Docu confab drama

Global explosion of webs keeps biz buoyant

CANNES — Torrential downpour didn’t dampen spirits over the weekend at Mipdoc, the two-day documentary market that precedes TV confab Mip TV.

According to official figures, the number of participants gathered at the Martinez Hotel for the nonfiction-oriented event was slightly down, with 689 attendees compared to 705 last year. Some 8,044 screenings were held over the weekend.

Event organizers said that arts, music and culture and nature programming dominated screenings in the 200 booths on hand. According to participants, docu-soaps remained the hottest genre. Feature length docus, meanwhile, are going out of fashion.

‘Ono’ No. 2

Top screened docus were Filmkontakt Nord’s “Shocking Truth,” about a young woman examining the Swedish film industry, and Channel 4 Intl.’s “The Real Yoko Ono,” “A Mobile World,” “Deserts” and “Marilyn.”

Discovery Germany, for one, was looking for more people-oriented docus rather than those on animals, discovery and adventure — its usual focus.

The explosion of channels is keeping the business buoyant.

“It’s booming,” said Sydney Suissa VP of Canada’s History Television. But that has brought the best and the worst with it,” he added.

Competish for content

“If you want to compete, you have to have the money, which is bad for smaller players,” declared Jacques Bensimon, managing director of French programming services for tfo/TV Ontario, who co-moderated Saturday’s conference. “And because of this, you have to limit what you do. It’s become a real business suddenly, where people want to take world rights on docus.”

The proliferation of events has its drawbacks. “You have a territory (docus) that wasn’t crowded and suddenly you have to choose between so many events,” said Suissa. “This is a rare (market) because you get to concentrate on the business.”

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