A night with the stars

DocLabber Phoebe Fleming on her night at the Griersons

Phoebe Fleming

The Grierson Trust offers the opportunity to its DocLab trainees, past and present to be runners for the annual Grierson Documentary Awards. This year, back at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank, we spent the afternoon learning to navigate the maze of backstage passages and memorising the faces of the talent we were looking after, before the presenters arrived for their rehearsals.

Many of the presenters were on the jury of the awards they announced, giving a particularly personal touch when they announced their winners. Cherry Healey told the crew of ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ that the programme was exceptional in its take on a topic that we will all face one day: growing old. 

Having Professor Green present the Best Single Documentary - Domestic award to ‘Kingdom of Us’ also held a particular resonance; as many of the audience will have seen his documentary on his own father’s suicide. 

In an industry where people can be very time-poor and getting your foot in the door can at times feel like an insurmountable task, it was a great experience for the DocLab trainees - who are picked to represent diversity across region, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background - to be backstage with the talent in a fun environment where interaction with filmmakers, commissioners and presenters is encouraged. Later in the evening, we relinquished our runner status to join the guests for dinner and drinks, furthering our opportunity to engage with people at the cutting edge of documentary making.

Former DocLabber (2017), Phoebe is a camera operator, photographer and editor working in documentary, music videos and commercials. You can read more of her blogs at phoebefleming.com.

Published: 8 November 2018

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