By Leah Hochbaum
This year’s 10th annual MipDoc offers up a jam-packed conference program, consisting of everything from workshops on How to Pitch, All You Need to Know About Co-Production in China and Net Docs: the Web as a New Distribution Tool. In addition, the doc market will feature a meet and greet with the Trailblazers (eight visionary documentary filmmakers), as well as the third edition of the MipDoc Co-Production Challenge. But while the days will be filled with conferences, the question remains: will anyone have time to attend?
“I wish I had time,” said Gary Lico, president and CEO of CABLEready “I like the Trailblazers event, so I’ll try to go to that, but MipDoc is no different from any other convention we go to. We’re so busy with meetings that there’s just no extra time.”
The indie producer and distributor is coming to MipDoc with a number of series, including Human Edge, which explores cutting-edge topics in medicine and technology, Micro Killers, about the increasingly lethal nature of emerging viruses, The Secret Bible, which investigates topics that originated in the good book, as well as more episodes of the wildly successful Forensic Files.
“MipDoc is very focused,” said Lico. “We think [the market] is a good thing.” In fact, CABLEready thinks it’s such a good thing that the company is sponsoring the pre-market’s closing night party, which will be held at the Majestic, and will jointly celebrate MipDoc’s 10th anniversary and CABLEready‘s 15th. “The screening aspect of MipDoc just makes it great,” said Lico.
Another company that thinks the world of MipDoc is Alfred Haber Distribution, which was recently appointed the exclusive international distributor for Authentic Entertainment’s Miracle Quest, an investigative series that explores true-life miracles around the world, and will bring the show to MipDoc. The first three episodes take a look at Italy, France and the U.S., and explore such miraculous phenomena as stigmata, Marian apparitions and more.
“We’ve been doing MipDoc for the last few years,” said Robert Kennedy, executive vice president, Sales, for Alfred Haber. “What’s great about [the market] is that it introduces you to a new set of acquisition executives. It’s opened us up to a lot of new players”
Kennedy was quick to point out that his firm is generally known for its entertainment shows, including the Grammy Awards, but that MipDoc has allowed Haber to branch out and become a force to be reckoned with in the documentary realm. “Now we’re funneling things specifically for MipDoc,” said a proud Kennedy. “It’s not exactly our niche, but if we find a project we make it work.”
He feels that Miracle Quest is one such project, and that it’s sure to be a success. “Miracles are big news and big business with 69 percent of Americans saying they believe in them,” said Kennedy.
Michael Katz, vice president of Programming and Production for AETN, doesn’t necessarily believe in miracles, but he does believe that his company has perfected a certain type of docu-reality series that makes AETN programming perfect for MipDoc. “We’ve gotten very good at building real-life series that are almost like serialized dramas, but are unscripted,” said Katz. AETN is bringing one such series, Sons of Hollywood, to MipDoc. The show follows Randy Spelling, son of the late, great Aaron Spelling, Sean Stewart, son of music icon Rod Stewart, and their friend, talent agent Dave Weintraub, as they move out of their parents’ houses and try to live life on their own. In addition, AETN will also bring a number of one-off docs for buyers to salivate over.
But while execs will make time to see programs that may one day make it into their channels’ schedules, many just won’t be able to parcel out an hour or two to watch a panel of experts discuss the Art and Business of Docudrama. There simply isn’t enough time between meetings.