BBC, Al Jazeera, Human Rights Watch and REDRESS. Studio 9 Films’ production, “Justice in Action”, chronicling six young woman’s journey to Bosnia 20 years after the war won the Best Documentary International at the People’s Film Festival in 2013. The film “Seeds of Hope”, which tells the extraordinary story of Masika Katsuva, a multiple rape survivor who has helped thousands of women and children in war-torn eastern Congo premiered at the Pulitzer Center Film Festival “Global Crises, Human Stories” and was officially selected for the St Louis International Film Festival 2013.
Biography of Fiona Lloyd-Davies
Award winning filmmaker and photojournalist, Fiona Lloyd-Davies is one of the UK’s most experienced foreign documentary and current affairs journalists. She’s been making films and taking pictures about human rights issues in areas of conflict since 1992, working in Bosnia, Iraq, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and many other locations. Her film about Honour Killing in Pakistan, License to Kill for BBC2, brought a change in the law in Pakistan and was awarded a Royal Television Society award for Best International Journalism. She has also won a Royal Television Society award for Innovation for her work with Salam Pax on the Baghdad Blogger.
Justice in Action, Fiona’s film chronicling the journey of six young women exploring the path to peace and reconciliation in Bosnia won the Best Documentary International at the People’s Film Festival. Her work combines journalism with a strong visual style that she learnt as a graduate of the Royal College of Art. She is also a widely published and exhibited photojournalist in UK broadsheets and magazines such as the Guardian, The Observer magazine and the Herald. She films and edits much of her work herself, using the latest technology.
Fiona’s most recent work centres on sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She has gained unprecedented access to the soldiers implicated in the rapes in Minova on November 20, 2012. Ordered to Rape investigates the mass rapes and subsequent trial and will be shown on BBC Newsnight on June 9, 2014. Her film Seeds of Hope tells the extraordinary story of Masika Katsuva, a multiple rape survivor, who has helped over thousands of women and children will be shown at the Summit Fringe of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on June 10, 2014.
Fiona’s other Congo work
“Congo and the General” TX February 2014 Al Jazeera English
The first ever aggressive, intervention brigade of 3,000 men has been deployed to one of the world’s most complicated and volatile regions, Eastern Congo. It’s being led by a new force Commander, the Brazilian General, Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz. He has one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs in the world. To prove that the UN can finally fulfill it’s mandate to protect civilians and win against rebel forces and militia men who, until now, have out manoeuvred the largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation in the world.
“Congo’s Tin Idea” TX May 2013 Al Jazeera English
Control of Eastern Congo’s minerals has been a key driver in the savage fighting that’s killed over five million people. A new project may have the answer – to produce conflict free tin from a mine.
Connor PR working with Studio 9 Films, Connor PR working with Film Maker Fiona Lloyd-Davies, Connor PR and the premiere of Seeds of Hope, Connor PR working on the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict with Angelina Jolie and William Hague
Memorial held for TV globetrotter Alan Whicker
Yesterday I attended the Memorial Service of my dear friend Alan Whicker at The Grosvenor Chapel in London’s Mayfair.
Sir Michael Parkinson and Monty Python star Michael Palin were among the guests.
Former BBC boss Michael Grade described Whicker as “one of the corner stones of the golden age of British television”.
Whicker died in July 2013 after a TV career lasting nearly six decades.
He was best known for Whicker’s World which ran from 1959 to 1988 on both the BBC and ITV.
He had… eyebrows that could speak a thousand words when raised slightly at the right moment.”
“Alan Whicker belonged to that very exclusive club of gifted individuals who over so many decades consistently delivered memorable programmes for what is more usually such a transitory medium,” Lord Grade said.
“He had that unmistakable voice with its delicate inflections so easily mimicked, eyebrows that could speak a thousand words when raised slightly at the right moment… and an unerring instinct to know when to listen.”
Whicker’s dapper dress sense – which included his trademark smart blazer and tie – made him one of the most recognised figures on television.
Palin, who spoofed Whicker in a Monty Python sketch, said Whicker was “a towering figure” in the world of television.
He said Whicker had the “enviable ability to deliver introductions and summings up that were as crisp and precise as the clothes in which he delivered them”.
Palin recalled how he had been the fourth person the BBC had asked to present travel series Around the World in 80 Days, the first choice having been Whicker.
“I was later told – apocryphally I’m sure – that the reason he turned it down was that the BBC, in soliciting the great man’s services, had taken him out to lunch at the Pizza Hut in Shepherd’s Bush.
“Alan didn’t do Pizza Hut.”
Sir Michael Parkinson said Whicker had “inspired an entire generation of young journalists” to seek a television career.
“He never let celebrity cloud the business of being a proper journalist,” he added.
Whicker’s long list of famous interviewees included Peter Sellers, Joan Collins, the Sultan of Brunei and notorious Haitian dictator ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier.
