Channel 4 commissions short form films on Britain’s top Paralympians

by Lynn Connolly

Channel 4 has commissioned IMG to make two series of short films raising awareness of Britain’s top Paralympic athletes which will air on Channel 4 and More 4.

The films were commissioned by Channel 4 and London 2012 Paralympic Games sponsor Sainsbury’s to help create household names of the athletes.

Series one, which featured 10 films, each 90 seconds long, has already transmitted. Now Channel 4 and Sainsbury’s have ordered another 20 films which will run as series two and three. The films focus on 10 athletes across all three series with each one taking a different angle.

The athletes featured are: Will Bayley, Joe Bestwick, Danielle Brown, David Clarke, Hannah Cockroft, Jody Cundy, Stephen Miller, Mandip Sehmi, Ellie Simmonds and David Smith…

Series one revealed something unique about the athletes from the perspective of someone close to them. Series two features the athletes talking about how they prepare themselves mentally and physically, their self-beliefs, fears about their competitors and training rituals. And in series three the athletes, their coaches and friends talk about their hopes as the competition approaches.

The films will be broadcast numerous times on Channel 4 and More 4, and will also be available to view online on Youtube, 4OD, http://www.channel4.com/sainsburys and the Sainsbury’s website.

Series two and three will be shot on Canon 5D. The director is Simon Baker and the executive producer is Diana Elkins for IMG.

Diana said: “This is an unusual and exciting project requiring a blend of high end visuals with strong storytelling narrative. Our aim is to make films that convey the elite athletes’ exceptional skill whilst also engaging non-sports fans: Channel 4 wanted the films to strike a chord with a wide audience. The energy and charisma of these athletes has made this project one of the most inspiring productions we have ever worked on.”

Commissioning editor for Channel 4, Deborah Poulton, said: “Channel 4 is very excited to be the official broadcaster of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. One of our core ambitions is to ignite the public’s interest in these games and to do that we need to build awareness of the athletes competing and the sports they compete in.

“These films are a fantastic way of reaching a wide audience as the short format which blends a strong narrative with a commercial aspect, can be played multiple times in many different parts of the schedule, both on TV and online. I believe these films go a long way toward creating household names out of some of our best British athletes hoping to compete in London next year.”

Helen Prince, London 2012 Paralympic Games Brand Manager at Sainsbury’s, added: “These short films really capture the spirit of the Paralympic Games. We hope they will get the nation behind our athletes and help make London 2012 the best Paralympic Games ever. We are delighted to be making a second and third series of films, which give a deeper insight into the athlete and their sport. They form a key part of our wide-ranging marketing plan designed to celebrate Sainsbury’s sponsorship of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.”

*Photograph: Ellie Simmonds Winner of 2 gold medals in 100m & 400m freestyle swimming races at Beijing Paralympics aged 13, awarded BBC Young Sports Personality Award in 2008 and awarded MBE (youngest person ever) in 2009.

© Channel 4

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Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.