We're thrilled to share the finalist nominees for The Whickers Film & TV Funding Awards,with the winner set to receive £80,000 towards the creation of their final film. The winner will be announced at Doc/Fest 2018.

Four out of five of the finalists are telling stories from Southeast Asia in a shake-up of the perceived dominance of Western led documentary talent.

The Whickers were established in 2015 to fund and recognise original and innovative documentary. They seek to use the generous legacy of their namesake, pioneering broadcaster Alan Whicker, to support emerging film and audio documentary-makers in the production of authored programmes and to recognise exceptional audio that has already been broadcast. More at www.whickerawards.com

The Film and TV Funding Award is awarded annually to an emerging filmmaker from anywhere in the world with the most promising pitch for an authored documentary which fulfils their core criteria. With a main award worth £80,000 and a runner-up contribution of £15,000, The Whickers Film and TV Funding Award is one of the most significant documentary awards in the world. 

Following the launch of this year’s Awards in September 2017, The Whickers saw an increase of more than 100% in the number of entries received, from countries as far reaching as Afghanistan, Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, Georgia, Japan, Kiribati, South Africa, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand, as well as North America and Western Europe. The final five, who have been selected by a panel of documentary commissioners, international distributors and filmmakers, will present their projects at a live pitching session at this year’s annual Sheffield Doc/Fest on Tuesday 12 June. The winners will be announced that very evening during the Doc/Fest awards ceremony. 

This year’s shortlisted entries are:



Director: Jana

Country: Spain

Want to know how to steal half a million euros from 39 different banks to fund social causes? Robin Bank (or a guide to expropriating banks) is the story of who did this and how.

Judge Patrick Hurley said: "’Robin Bank’ absolutely stands out for its energy, originality, style and intrigue. I can’t wait to see it!"



Director:  Sascha Schöberl

Country: Germany/China

Chinese plastic surgeon and self-proclaimed artist seizes the spotlight for never seen before performances. This is a modern tale about vanity and self- glorification as well as an extreme investigation into humanity set against the backdrop of China today.

Judge Harriet Armston-Clarke said: "’Mirror Mirror’ really gets 'under the skin' of our beauty-obsessed world, putting selfie-culture on the operating table and calling into question the impact this is having on us all - both as individuals and society."



Director: Alyx Ayn Arumpac

Country: Philippines

When men turn up dead, the old folks whisper of the ‘aswang’, a shape-shifting beast from folklore. In Manila, bodies pile up and lives entwine as the state wages a brutal war against drugs and crime.

Judge Seyi Rhodes said: “Immersed in a community at the sharp end of The Philippines’ war on drugs, Aswang paints a dark picture. Between the near-daily routine of death and grief we are confronted with a softer, but no less disturbing image - that of a child struggling to navigate his way through a violent and corrupt world.”



Director: Megumi Inman

Country: UK/Japan

A 300-year-old Japanese village is on the brink of extinction. But can sake, Japanʼs national sacred drink, save it from disappearing forever? Uyashinai, a dwindling rice-farming village, and a maverick sake maker come together to make the most authentic sake in Japan, and to try and save their village from extinction in the process.

Judge Harriet Armston-Clarke said: "With a wry smile and through the prism of organic sake, ‘Disappearing Village’ tells a truly universal tale of the changing face of the countryside and the battle between youth and their elders…"



Director: Chunhua Jiang

Country: China

In 2016, three boys aged 11 to 13 attacked and killed a teacher and robbed her of a cell phone and 2000 yuan in cash in southern China. They were sent to Peach Reform School right after they were caught, as they were too young for jail. The story takes place in this extraordinary Chinese juvenile reform school with strict rules and a harsh punishment system. In a place where snitching is encouraged, how can love and friendship survive and thrive?

Judge Patrick Hurley said: "With ‘Where the Peach is in Bloom’, Chunhua Jiang takes us into a largely unknown world via some some compelling characters to show that love and friendship can thrive under the harshest strictures. We feel this film has vision, sensitivity, cinematic flair and above all, a great story at its heart."

The Whickers’ Awards Committee is chaired by Valerie Kleeman, Alan Whicker’s partner in life and work for more than 40 years. 

Since their launch, the Awards have helped create some ground-breaking pieces of work, including 2016 Funding Award winner, We Were Kings by Alex Bescoby, which tells the story of the lost royals of Myanmar, was premiered at Open City Docs Festival in September 2017 and has been broadcast across Europe and Australia.

The Whickers also fund one project per year via Chicken and Egg Pictures, which exclusively supports emerging female filmmakers. The 2017 winner was ‘The Feeling of Being Watched’, a personal investigation by Assia Boundaoui into FBI surveillance of her Muslim-American community. It received its World Premiere on April 21st at the Tribeca Film Festival to hot reviews in the New York Times and Village Voice and a standing ovation.   

To see who wins, join us at the Doc/Fest 2018 Awards Ceremony on Tue 12 June at 8pm. Click here to purchase a ticket.