A film which highlights Birmingham’s many contributions to the world has been shortlisted for a Royal Television Society Award.
More Canals Than Venice, directed by Birmingham film-maker Steve Rainbow , has made the shortlist for the Best Factual Programme category in the RTS Midlands Centre Awards, which takes place later this month at the National Motorcycle Museum in Bickenhill.
The film, which was jointly produced by Mr Rainbow and Blair Kesseler on a shoestring budget, documents 100 facts about Birmingham.
It covers everything from the invention of plastic to lawn tennis and the Industrial Revolution to the founding of the Football League.
Mr Rainbow said: “I had heard about the RTS Awards and thought More Canals Than Venice fitted perfectly into the factual category so I submitted it.
“I was delighted to discover it had been shortlisted but also a bit shocked, as you always are when your film gets selected because you know you are up against some very good competition.”
In all 12 entries have been shortlisted in the Best Factual Programme Category and they include a number of entries from BBC Midlands Today, Maverick Television’s Embarrassing Bodies for Channel 4 and Remarkable Television’s Restoration Home for BBC2.
More Canals Than Venice was produced by The Birmingham Film Company, a joint venture set up by Mr Rainbow and Mr Kesseler.
It has had a number of screenings in Birmingham at the Midland Institute, the Mac and was also shown at the Lunar Festival in Tanworth-in-Arden this summer. It was selected as the opening film in the 2014 Departure Lounge series and was shown at this year’s Flat Pack Film festival.
Mr Rainbow had hoped to arrange a special screening in Birmingham on December 29 to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Parkes, who invented both plastic and celluloid in Birmingham.
He said: “That didn’t come to fruition but I really wanted to do something to help recognise Alexander Parkes’ achievements. Not only did he give plastic to the world but also the film industry. In the event we ended up putting it online for three days, during which time it got more than 10,000 views. The interest in it has been fantastic, I have been interviewed on radio and television about it and it has been great to let people know about just how many things Birmingham has given to the world.”
Speaking about some of those Birmingham claims to fame, Mr Rainbow added: “As well as Alexander Parkes and plastic, radar was invented here, the Spitfire was made here, the original Mini, the Football League started here, lawn tennis was invented here and Cadbury was founded here.
“Before that the Industrial Revolution started here in Birmingham with James Watt and Matthew Boulton – probably one the most influential things to come out of any city at any time. Birmingham was a city of enlightenment, it was the epicentre of enlightenment at that time.”
Plans are afoot to give every city schoolchild a copy of the film after securing backing from Aston University and the King Edward VI schools.
A sequel is already planned called More Trees Than Paris.