Colin Barr Executive Producer, BBC. Notes from the Coventry Conversation:

The BBC are re-setting up the documentary division.

‘Our War’

  • Series of films about the conflict in Afghanistan
  • Aimed at a younger audience
  • footage shot by the soldiers themselves to give a unique perspective
  • 1st person perspective
  • Colin Barr came on board just after the M.O.D signed up to it
  • M.O.D can see an early cut, they need to see it so they can raise issues about it, e.g making sure it does not show sensitive information
  • Safety meetings would take place
  • Critically, well received
  • “Antagonized all groups equally” – Colin Barr
  • on the M.O.D “Weren’t quite ready about the questions it posed” – Colin Barr
  • Some of the footage was ‘helmet cam’ some were done on simple ‘flip cams’
  • “In some ways it’s like a normal documentary” – Colin Barr
  • Personal choice for helmet cams. When helmet cams were affordable, some footage had been shared on ‘Youtube’, M.O.D got scared and tried to limit the cameras because of security issues (2007)
  • “Found the sound of panic haunting” – Colin Barr on selecting the clips for the program.
  • The team always tried to watch the footage together.
  • The team had to go on a trauma awareness course
  • People who watched the program were not put off about signing up.
  • He says retrospective interviews were important, as it was important to the viewer. Without it, the clips would be hard to understand.