PARIS — In the hours following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., Paris-based production and distribution company Tele-Images found itself holding a hot commodity as TV stations around the globe scrambled to preempt programming for more appropriate fare.
As TV execs attending the seventh Rendez-Vous of TV France Intl. in St. Tropez (Sept. 11-15) stopped their buying and selling to gather around television sets tuned to CNN, Olivier-Rene Veillon, Tele-Images’ international director, took orders from 17 stations for “Shaheed — What Makes a Suicide Bomber?,” an Israeli documentary by producer-director Dan Setton (“Kapo”).
Docu, which follows a young Gaza Palestinian’s suicide plot against an Israeli bus to his eventual disarmament, was sold to stations in Italy, Belgium, Holland, Poland, Spain and Canada, among others.
France 2, which aired the 52-minute film two years ago, bought the rerun rights and aired excerpts from it Sept. 13 on popular newsmagazine “Special Assignment.” It garnered a 23.7% audience share (4.3 million viewers), the news show’s second highest rating since January, but was marginally topped by TF1, which tapped 4.6 million viewers with a Clint Eastwood pic.
Veillon also sold another Setton docu, “Mikdad: A Terrorist’s Account,” to seven stations. That film, which Veillon calls “particularly hard and terrifying,” includes an exclusive interview with Muhammad Hussein Mikdad, a Lebanese Shi’ite who lost his legs, an arm and his eyesight on a botched kamikaze mission in Israel for the Hezbollah Militia.
“Until Sept. 11, the Israelis were the only ones taking a long, hard look at this phenomenon,” Veillon told Daily Variety Monday. “But now that’s going to change.”