Budget for pre-buys of Gallic docus up 14%

LA ROCHELLE, France — French paybox Canal Plus has upped its budget for pre-buys of French docus by 14% to Euros 14.4 million ($20.5 million) for 2012.

“This year, we’ve pre-bought 135 documentaries — 22 more than in 2010,” Canal Plus’ head of docus, Christine Cauquelin said.

In contrast with other Gallic nets that focus on history and science docus, Canal Plus unveiled a 2011-12 slate rich in politically- and socially-engaged programs at Sunny Side of the Doc in La Rochelle.

It has acquired a raft of international docus, including Charles Ferguson’s “Inside Job,” Kirby Dick’s “Outrage” and Bansky’s “Exit Through the Gift Shop.”

Canal Plus picks up about 10 international docu features every year from festivals around the world.

Cauquelin said the paybox was open to pre-buy on a limited number of non-French docu projects, but emphasized that Canal Plus had to be involved every step of the way to keep a handle on the editorial content, which tends to be difficult when multiple broadcasters are involved, she explained.

Canal Plus has pre-bought a string of Gallic docus dealing with international topics, such as Jordan Feldman’s “Un Moment dans la vie d’Hank Skinner” (“A Moment In the Life of Hank Skinner”), which follows Skinner’s wife battling to get him off death row in Texas; Jean-Luc Leon’s “Les Nouveaux maitres du monde” (“The New Masters of the World”), an investigative docu on the American investment banking firm, Goldman Sachs; and Jerome Mignard’s “Hors jeu: la coupe du monde des sans-abris” (“Off-side: The Homeless Soccer World Cup”), which shows how homeless folk seek rehabilitation through soccer.

Other docus on Canal Plus’ roaster include music-themed “Benda Bilili,” directed by Renaud Barret and Florent de la Tullaye, and Jean Stephane Bron’s “Cleveland vs. Wall Street.”

The paybox also commissioned its first 3D docu: Pierre Stine’s adventure “Makay, The Lost World’s Raiders,” an exploration of the Makay Valley, in the South-West region of Madagascar, produced by Gedeon 3D.

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