BBC Three controller Zai Bennett has today announced three new commissions from the Fresh strand, the channel’s established scheme for first-time directors looking to break into prime-time film-making.
BBC Three’s Fresh strand has been running since 2008 and has produced successes such as My Brother The Islamist and Autistic Me.
The new films are: The Butterfly And The Tornado (w/t), following Sam Hall, a young stormchaser with a rare skin condition; Ashley – Impulsive Behaviour (w/t), which charts the journey of a young ADHD sufferer and Olympic hopeful; and Deaf Teen, Hearing World (w/t), which ventures into the little-known world of deaf people.
Zai Bennett says: “The Fresh strand is vital to BBC Three’s factual offering, providing new film-makers with a voice to tell compelling and often inspiring stories about young people in extraordinary circumstances. I’m incredibly impressed by the quality of recent Fresh films like My Brother The Islamist and Autistic Me, and I am keen to build on these successes.”
The Butterfly And The Tornado (w/t) sees first-time director Danny Beck on a road trip across the American Midwest with Sam Hall, stormchaser extraordinaire and Epidermolysis Bullosa sufferer. Sam was born with this debilitating condition – her skin is fragile like a butterfly’s wings. Despite her condition, every year Sam heads out to Tornado Alley and throws herself into these hives of chaos and destruction.
Ashley has ADHD. He can’t hold down a job and struggles to contain his behaviour. But there’s one thing he is exceptionally good at – he is training to compete at the London 2012 Olympics in judo. Now the Olympics are on the horizon, his behaviour has never been so critical. Ashley – Impulsive Behaviour (w/t) follows him as he moves in with his new coach, a tough, no-nonsense ex-Olympian, and there is no escape from the intense daily grind of training.
Deaf Teen, Hearing World (w/t) sees director Claire Braden take an insightful look into a hitherto closed-off world, challenging preconceived ideas about deaf people and what it means to have a disability. It follows some extraordinary deaf teens as they come of age and go off to university and dance school – fully immersing themselves in the hearing world for the first time. Taking a surprising and counter-intuitive tone the programme shows that not all deaf teens want to be able to hear, as they take viewers into their lives to show how proud they are of their own culture.
Charlotte Moore, Commissioning Editor, Documentaries says: “It can be difficult for new directors to get their first prime-time commission, which is why BBC Three’s Fresh strand is so important to new talent within the documentary community. We have had some wonderful Fresh documentaries in the past, with many directors going on to enjoy further success, like Danni Davis who went on to make Laura Hall: My Battle With Booze.”
Other recent Fresh commissions include Jamie – Drag Queen At 16, Josie And The Cancer Curse and Genocide, Mum And Me.
The Butterfly And The Tornado and Ashley – Impulsive Behaviour will transmit on BBC Three in the autumn, and Deaf Teen, Hearing World early in 2012.