Ayrton Senna,’The greatest racing driver who ever lived’:Senna documentary wins 2 BAFTA’s (Video)

For Formula One, and motorsport racing fans, irrespective of whether you remember the great life and accomplishments of Ayrton Senna da Silva, it’s a great today. Asif Kapadia’s documentary, Senna has gone on to win the best documentary, and editing prize at the 2012 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Film Awards. This is Kapadia’s second big BAFTA prize. Previously the British filmmaker of Indian descent won the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film for his narrative, The Warrior.

In the documentary category, the F1 feature, aptly named ‘Senna’ beat Martin Scorsese’s George Harrison: Living in the Material World, and James Marsh’s Project Nim to win the top award. Film editors, Chris King, and Gregers Sall picked the editing category award against narrative features Drive, Hugo, The Artist, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Senna is distributed by Universal Pictures/Walt Disney Pictures, and produced by ESPN/Working.

In fact, the Senna documentary also had a nomination for Outstanding British Film category, which is a first since Marsh’s Man On Wire that went onto win the prize in 2009. This year Senna lost to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

The 2010 documentary film, Senna portrays ‘the life and death of Brazilian motor-racing champion, Ayrton Senna’. The critically acclaimed film uses home videos that the Senna family provided, and interviews with people who knew the racer. The documentary covers Senna’s Formula One beginning in the 1984 season. F1 teams Toleman and Lotus get a mention before the focus shifts to team McLaren.

The documentary covers Ayrton Senna’s rise to fame, and his World Championships. His rivalry with team mate Alain Prost too is documented, apart from the tension with FISA Head, Jean-Marie Balestre. Rivalry with Prost in the 1989 and 1990 seasons, and their controversial clashes are featured, apart from the following seasons. There’s a focus on F1 team Williams, and his move to the British team in 1994. Events at that year’s San Marino Grand Prix, and his fatal crash at Tamburello corner that saw ‘The greatest racing driver who ever lived’ lose his life. The Senna documentary signs off with the Senna family and close friends from Formula One (F1) mourning the racer’s death at his funeral.

The film garnered immense critical acclaim, and is best put in the words, “with so much recorded footage of Formula One available, it has been possible to fashion Senna’s story as a live action drama rather than a posthumous documentary. We’re not so much hearing what happened in the past as seeing it happen before our eyes.”

A special screening of Senna was at the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka Circuit. The official world première was screened at Cinemark Theatre in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The movie presents the Brazilian motorsports race driver as a private person, and highlights his commitment to Brazil, apart from a mention of the F1 driver considering a ‘life outside motor racing’.