FOCAL International press release

FOCAL International, the Federation of Commercial Audio-visual Libraries, today announced that Raye Farrformer Director of the Steven Spielberg Film And Video Archive and of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Permanent Exhibition is to receive the FOCAL International Award for Lifetime Achievement, at the twelfth annual FOCAL International Awards, to be presented in association with AP Archive on 21 May, 2015. This Award is a gift of the FOCAL International Executive – Raye Farr’s nomination had been endorsed by many eminent academics, producers and directors, amongst them Sir Jeremy Isaacs, David Elstein, Norma Percy and Kevin Brownlow.

Raye Farr joined the staff of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum after more than twenty years in documentary television production and historical film research, much of it focused on World War II and 20th century European history. Her work as producer, director, archive producer or consultant has been seen in many television documentary series, including: World at War; The Struggles for Poland; A Different World: Poland’s Jews, 1919-1943, Hitler’s Germany, China in Revolution; Stalin; Vietnam – a Television History; The Nuclear Age; Heritage – Civilization & the Jews; Hollywood – the Silent Years.                

In 1990, she became director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Permanent Exhibition and led the team responsible for the award winning micro-design and production of the museum’s major exhibition area, supervising the departments of research, design, oral history, photo and film archives, and film production.

After the 1993 opening of the museum, she oversaw the establishment and expansion of the museum’s Steven Spielberg Film & Video Archive, which she directed until her retirement in October 2013. She now serves as a consultant to the museum’s National Institute for Holocaust Education and the Office of Collections.

Producer Director Martin Smith who worked with Farr on the World at War and several other landmark series said, “Raye Farr has made an uncountable number of contributions to the uses, understanding, preservation, screening and promotion of archive film. Her ground-breaking research and film making for award-winning films represents an outstanding ability and talent. As well as setting up and running a internationally-renowned, comprehensive, and user-friendly archive, Raye Farr’s numerous lectures, appearances and writings, in both English and German – for television and radio, museums, publishing, conferences, feature films, national and commercial archives, educational institutions and for on-line sources – are a testament to years of hard work, diligence and responsibility which have enriched the world’s knowledge, use and appreciation of archive film.

We are delighted with this news,” said Julie Lewis, FOCAL International’s General Manager.  “Firstly we are honoured to have Raye Farr present the Jane Mercer Memorial Lecture entitled ‘Moving Images’ on 19th May at ITV on London’s Southbank. Then Raye will receive her Lifetime Achievement Award at the FOCAL International gala awards ceremony 21st May at the Lancaster London Hotel.

Sixteen further awards will be presented on 21st May to celebrate achievement by producers and directors in the creative use of footage in a variety of genres, across all media platforms, plus the contribution made to the global production industry by archivists, film libraries, researchers and technicians, as well as the work done to restore and preserve these irreplaceable assets.

The Awards organiser Julie Lewis went on, “It’s going to be a tough competition with 265 submissions having been entered from 24 countries. This is another record-breaking year for us and shows the continuing appetite for archive based documentaries and the value being put on the use of archive footage in all forms of production. The category Best use of Footage in a History Production alone has 43 entries – including amazing documentaries like Night Will Fall which will be screened on many TV channels tomorrow night on Holocaust Memorial Day 27th January marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps; then there are lots of programmes relating to the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and other anniversaries like the miners strike, as in Still the Enemy Within, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 10th anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami.”

It’s not all strife and horror,” Lewis continued “there’s a huge variety of footage used  across the arts, music, entertainment, wildlife and sports programme categories and we can’t wait to hear what our 50+ team of dedicated jurors make of it all.”

The final shortlisted nominations which will be announced in March.

FOCAL’s Commercial Manager Anne Johnson added, “There are a number of footage related events taking place in London during the same week in May – Raye Farr giving the Jane Mercer Memorial Lecture on 19th May, the FootageMarketplace at BAFTA is 20th May and then our FOCAL International gala awards ceremony is on the 21st May. We’re expecting many people will come and support Raye Farr on her special night, together with all the other shortlisted nominees. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, so you’ll need to hurry if you want to book a table and there’s still an opportunity to sponsor an awards category.”


To see the full list of 265 submissions to the FOCAL International Awards from 24 countries

To buy tickets for the FOCAL International Awards Ceremony 21 May at the Lancaster London Hotel go to Tickets on sale tomorrow!

Those interested in sponsorship opportunities at the Awards ceremony should contact Anne Johnson at FOCAL International, or +44 (0)20 3178 3535.

Raye Farr presents the Jane Mercer Memorial Lecture 19th May at the London TV Centre on the Southbank. Her illustrated talk, Moving Images, will span 45 years of work in film archives, documentary television and a world class museum, bringing 20th century history to a vast public. Tickets will be available through the RTS London website from April. Raye Farr’s resumé including credits, list of publications and lectures can be found here:

Winner of the FOCAL International Award for Lifetime Achievement announced
Tagged on: