Manchester documentary maker wins Whicker's World Foundation award

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by Simon Austin

Alex Bescoby from Manchester won £80,000 in the Whicker’s World Foundation Award for his documentary Burma’s Lost Royals, with Scarborough’s Adam Smith taking the runner’s up prize.

The Whicker’s World Foundation builds on the legacy of celebrated journalist and broadcaster Alan Whicker, who died in 2013.

It awards a total of £100k to support documentary makers under the age of 30.

The awards were held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield on Tuesday June 14th.

Valerie Kleeman, who set up the Foundation and was Whicker’s partner for more than 40 years, said: “Alan would have loved this story of the Burma Royals.

“He would have jumped at the chance to of made it himself. I look forward to viewing the finished film.

“Alan's wish was that the Foundation should provide a platform for young documentary makers.

“He would be amazed and delighted by so much of what we have seen.

“We looked for surprise and originality and have not been disappointed - the sheer variety of entries has been overwhelming, the choices agonising.

Bescoby’s story centres around a forgotten monarchy and an intriguing quest that threatens to tear a family apart.

He said: “I only picked up a camera two years ago and whilst working in Burma had an epiphany.

“This story for me opened the windows to Burma’s soul and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to tell it.”

The runner’s up prize of £10,000 went to Americaville, Adam Smith’s documentary on the pursuit of happiness in a Chinese replica of an American town.