To celebrate the 34th Anniversary of Rough Cut & Ready Dubbed release, we are pleased to announce that the film will be showing at the Beefeater In-Edit Film Festival in Barcelona 27th Oct - 6th November 2016. It will also be available VOD on In-Edit TV for the duration of the festival.
It is with regret that we receive your letter, returning your Grierson Award of 1982, following the sponsorship of the Grierson Award for Best Documentary on a Contemporary Issue by Shell International.
As you know there is a long standing relationship between Shell and The Grierson Trust dating back to the creation of the pioneering Shell Film Unit in 1934, of which John Gierson was one of the founding members.
Shell’s endorsement of the work of The Grierson Trust and its funding for future documentary in no way compromises the editorial independence of the awards, or the projects and support the Trust gives to documentary makers. The Trust is aware of Shell’s chequered history in the area of human rights and the environment, and monitors its efforts to address these issues. The Trust has always worked with a range of corporate partners in order to support new filmmakers, whose work, we hope, will continue to illuminate issues of social injustice and speak truth to power in the tradition of John Grierson.
This three year sponsorship deal also allows the Trust to further develop its education and mentoring programme, encouraging young people to develop their passion for documentary and continuing to foster the spirit of Grierson in the documentary makers of the future.
The Grierson Trust
My reaction is that if the Trust is aware of Shell’s chequered history, it should also be aware, through its monitoring of efforts to address these issues, their chequered present.
Ie: the situation in Ireland and Ghana http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZKjejkt4XM
As I expected, but a disappointing response nonetheless. It will be interesting to see whether Shell’s corporate behaviour, or indeed the level of protest and far more notable boycotts of the awards than mine, will change their mind about the value of this sponsorship deal.
The Grierson Trust 07 May 2010
I am disgusted to find that the Grierson Trust has entered into a sponsorship arrangement for the Grierson Political Documentary Award with Shell Oil. In one sense, the partnership may be seen as a natural fit, given the history of the Shell Film Unit, which, after the GPO, played a major role in the development of the documentary form. However, it ignores the recent and continuingly ignoble history of this damaged brand and traduces some of the films the award chooses to honour. Franny Armstrong and Dogwoof Pictures can obviously speak for themselves about how they feel about this latest development, which post-dates their well-deserved award for Best Green Documentary from the Trust for ‘The Age of Stupid’ last year. As fans of irony and the film will know, one of the principal interviewees, Alvin du Vernay, was a Shell employee.
Last year, Shell paid an out of court settlement of £9.7m to the Ogoni people in a case that alleged that the company was complicit in murder, torture and other abuses by Nigeria's former military government against campaigners in the oil-rich Niger Delta, including the activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. The lawsuit alleged that Shell officials helped to supply Nigerian police with weapons during the 1990s, participated in security sweeps in parts of Ogoniland and hired government troops that shot at villagers who protested against a pipeline. It was also alleged that Shell helped the government capture and hang Ken Saro-Wiwa and several of his colleagues. Shell denied the accusations but made the huge payment as part of a ‘process of reconciliation’. This payment halted a full trial where full details of Shell's activities in the Niger Delta would have been revealed. 116 concerned employees of Shell Oil dispersed throughout the USA, the UK, and the Netherlands, recently called for a peaceful corporate revolution at the company by leaking details to environmental and human rights campaign groups, to highlight the harm allegedly done by the company’s operations in Nigeria. Shell is now pushing for a more active role in GhanaWhen I won the prize with my co-director Hasan Shah in 1981/1982, for our little home-made punk music film ‘Rough Cut & Ready Dubbed’, the ceremony consisted of a single award for best documentary and a couple of subsidiaries such as one for repertory programming won by Steve Woolley for his brilliant work at the Scala. It was held in the National Film Theatre at minimal cost and with voluntary participation, organised by the BFI. In recent years the Awards have grown to the level where corporate financing has been sought to continue an ever-expanding ceremony and raft of other awards. I can’t help feeling that the Trust has lost its perspective and a sizeable proportion of its credibility with filmmakers.
I cannot speak for my co-director, but I am formally returning and rejecting the Grierson Award on my own behalf and request that you reflect this on your website and in your archives. Given that I received the award 29 years ago, it matters as much as a fart in a vacuum to anyone else, and no doubt seems pointless and unnecessary, but it matters to me.
Grierson’s influence on factual filmmaking was immense, underpinned by a strong social commitment, but he was no political evangelist or saint. However, he is quoted on your website as having ‘a desire to bring the citizen’s eye in from the ends of the earth to the story, his own story, of what was happening under his nose.’ There is a nasty smell beneath my own not inconsiderable conk and it emanates from the Trust’s regrettable decision.
‘All The Years of Trying’ part documentary, part concert film, is an ode to the Stratford Bard of London’s East End produced and directed by London based film makers Dom Shaw and Daniel Carboni of music documentary specialists Anonymous Films.
Patrik Fitzgerald, known as the Punk Poet and composer of the ultimate anthem 'Safety Pin Stuck in My Heart'; Fitzgerald kicked against the brash three-chord orthodoxy by performing waif-like and vulnerably alone with an acoustic guitar and a tattered book of poems at the height of the punk revolution.
Although never making it to the dizziest heights of pop fame he continues to be a well respected figure, cited as an early influence by author and poet Benjamin Zephaniah, and legendary journalist and Nirvana biographer, Everett True. The new millennium has seen a resurgence of interest in this determined, brave performer who battled on with his music through much travail and now seems set for new appreciation by a whole new generation charmed by his stripped down honesty and integrity.
The film is directed by film maker Dom Shaw who first met Patrik 32 years ago and filmed him for his seminal punk documentary ‘Rough Cut & Ready Dubbed’ which won the John Grierson award for best documentary. Featuring some of his best known songs and interviews with people influenced and entranced by his music, the film is an affectionate tribute to an old friend. ‘I knew Pat long before I met him’ says Shaw ‘because every song was soaked with his own vulnerability and humour that myself and many others could completely identify with.
‘Everything I've ever read about myself has said how shy and self effacing I am, so I really shouldn't blow my own trumpet about this film. Having said that, I have watched and kind of enjoyed it, I think. I've probably written some good tunes and there are some of them in this film. Being stuck into celluloid is a bit like having your soul stolen, however. But there you are... Enjoy the film. ‘ Patrik
‘It seems as if all those old bands from the punk era and later are getting their renaissance’ says producer Daniel Carboni, ‘and to be truthful, some of them aren’t worth the attention. But Pat never seems to have got the attention he deserved except from a well respected network of influential artists. We hope this film will help to change all that.’ The film also includes footage from a concert and a tribute organised by Trondheim based record label Crispin Glover Records run by Torgeir Lund. The acoustic punk poet with the cutting lyrics was filmed on Friday the 6th of March 2009 at Verkstedhallen, in the artistic community of Trondheim’s Svartlamon district.