Pair develop Dictionary of Man

Cannes – What top docmeisters have done for rhinos, roses and rainforests, the BBC and Bob Geldof want to do for mankind.

The British broadcaster and the peripatetic humanitarian will collaborate on an ambitious multi-faceted project called the Dictionary of Man, which aims to record every human society on Earth.

Per the producers, the portentous-sounding project will be “a limitless repository of content,” and “an immense digital catalog of all current human existence and an enormous resource for the exchange of ideas and information.”

The partners unveiled the project Tuesday afternoon during the Mip TV sales bazaar, with Geldof in tow and trailed by paparazzi.

Asked about the budget for the project, BBC Worldwide director of content and production Wayne Garvie declined to comment, but Geldof jumped in to say it would be “fucking huge.”

For that reason, the BBC is using Mip to lineup partners. Likely suspects are Japan’s NHK, Germany’s ZDF and the Discovery Channel, among others. However, none were disclosed at the press confab.

“This will be an A to Z of mankind, which will catalog the world we live in now,” Geldof said, adding that mankind is “the world’s most extraordinary animal.”

In an age of globalization, he went on, “we face the growing homogenization of cultures and the disappearance of extraordinary and diverse mechanisms that man has invented in order to survive in whichever environment he has found himself.”

Geldof will work in partnership with producer-director John Maguire on the project.

Collateral material in the project will be available through the Dictionary of Man Web site as well as an encyclopedic volume of DVDs, books, magazines, CDs, exhibitions and the like.

The BBC will in tandem produce for television a classic Beeb landmark series called “The Human Planet.” The eight-parter will be put together by the Natural History Unit, BBC Bristol and BBC Wales.

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