Recent highlights include: the critically acclaimed Inside Nature’s Giants (C4/Nat Geo), a radical natural history series that dissects iconic animals to trace their evolutionary stories; The Operation: Surgery Live, a week of live surgery on Channel Four; Generals At War, an ingenious ‘cardboard’ battle strategy format for NGCI and Race & Intelligence: Science’s Last Taboo, an investigation by Rageh Omaar which launched C4’s season on Race.
Sons of Cuba, a documentary feature about Havana’s boxing academy for Olympic hopefuls has won Best Documentary at the Rome Film Festival and the Youth Jury award at the Sheffield Documentary Festival.
Our popular engineering series, Big, Bigger, Biggest (FIVE/NGCI) uses ‘blueprint’ animations to chart the key evolutionary steps needed to create the largest structures in the world; and the adrenalin-fuelled Monster Moves (FIVE/Discovery Canada) is about to enter its fifth season.
Windfall pioneered a hybrid form of factually-based drama with Born With Two Mothers, using a combination of actors with professionals playing themselves. We went on to make Richard is My Boyfriend, where a real judge decides whether a woman with learning difficulties should be sterilized.
As one of the leading producers of science & technology programmes, we have a unique ability to breathe life into potentially dry subjects. By winning the trust of Nobel-Prize-winning scientists and using cutting-edge computer technology we regularly win awards for our science series. The Emmy award-winning series DNA (PBS/Channel 4) was described in the Daily Telegraph as having “The dramatic tension of a Hollywood movie".
In Absolute Zero (PBS/BBC4)we see the deep-rooted scientific rivalry that forms the backdrop for the battle for the conquest of cold. Once again Windfall showed how to make documentaries as compelling as drama.
Windfall has a long tradition of producing observational documentaries with a sensitive, committed approach. This has not only won awards, but also the respect of the professions we depict. Films such as The Decision, Fifteen and The Lion’s Den have been used to help train social workers, doctors and teachers. (We have several major long-term documentary projects in development.)
Our influence on historical documentaries has also been notable. The Windfall trademark combination of highly original visuals and gripping storytelling has distinguished such series as Escape from Colditz, Men of Iron, and Commando.
Films such as Wanted: Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid set a trend in adventure history documentaries, putting the researchers’ quest to find the real story at the centre of the film. More recently in The Great Escape: Revealed, we followed archaeologists and veterans in an unprecedented investigation into the remarkable creation of a se
cret escape route.
In Reality On The Rocks, we reinvented the science documentary by using comic actor Ken Campbell’s quest to get to grips with time and space as a way of bringing hilarity to a subject long associated with impenetrable equations.
Windfall has also set the trend for several popular television formats. The Tourist Trap is seen by many as the first reality TV show, using spy-on-the-wall footage long before contemporary shows such as Big Brother. Lost! was also a television first, with even the cameramen kept in the dark of the secret location they were about to be dropped in.
Formed in 1988 by three ex-BBC producers, David Dugan, Ian Duncan and Oliver Morse, Windfall Films continues to set the standard for serious programming in the UK.