More execs, more content set for Mipdoc

PARIS — A buoyant Mipdoc, Europe’s sales mart for documentaries, kicks of its 13th edition in Cannes on April 2, with more execs set to attend than 2010 and an expanded program.

Among a plethora of events, the two-day confab’s Trailblazer Tribute, co-presented by the Al-Jazeera Documentary Channel, will fete Palestinian helmer Mai Masri and Lebanese filmmaker Jean Chamoun, the husband-and-wife team behind a series of pioneering docs.

Masri and Chamoun founded Nour Prods. in 1995, and since then have co-directed factual programming for PBS in the U.S. and the BBC and Channel 4 in the U.K. as well as Qatar-based Al-Jazeera.

The couple last collaborated on “33 Days,” which follows four young people from different backgrounds who live in Lebanon at a time of war between the Hezbollah and Israel.

The duo is developing “Three Thousand Nights,” a feature doc co-produced by Paris-based Les Films d’Ici (“Waltz With Bashir”).

Project, which follows a young Palestinian woman who gives birth and raises a child in a top-security Israeli prison, will be pitched at the Co-Production Lounge to select commissioning editors. After a down year in recessionary 2009 when there were 682 participants (down 12% on 2008), Mipdoc bounced back in 2010 with 723 participants, up 6% on 2009. This year it expects to draw more than 800 industryites, says Laurine Garaude, the topper of Reed Midem’s TV division, adding that the mart will also attract a record number of commissioning editors.

Event will spotlight international co-productions with a panel focusing on innovative funding models used by German pubcaster ZDF, Japan’s pubcaster NHK and Gallic producer Boreales.

“International co-productions have flourished during the economic recession, allowing producers to finance their projects and create high-profile content for the international market,” Garaude says. “And, for the second year, we’re seeing more ambitious and higher-bracket factual programs that have been creatively developed and financed with multiple partners.”

Crowdfunding, an emerging practice in which filmmakers raise coins from social networks and online communities, will be discussed in one of the panels.

Garaude also noted a climb in transmedia content, with more than 547 cross-media docs out of the 1,360 available in the digital library — of which 80% were produced in the last 12 months.

This year’s edition boasts a large number of current affairs docs, says Carole Ollerdissen, program manager for Mipdoc and MipJunior.

Buzzed-about current-affairs titles include “Khadafi: Notre meilleur ennemi” (Gaddafi: Our Best Enemy), produced by Gaul’s Illegitime Defense; helmer Etienne Rouillon’s MK2-produced “Hackonomics,” which deals with computer piracy; Java Films-repped “Black Diamond: Fool’s Gold” directed by Pascale Lamche; and Thomas Ellis’ “Inside Karachi,” investigating crime and corruption in the Pakistani city.

Mipdoc guests include French indie producer Patricia Boutinard Rouelle and Discovery Networks Intl.’s exec VP and chief content officer Luis Silberwasser, who will make keynote speeches.

Boutinard Rouelle worked as director of docs at Gallic pubcaster France Televisions for 16 years and produced international hits, notably “The Species Odyssey.” She will explore the changing editorial focus of docus, as well as with international market trends.

Silberwasser will discuss how Discovery’s programming and acquisitions strategy is applied to domestic and international markets to enhance the company’s global brand portfolio.

Mipdoc organizer Reed Midem is owned by Variety parent Reed Elsevier.

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