Yank pics dominate market viewing

Hybrid and event-based documentaries were the talk of the two-day Mip Doc event, which wrapped on Sunday in Cannes.

Four large-scale HD docs topped the mart’s most-watched list of programs. Both repped by AETN Intl., Raw TV’s “After Armageddon” and Nutopia’s $15 million series “America: The Story of the U.S.” were the top two.

Helmer Cristina Trebbi’s “America Before Columbus” and Natgeo’s “2012: The Final Prophecy” came in third and fourth.

Mixing fiction and scientific research, Raw TV’s “After Armageddon” examines how events like Hiroshima, Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 have impacted societies around the word.

“America: The Story of the U.S.,” produced by former BBC and Discovery exec Jane Root, used visual effects and CGI to recount the country’s history. Root, who gave Mip Doc’s keynote speach, said Nutopia is developing a 3D version for museums and is working with Mark Burnett to sell the format abroad.

“People these days don’t simply want TV to tell them things,” said Root. Projects need to have a real entertainment value and engage the audience emotionally and visually.

Mercury Media’s chairman Simon Shaps agreed. As budgets shrink and slots become scarce on terrestrial channels, the expectations of what a docu can deliver are higher than ever.

Immersive docus, in which viewers are led through events by a host they can identify with, were popular across all type of genres.

“The Rat Race,” Miriam Chandy Menacherry’s doc on Mumbai-based rat killers, which won Mip Doc’s co-production challenge, is an example of what buyers were looking for. Chandy Menacherry showed a seven-minute trailer and got BBC Storyville’s commissioning editor, Nick Fraser, among others, interested in acquiring the show.

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