Reference Tim Masters, BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27606893
Connor PR expert in publishing PR, Connor PR expert in Travel PR, Siobhan Connor worked with Alan Whicker
Connor PR working with Middlechild Productions on a TV exclusive – Hercules The Human Bear, Channel Five
HERCULES THE HUMAN BEAR
“Human beings differ to animals only in degree and not in kind”
Charles Darwin, Descent of Man
TX: Channel 5, Thursday April 3rd, 9pm, 2014
Produced by Middlechild Productions
Hercules the Human Bear tells the amazing story of Andy and Maggie Robin and their relationship with a grizzly bear that became the most famous animal in the world. A bear that was bought as a cub from a Scottish zoo for £50 in 1976 and lived in Andy and Maggie’s home for 25 years. Hercules grew to be a superstar on the celebrity circuit and through the love and devotion of Andy and Maggie, in their eyes, became human.
In 1976 Andy and Maggie bought a grizzly bear cub from a local zoo, initially to fulfil Andy’s need for a unique wrestling partner. Little did they know at the time that Hercules, the tiny bear cub, would become the worlds’ most famous bear and make them a fortune in the process.
Hercules the Human Bear focuses on the unique relationship that Andy, Maggie and Hercules forged during their 25 years together. With interviews from Andy and Maggie as well as all the key contributors to their story, the documentary reveals the unique story of how Andy and Maggie managed to live under the same roof as the world’s most dangerous land mammal.
Extraordinary archive film footage reveals Hercules adapting to his new surroundings at the Sheriffmuir Inn and learning to wrestle with Andy, without killing him in the process, to the heart stopping moment he went missing in the Outer Hebrides where the hunt for Hercules turned into National and International news. We see how Hercules begins his road to stardom in adverts for products such as Kleenex and Hofmeister Beer, to how his fame got greater and greater to star in films such as James Bond’s Octopussy, making the front cover of Time magazine and even how he caddied for Bob Hope at a golf tournament. Concluding with a trip to the Outer Hebrides where a life-sized statue of Hercules is unveiled and hearing how Hercules touched the lives of many.
World Champion wrestler, Andy Robin, had performed a wrestling bout in Canada with a feared local wrestler – an 8ft black bear called Terrible Ted. The sheer power and strength of the animal shocked and amazed Andy and he began to admire Ted’s natural wrestling ability. The fight lasted only 20 minutes but Andy was hooked. He wanted a bear of his own no matter what the cost.
Combining the testimony of all the key participants, newly-discovered archival film and dramatic imagery, this is the picaresque story of one grizzly bear’s extraordinary journey through human life and the enduring impact he made on the characters he met along the way.
The anthropomorphism (attribution of human characteristics to anything other than a human being) of animals is centuries old and bears in particular have taken on a unique status in our hearts – from Winnie the Poo, Rupert, Yogi and Paddington Bear in children’s fiction to the use of real bears in television series such as Gentle Ben.
Hercules’ story was the ultimate nature versus nurture tale. With no formal animal training, Andy and Maggie Robin allowed a 9-foot 70-stone grizzly bear to share every inch of their lives, from the house they owned to the food they ate. If the experiment were successful they would go on the most amazing fairy tale of a journey, but if it went wrong, like so many times before and since, they would most probably end up dead, mauled to death by the most deadly land carnivore in the world.
The story of wild nature bending to human kindness and understanding, is a genre whose popularity reflects a yearning for an idealised relationship with nature – one that, even having outgrown the fantasies of childhood, we find it hard to shake off.
Hercules The Human Bear is the embodiment of this call of nature. It’s a unique success story where many have failed; it could well be the ultimate example of nurture overcoming nature.
David Sumnall, Director said: “This is a once in a lifetime story. Sharing your life with a Grizzly Bear like Andy and Maggie did will never be done again. They managed to form a completely unique bond with a very special bear. This was largely thanks to Hercules and Maggies’ incredible nature and the fact that Andy was as much a bear as Hercules was human! For anyone who loves their pets, and thinks they might have some ‘human’ in them – this is a must watch.”
For all media enquiries, please contact Siobhan at Connor PR. email@example.com Tel 07966 177025
Andy and Maggie Robin are available for interview.
Preview discs are available on request.
Notes to editors:
Middlechild Productions is a genuinely independent production company based in London. We specialise in ambitious, factual programmes produced with passion and to the highest standard.
Creative Director – David Sumnall
David set up Middlechild in 2008 with the help of a development deal from Channel 4’s factual and documentary departments. Prior to setting up Middlechild, David developed, directed and produced a variety of programmes for all the major broadcasters including Jonny’s Hotshot’s for BBC1; Engineering Giants for BBC2; Animal Addicts for Channel Four; Victoria Cross Heroes for Five and Football Years for Sky One.
David also recently co-produced the feature film Cleanskin starring Sean Bean for Warner Brothers.
Director of Production – Paul Goodliffe
Paul Goodliffe has over 20 years in Television Production management . He has been Director of Production for Sky Entertainment overseeing SKY’s production teams and outside contractors to manage their multi-million pound production outlay across a variety of formats. In addition, he has also held senior managerial positions at Virgin Media and Channel Five.
Connor PR and Hercules the Human Bear, Connor PR working with Middlechild Productions, Connor PR expert in TV publicity, Media and entertainment specialist Connor PR