Last night, the biggest names in documentary film-making got together to celebrate the best of British factual production.

The Grierson Awards have been running for 43 years and have previously championed the likes of David Attenborough, Nick Broomfield, and Banksy for their contributions to film-making. Although the awards are mainly industry facing, they offer a fantastic opportunity to highlight some of the best documentaries of the year.  

The big winners this year were Grayson Perry as best presenter, The Romanians are Coming as the best series, and Virunga, a film about protecting the last mountain gorillas in Congo, won best cinema documentary.  Other notable winners include Cambridge Alumni, Brian Woods, who was celebrated for his fantastic film “Curing Cancer” and Kim Longinotto who got this year’s lifetime achievement award.   

Attentive Oxbridge candidates could mine these films for a wealth of engaging and relevant material to bolster their knowledge ahead of their interviews. Arch and Anth students should look to Kim Longinotto’s breath-taking collaborations with anthropologists for global insight or “The Romanians are Coming” for a contemporary example of multi-cultural Britain. Similarly History, Biology and Medical students could look to films about the First World War, species preservation, and cancer research respectively for inspiration. For the most forward thinking candidates the awards highlight how relevant academic subjects are in contemporary media and perhaps even inspire an amazing career to pursue after their degrees. 

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