Award-winning dance film is consigned to the TV dustbin

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The Independent Online
A BRITISH film nominated for an Emmy and made by Stomp, the innovative British dance and percussion group, has failed to find a UK television company interested in showing it despite selling in more than 100 countries overseas.

Stomp Out Loud, a 50-minute special filmed in the streets of New York for HBO, the American cable company, has been nominated for best direction, best art direction, best sound and best editing in the Emmys, American television's equivalent of the Oscars. It was shown on US television last December.

Yet despite selling in Latin America, Europe and Asia, so far no British broadcaster has bought the UK rights to the film.

Stomp is the Brighton-based group that became famous when it made an advertisement for Heineken that showed its members banging dustbin lids. Stomp has since travelled the world with its live show, made adverts for Coca-Cola, appeared on stage at the Oscar ceremony last year and featured on albums by artists including Quincy Jones.

In the past it has won Olivier, Obie and Drama Desk Awards for its theatre performances.

"Stomp Out Loud tells a love story through dance, drumming and banging things," says Fred Hassan, head of Yes/No Productions, which made the film. "It is an amazing piece of work - like a percussion West Side Story. It filled a cinema in Brighton when we had a showing and it's a great shame no British broadcaster wants to air it."

Mike Morris, who is handling negotiations for the sale of the show at the programme sales agency ITEL, is hopeful a British broadcaster might yet show an interest: "The problem has been the nature of the programme. Broadcasters don't know if it is an arts documentary or an entertainment piece.

"Programme acquisition people usually have very specific remits about what their budget is for and what they can buy. As a consequence it has been getting passed around because no one is sure if it is their area."

A spokesman for Channel 4 said the film was rejected because it did not come up to the company's editorial standards, nor did it fit with its plans for two dance series this year.

Stomp was formed in 1991 by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, two members of the street band Pookiesnackenburger, and the theatre group Cliff Hanger. The two groups had presented street comedy musicals at the Edinburgh Festival throughout the early 1980s before producing albums and touring Europe.

The "Bins" commercial for Heineken Lager was originally written and choreographed by Luke Cresswell as part of the band's stage show.

Stomp won an Olivier after its sell-out run at Sadler's Wells and in the West End of London in 1994.