Cannes Daily Spotlight 2012: Brits in Cannes

LONDON– In the past decade, Britain has emerged as a world leader in theatrical documentaries. Now U.K. distrib Dogwoof, which helped pioneer this renaissance, has launched a sales arm in a bid to export the nonfiction revolution to new territories.

While docs can generate healthy returns from cinemas in the U.K., France, Germany, Japan and Australia, they remain confined to TV in many other countries. Dogwoof topper Andy Whittaker believes a specialty sales agent can help to change that.

“There’s a big opportunity for us, because in many territories, the theatrical documentary business is very young,” he says.

As the U.K.’s leading doc distributor, Whittaker says Dogwoof has an advantage over other docu sales agents, who primarily handle fiction.

“Documentaries are a different beast,” he says. “We understand the product, because it’s what we do in our day job. The trick is finding the right people to work with in other countries.”

Dogwoof aims to sell five to 10 films per year, most of which it will release itself in the U.K. Whittaker says docs, particularly on social issues, lend themselves to coordinated international campaigns, because the Web is such a big factor in spreading their message.

Dogwoof Sales, which launched in Toronto with “Girl Model” and picked up “Marina Abramovic” at Berlin, is coming to Cannes with “Jason Becker Not Dead Yet” and “F*ck for Forest.” It’s also handling the Errol Morris doc “Tabloid,” and recently opened a New York office to tap U.S. projects.

Dogwoof is raising a $1.6 million production fund to back three or four films. Last year, it supported Carol Morley’s “Dreams of a Life,” which grossed $490,000 in the U.K.

Cannes Daily Spotlight 2012: Brits in Cannes
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