A CHANNEL 4 virtual-reality film about the Grenfell Tower fire, and a Louis Theroux documentary on euthanasia, are among the religious programmes shortlisted for the Sandford St Martin Awards 2019.
The Sandford St Martin Trust recognises excellence in religious broadcasting. The winners of its 2019 awards are to be announced during a ceremony at Lambeth Palace on 13 June.
Grenfell: Our Home, which was shortlisted under the Broadcast Journalism category, is a 15-minute virtual reality documentary about life in the tower block in south-west London before it was destroyed by a fire on 14 June 2017, which claimed 71 lives. The film shows a 360° artist’s impression of the tower before the fire, while former residents describe what life was like there.
“The tower [was] no different to any street in London, where you have multi-faiths, different languages, some people that are working and some that are on benefits,” one woman says. And of the stigma associated with council tower blocks: “It was just that we were all in a tower.”
Others shortlisted in the category include Syria: The World’s War by BBC current affairs; and Myanmar’s Killing Fields, by Evan Williams Productions with Mongoose Pictures for Channel 4 Dispatches.
Louis Theroux: Altered States: Choosing Death, an hour-long BBC Studios documentary for BBC 2, was shortlisted under the television and video category. In it, Louis Theroux talks to people in California who are preparing to take a lethal but legally prescribed drug overdose to end their lives, and explores the difficulty of choosing when to die. He also meets a group who provide information about how to die to people who do not fit the legal criteria of the US state.
Others shortlisted in the category include My Dad, the Peace Deal, and Me, by Dragonfly Film and Television Productions for BBC One; and We Are British Jews, by Lion TV for BBC 2.
A poem by Tony Walsh marking 60 years of Blue Peter was among the short films recognised in the Children’s broadcasting shortlist. The Radio and Audio shortlist included Meeting the Man I Killed, by Loftus Media for BBC Radio 4; and Morality in the 21st Century, by BBC Religion and Ethics Radio for BBC Radio 4.
A statement from the Trust on Wednesday said: “We reviewed content concerning everything from guns, gangs, and drill, to new poetry inspired by the psalms, to the legacy of The Troubles in the face of Brexit, and assisted dying. Fortunately for us, some of these ‘tougher’ subjects were levied by sci-fi utopias, side-splitting humour, and some truly brilliant cutting-edge dramas.
“[The] work evidences how religious and ethical broadcasting in this country can be not just impactful, entertaining and educational but also how relevant and thought-provoking these themes can be for all sorts of audiences.”
One of our shortlisting panel said: “It was really tough this year. There was so much of such high quality, and so many more than six programmes I wanted to see included on the shortlist.”