China blows new life into the Sunny Side of the Doc
by Domenico La Porta
01/07/2012 - For its 23rd edition, symbolically entitled Resistance, Sunny Side of the Doc (La Rochelle, France, June 26-29, 2012) attracted no less than 1,755 participants including 400 companies from the documentary film industry who exhibited at the market. But from the point of view of decision makers and buyers, some said that the event has been asphyxiated by the Sheffield Doc/Fest market’s timing this year. The British market changed its dates from November to June since its last edition and attracted most Anglo-Saxon professionals with an impact on the other side of the Atlantic.
But Yves Jeanneau, a great militant for the documentary genre as well as the event’s founder and CEO, remained optimistic: “In 35 years of working in this field, I have often seen the documentary genre die then come back to life from the ashes with renewed vigour.” (watch the whole interview)
Proof of this committed spirit of resistance is a market that, this year too, was able to attract 286 decision makers and buyers from around the world. In the end, 60 countries were represented and, even if North American participation did drop, this is counterbalanced by the event’s recent little sisters Asian Side of the Doc and Latin Side of the Doc being held in Japan and Mexico this year too.
This 23rd edition focused on China, a country that has newly opened itself up to the documentary genre, providing many opportunities for European professionals. By inviting Asian distributors and producers from the documentary film sector, Sunny Side was able to highlight their great potential in a sector in crisis that needs new ways to survive and develop itself. This development naturally will include trans-media, another great theme largely discussed at Sunny Side this year.
Yves Jeanneau now has his goal — to create opportunities for great and smaller documentaries, to encourage the creation and distribution of high-quality documentaries whatever their form — and the number of participants at Sunny Side of the Doc 2012 increased by 10% compared to the previous edition.
For the fourth year in a row, during the event's pitching sessions (Best International Showcase Projects - BIPS), 26 projects at the beginning of their development were pitched to a selection of decision makers and other accredited professionals. The projects were regrouped in four categories, and were each pitched during the first three days of the event. In each category, a jury handed out an award to the project with most international potential.
BIPS (Best International Projects Showcase)
Mission Rape – Sfinx Film / TV – Denmark
SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT
The Riddle of the Feathered Dragons – Saint-Thomas Productions – France - 3D
Rock’n Roll Farmer You Waki – TV Tokyo Corporation – Japan
THE UMBRELLA MURDER – Dexel Films – Germany
Songbird SOS – SongbirdSOS Productions Inc. – Canada
The complete list of winners for the Docs-In-Progress section (20 projects in the last phase of production competing for pre-sales, post-production or distribution grants) and the trans-media competition Cuban Hat, as well as commentary on events, photos, and interviews are all available on our live blog of this 23rd edition of Sunny Side of the Doc.
The market’s 24th edition is set to be held from June 25 to 28, 2013 in La Rochelle.
(Translated from French)