Andrea Carnevali, known to many in Chiswick for raising the funds to build a ‘green wall’ at St Mary’s primary school to mitigate the effects of air pollution, was celebrating another victory on Sunday night. The production team of Who Do You Think You Are? won the Features Bafta for series 15 which was broadcast last year; in particular the heart-wrenching episode which Andrea edited, in which Judge Rinder visited Poland to find out what had happened to his family during the Holocaust
Robert Rinder (in real life not a Judge but a criminal barrister turned TV presenter for the successful ITV court show) visited the Nazi concentration camp Schlieben while researching his family history for the programme. He discovered his great grandfather and his siblings had all been killed. He met a survivor of the camp, who told him what it had been like and how he had met Robert’s grandfather, also a Holocaust survivor, in Belsen. The TV presenter described the process of making the programme as ‘life-changing’.
Accepting the award with the team from Wall to Wall Productions at the Bafta ceremony, he said “732 child Holocaust survivors, refugees, wanted the chance, the gift of this country, my grandfather amongst them. Some of them weren’t children, they often, most of them, including my grandfather, lied about his age. I’d like to thank (production company) Wall to Wall, (director) David Vincent and the BBC for reminding me, for reminding us all what this country can be … what we can all be when we act at our very, very best”.
Pictures above: Andrea Carnevali; son Giovanni at Bafta; Robert Rinder
It tends to be senior executives and celebrities who get to attend events like the British Television and Film Awards, and to be fair a successful TV production usually has quite a large team. So Andrea, who took some fifty hours of footage and edited it down to slightly less than one, was at home, working on something else on Sunday night when the great and the good were gathered in the West End. It was only after he received a call from director David Vincent that he switched on the TV. Not for him the champagne and the after party. “By the time I got to watch it” he told me “it was after midnight and everyone else had gone to bed”. He just savoured the moment with a quiet satisfaction.
“The most difficult thing about editing that episode” he told me “was to balance the gloom and sadness, the horror, with a little bit of hope and something that was a bit uplifting. It’s hard to watch an hour of relentless tragedy. Part of the editor’s job is to vary the speed and the pace and Robert was able to find moments of levity without trivialising the subject or showing disrespect”.
Andrea is currently taking time out of his busy schedule editing TV programmes, to oversee the installation of the Chiswick Oasis, the wall of plants which is being installed at St Mary’s RC Primary school to mitigate the effects of air pollution along the A4. But when that’s done, his next project is to return to filming with Robert Rinder to make two episodes of a documentary which will go deeper into his family history.