Files on Film 2014 - the results

This year our 'Files on Film' competition asked aspiring filmmakers to create short films, inspired by a selection of documents from our collection, relating to diverse aspects of the First World War.

The judges were impressed with how the entries respected courage and sacrifice and questioned war in different ways through their interpretation of the documents.

The panel selected a first, second and third place by combining their individual scores. You can find a summary of their comments, along with the original documents to download, below each film.

Congratulations to our winners!

With thanks to the Friends of the National Archives for their generous support of Files on Film.

1st place
Abdul Qualam Aziz 'I stood with the dead'

WO 339/51440: Officers' 'Long Number Papers': Siegfried Sassoon 1914-1922 (PDF, 5MB)

The judges were moved by the innocence of childhood portrayed in this film and the questions it raised over the point of war and the loss of a generation. It served to connect the past and present and generate debate in a very successful and thought-provoking way.

2nd place
John Ryder 'July 1917'

WO 339/51440: Officers' 'Long Number Papers': Siegfried Sassoon 1914-1922 (PDF, 5MB)

The judges felt this was a very atmospheric piece of work with a haunting and resonating combination of imagery and voice. The seemingly endless list of those lost and missing transforming in to the modern day memorial poppies was considered a powerful and thought provoking connection between past and present.

3rd place
Matylda Wierietielny 'Shellshock'

MH 106/2208: First World War representative medical records of servicewomen, Queen Mary Auxiliary Army Corps 1919 (PDF, 2.6MB)

The judges felt this was a very striking interpretation of the document, bringing it to life in a new and modern way. Unsettling, but at the same time tender and emotional, it was felt to be evocative of the fears and anguish of shellshock.

Highly commended

Ariadne Birnberg 'Fallen Angel'

KV 2/1: 'Mata Hari' alias MCLEOD Margaretha Geertruida (Marguerite Gertrude): executed by the French in 1917 for accusations of spying for Germany 1914-1924 (PDF, 48MB)

The questions asked in this interpretation of the document were felt to be an interesting interrogation of the case of Mata Hari and who she really was. The use of the cemetery was considered a compelling backdrop to the mystery that surrounds her and her story.

Judges' biographies

Alistair Bruce OBE is the Royal, Constitutional and Religious Commentator for Sky News, the UK's premier 24-hour satellite news channel. Alastair contributes to FOX News, ABC and the BBC giving an insight to modern events with a historical perspective. Alastair was involved with the multiple Oscar-winning hit movie The King's Speech, the award-winning film Young Victoria, and the TV series Downton Abbey.

Chris Croucher is an award winning filmmaker with nearly ten years of on set experience within the film and TV business. He is currently producing season five of Downton Abbey for Carnival Films & TV. His most recent short 'Friend Request Pending' (writer/producer) toured the globe. The film premiered at the 2012 BFI London Film Festival and stars Judi Dench, Penny Ryder and Tom Hiddleston.

Ian Hay-Campbell is Chairman of The Friends of the National Archives. Originally from New Zealand, he has a keen interest in 19th and 20th century British and Commonwealth history. Before he retired in 2005, Ian was a broadcaster with the BBC World Service and then joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as a career diplomat. Since his retirement he has researched his family's history, using resources at The National Archives.

Jeff James is Chief Executive and Keeper, The National Archives. Jeff has overall responsibility for The National Archives' future direction as well as current performance, and is accountable to ministers for both. His role is to lead in all The National Archives' many different activities, in our work with government and in providing services to the public. Jeff is Keeper of Public Records and Historic Manuscripts Commissioner.

Krishna Kaur is Equality and Diversity Coordinator at The National Archives. She has over 20 years' experience of working strategically at a European, national, regional and local level to facilitate organisational cultural change, working predominantly across the Criminal Justice Service.

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