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The ongoing situation in Ukraine, international co-productions and an examination of post-COVID audience tastes are on the agenda at the 33rd Sunny Side of the Doc.

The international marketplace for documentary and narrative experiences held annually at La Rochelle, France, is back as an in-person event this year following two pandemic-caused online editions.

With Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine showing no signs of abating, Lejla Dedic, producer-selector at Al Jazeera Balkans and Philippe Muller, commissioning editor at Arte will discuss how they support Ukrainian films in a panel discussion. The talk will also address the question of how Ukrainians can access big broadcasters given that the film industry has stopped since local funds cannot support their projects, which in turn makes the co-production process difficult. The creation of special co-production funds to support Ukraine and other countries in the same situation, will be discussed.

Sunny Side of the Doc will also host a presentation of projects from the Ukraine Talent Hub.

Co-productions are the lifeblood of the documentary making process and as always, the event is highlighting this aspect. Key people attending the event include Yuko Fukuyama and Shin Yasuda, producers in charge of international co-production at Japanese broadcaster NHK , who will present the recent successful documentary projects produced in collaboration with global partners and share useful information for those who seek opportunities to work with NHK on documentary projects. A panel on how to co-produce with Italy will feature Fabrizio Zappi, director, Rai Documentari, Marco Visalberghi, CEO, Doclab and Gioia Avvantaggiato, president, GA&A Productions. Similarly, a panel on how to co-produce with France will feature Elodie Polo Ackermann, producer at Imagissime and Alexandre Cornu, producer at Les Films du Tambour de Soie.

In addition, there will be seasoned co-production experts from Spain, Kenya, Canada, South Africa, Finland, France and Belgium, among others, present.

A heavyweight panel, comprising Paul Heaney, CEO, Bossanova; Angela Neillis, senior VP of non-scripted at Fremantle; Loren Baxter, head of acquisitions at Off the Fence; Gerbrig Blanksma, senior VP international sales and partnerships at Love Nature; and Patrick Hörl, MD at Autentic, will examine if the tastes and needs of the viewers and channels have changed post-COVID. The panel will focus on the state of documentary post-COVID and in the era of streaming, and the future of distributors and how their role is changing.

Sunny Side of the Doc takes place June 20-23.