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Varied fare at doc mart

Sub-genre current affairs reps 18% of screened programs

With titles on offer including “Rollergirls” and “Penis Dementia,” buyers at MipDoc over the weekend might have thought they were attending the American Film Market.

However, those seeking serious-minded programming at the ninth annual TV docu minimart found skeins on subjects including terrorism, Islam and China. MipDoc’s biggest sub-genre was current affairs, repping 18% of screened programs.

Upscale fare creating a buzz included AETN’s “10 Days That Changed America,” Denmark TV2’s “Hammer & Tickle” and Granada Intl.’s “China Inside.”

But the tabloid titles were among the signs that the docu biz is growing and going mainstream, driven by ease of production, ambition and market demand, as seen in ratings and escalating docu cable/satellite channels.

Registered companies at MipDoc rose 14% to 438 from last year; participants increased 10% to 680.

“More people worldwide are interested in intelligent feature films and documentaries,” said Nick Fraser, editor of BBC series “Storyville.” He announced that the pubcaster is prepping a 10-hour series on democracy, teaming with 24 other broadcasters.

John Gill, senior VP of content at Alliance Atlantis, said ratings in adults 25-54 for the company’s history strand ratings have climbed 50% in recent years.

In a highly competitive environment, capitalized players are intent on growing program-related ad revs through high-end event docudramas. Many were on display at MipDoc.

In Tele Images’ reality-style “The Great Savannah Race,” scientists attached names and satellite-linked collars to seven wildebeest and five zebras migrating across Tanzania. “Contestants” were eliminated by being eaten by lions.

Leonardo — Da Vinci, not DiCaprio — was the man at Cannes, spawning three docus, with biggest word on Channel 4’s “The Da Vinci Detective.”

Other buzz docus, some still in production, included ZDF’s futuristic “Update 2050”; AETN’s tabloid British royals expose “Private Lives” and roller-racing babes show “Rollergirls”; Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s retro travelogue “Peking to Paris”; and, underscoring a splurge in Egypto/biblical mythbusters, Discovery’s “Rameses: Wrath of God or Man?” and Alliance Atlantis’ less portentous “The Exodus Decoded.”

The five docus most watched by buyers, per MipDoc, were Andana Films’ “Anything to Please,” Isabella Audiovisual’s “2050,” Les Films d’Ici’s “Biometrics,” Roco Films Intl.’s “The Future of Food” and Tele Images’ “And Man Invented Animals.”

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