Blackburn director's life-changing film that earned him an Emmy

David Barnes

David Barnes with the Emmy

First published in Reviews Preston and Leyland Citizen: Photograph of the Author by

WINNING an international Emmy award for making a documentary wasn’t on the ‘to do’ list for one East Lancashire producer and director.

But David Barnes can now happily add that to his list of successes after collecting the prestigious award for making Same But Different, a production about children with disabilities.

The former Blackburn College student, who grew up in Livesey Branch Road, continues to progress working alongside stars such as Johnny Marr and rock band Suede.

Showing off his creative skills, David, who is also a former Stonyhurst College student, recently got involved with the town’s latest arts initiative, Blackburn is Open, talking to those who want to get involved in a creative industry.

He spoke at the First Thursdays event, that sees venues throughout the town centre like Blakey’s, Blackburn Museum and the pop-up arts centre opening till late with events themed around film, fashion and food.

“I am definitely not a famous film maker and nobody knows who I am but it’s just good to prove that you can go out there with the intention of achieving something and proving that you can do it and that it’s achievable.

“I think for me it’s saying that anything is possible and if you believe in yourself and work hard you’ll get what you want,” said David who studied media production at Blackburn College and now runs his production company David and Goliath at Media City.

“It’s great that Blackburn is becoming a more creative place and that people are coming together through Blackburn is Open,” he said.

Speaking about his Emmy that was commissioned by the BBC, David said the production of Same But Different, was ‘life changing’.

He said: “We won the Emmy award and it was awesome. I filmed, edited, directed and wrote the music and I had help from a small team. It was good to do the film in particular because it was a real eye-opener and it raised awareness in my eyes as well.

“Some people don’t know what those kids are going through and for children to actually see the video and to watch somebody who is blind, has Down’s syndrome or any other type of disability and realise it’s normal to have somebody in their school or class like that.

“It was a life-changing film for me to make and it has been well-recognised.”

The production is a series of eight short documentary portraits featuring children from across the UK with a range of differences, disabilities and medical conditions who explain “what it’s like to be me”, co-produced with Libra Television. It won the award in the Kids Factual category.

It was also BAFTA nominated – a great achievement for the Blackburn-born producer and director whose parents Frank and Vera live in Pleasington.

David said: “We had to travel to New York for the ceremony and it was just amazing. The kids who starred in the video came and received the award. It was a great experience.

“We really didn’t expect to win. We found out that we were nominated when we were on location in Germany.

“It was very bizarre. The team celebrated that night just for being nominated so you can imagine the celebration when we won the Emmy in New York.”

Producing music videos are high on the 36-year-old’s agenda and he has since produced music videos for bands such as Suede He said: “It’s a very tough and very competitive industry but if you get it right it’s very rewarding “I am basically doing the hobby that I love for a living and get to be as creative as I want to be.

“It is hard work but my motto is just do good work. I try to put a message out there and it’s great to work with the cool bands that I like and I enjoy every aspect.”

In his spare time, David is a collector of vinyl soundtracks and also collects and enjoys comics, Star Wars figures, guitars and cameras, although his love for Blackburn Rovers dwindled over a decade ago.

He said: “I don’t follow my home team Blackburn Rovers anymore.

“I used to go all over with my dad but I gave it up when I moved to London and just lost interest in how they were doing.

“I regularly work with footballers when filming things like TV commercials and photoshoots but that’s as far as it goes.”

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