Canucks shut out at History Makers

Top prize goes to ZFD's Busting the Berlin Wall

NEW YORK — Although there were two Canadians among the nominees — CBC’s The Fifth Estate and Storyline Entertainment’s Tiger Spirit — the close of this week’s History Makers conference saw the prize for best current affairs production go to Iran and the West, a U.K. series on the dramatic rupture between that country’s fundamentalist regime and the U.S.

Canada missed again in the innovative production category despite the Naked Archaeologist episode ‘Babes, Brothels and Baths’. The winner was Generals at War, a stylish series of profiles of World War Two commanding officers. An Oscar nominee, the Katrina doc Trouble the Water, won best use of archival footage in a current affairs program — which apparently surprised producer-director team Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, who pointed out that most of the footage came from the main subject’s home camera, not a footage house.

More appropriately, the archival win among history productions was Apocalypse: The Second World War, which utilized hours of unique material never before seen on TV or cinema.

‘We all fell in love with archives,” said commissioning editor Clémence Coppey.

The lifetime achievement award went to Dr. Guido Knopp, longtime head of history production at Germany’s ZDF. The audience gave Knopp a standing ovation for his work, which has concentrated on a tough examination of German history, including various aspects of the life of Adolph Hitler.

Acknowledging that his birthday is on Friday, Knopp said he could party like he was 61 until midnight.

Best history production went to ZDF’s Busting the Berlin Wall, which incisively depicts the stirring events of 1989. Appropriately, the film’s producers thanked Knopp for his help shepherding the project.

A special jury award went to Ben Loeterman and his dramatic reconstruction of the lynching of a Jewish factory manager (The People vs. Leo Frank).