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Docmakers focus on biz at Toronto meet

Editors from major broadcasters to attend

TORONTO — About 160 movers and shakers in the documentary communities in France, the U.S. and Canada will converge on Toronto Friday to spend the weekend talking doc shop.

The three-day confab, Toronto Rendez-Vous, is a spinoff of Sunny Side of the Doc, a popular weeklong documentary mart that will celebrate its 16th anniversary in Marseilles, France, in June.

“I had this idea of getting all the people involved in documentary production in the two countries in one room for three days so they can better understand themselves, and follow up on projects,” said Yves Jeanneau, Sunny Side of the Doc’s founder and commissioner general. “We are not here to exchange completed films, we’re here to talk about projects we are working on, so we can join forces … to build up co-productions.”

Attending will be commissioning editors from all of the major broadcasters in Canada and France, producers and industry reps as well as Madeline Meilleur, Ontario’s minister of culture.

Sunny Side hit the road for the first time last year, when documakers convened in New York. A few attendees from that confab have signed up for Toronto to pick up where they left off, Jeanneau said.

During the three days the broadcasters and producers will make presentations that incorporate information sessions and a project pitch.

“It’s more than just pitching. It’s giving a better understanding of what France 2 or Arte or the CBC are doing and how is it possible to work with them,” said Jeanneau. “At the end of the three days I will not ask, ‘How much did you sign?’ It’s more, ‘Are you happy because you met someone you can work with?’ ”

Canada and France have a co-production treaty that Jeanneau said some producers don’t even bother to use. “The treaty gives some help, but also is a nightmare in terms of administration and papers, but this will evolve. If we are successful in Toronto and have more co-productions between the two countries, then the applications to the treaty will get easier.”

Next year’s Rendez-Vous will be in Washington. Jeanneau said he hopes to hold similar events in Germany and the U.K., and eventually to move further afield to Japan and China.

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