Label to produce mid- to low-budget docus

PARIS — Stephane Milliere’s Gedeon is launching Docland Yard, a press agency producing mid-to-low-budget investigative documentaries for pay TV, satellite and DTT nets.

Milliere has tapped Thibaut Martin, a former editor-in-chief of science shows for pubcaster channels France 2 and France 3, to run the banner.

Martin has developed an extensive network of local correspondents and crews, which he will use on Docland Yard productions. “Working with local teams is a great way to limit budgets,” the exec told Variety.

He said, “DTT channels have a lot of slots to fill and a growing appetite for entertaining, smart docs, which can be produced in a cost-efficient way, on a quick turnover rate.”

Six more DTT channels will launch by the end of year in Gaul, and some of these are dedicated to documentaries, notably RMC Decouverte.

Docland Yard production budgets will vary between €40,000 ($50,290) and $125,725.

According to Martin, the hourly rate paid by DTT channels ranges widely between $11,315 and $25,145.

Docland Yard’s first slate includes “Encyclo,” a weekly mag commissioned by AB Group’s science channel, and two three-part docu series picked up by Ushuaia TV: “Wings for Science,” which follows a French couple on a one-year trip on board an aircraft providing support to research labs; and “Sentinel Islands,” an environmental docu-skein shot in archipelagos in Vanuatu, the Caribbean and the Seychelles.

Canada’s Quest has pre-bought “Resurrection Science,” a one-hour investigation featuring three scientists working on DNA sequencing and bio-molecular cloning.

Robert Salvestin, Gedeon’s head of co-productions, pre-sales and distribution, closed a raft of deals at the Sunny Side of the Doc event in La Rochelle, which wrapped Friday, on “Opera Stories,” a four-part docu series helmed by Nicolas Crapanne. Co-produced by Franco-German net Arte, “Opera Stories” pre-sold to BSkyB (U.K.), Sky Italia (Italy), Oasis (Canada), Access TV (Sweden) and Kultura TV (Russia).

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