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Documentary Filmmakers – On Your Bikes, Quick!

Ancient BicycleChannel 4, ITN and the  BRITDOC team have put out a call to emerging filmmakers for short documentaries based on footage from ITN's archive - the best documentaries will be broadcast on Channel 4's 3 Minute Wonder strand. The scheme launches tomorrow 23rd February.

ITN Archive LogoITN is offering free use of its amazing archive, which contains over 700,000 hours of footage dating back from 1896 to the present day. All entrants need to do is prepare a pitch for a 3 minute documentary. The four best ideas will be commissioned by Channel 4 and broadcast in its 3 Minute Wonder slot. The filmmakers will be invited as guests to the first BRITDOC festival (July 26-28th) where the films will be screened.

Brit Doc Foundation LogoBRITDOC have chosen The Bicycle as the inspiration for this year's films. They want filmmakers to look on and use its brilliant search facility to seek inspiration. Then, pitch an idea for a 3 minute film which is:

based on footage from the ITN archive
takes a single object as its inspiration. This year we have chosen THE BICYCLE

Mountain BikingThe bicycle was invented in the late 1800's and appears in over 8,000 entries throughout ITN's historic archives. Bicycles have been a feature of everyday life in wartime and peace time and are more popular and iconic than ever in a world pressured with environmental concerns. Bicycles are also closely associated with Oxford, where the films will be screened at the first BRITDOC festival.

The idea of the bicycle is open to the widest possible interpretation. Your film could focus on a single story or event (George Bush falling off his bicycle - May 22nd 2004) or combine pieces of archive from many different years. You can take the subject head on with a story about the Tour de France or come at it sideways with a film about a factory in China that happens to make bicycles.

Channel 4 LogoPeter Dale, Head of More4, said: "Nurturing and encouraging new talent is vital if we want Britain to continue to be the home of the brightest documentary talent. This competition is a fantastic way of encouraging new filmmakers to get their films on air. The ITN archive provides a wonderful source of inspiration and I look forward to seeing some exciting and fresh ideas."


If you are successful:

  • You will be given a fixed budget to make your 3-minute film, working with independent production company RAW Television
  • You will be given free use of ITN's archive footage in your film YY
  • Your film will be broadcast in the 3 Minute Wonder strand on Channel 4 in July 2006 and shown on the ITN website
    BritDoc06 LogoYour film will be screened at BRITDOC 06, a major new documentary festival being held in Oxford from 26-28 July Y
    Your invite to the festival includes a free delegate pass, board and lodging at the festival (worth £400)

The competition launches on 23 Feb 2006



Entry Requirements

  • Filmmakers must either be British or have been based in the UK for the last 6 months (proof of residence may be required).
  • The competition is open to filmmakers who do not yet have a major broadcast credit.
    The deadline for applications is 7 April 2006.
  • The four successful filmmakers will be announced on or before 14 April 2006 on
  • Filmmakers must be available to work on their film between 1st May and 23rd June 2006.