COMMUNITY VOICES – Episode 6 feat. Elina Kewitz, NEW DOCS
We may be living through times of unprecedented change, but in uncertainty lies the power to influence the future of storytelling.
Now is not the time to despair, but to act and interact!
Please introduce yourself in a few words. What’s your current position? What is your company main activity?
I am the founder and CEO of NEW DOCS, an independent, international distribution business based in Cologne/Germany. We specialise in high-quality documentaries that have been produced for the international market. We consider ourselves as a long-term distribution partner for independent producers.
Documentary producers, broadcasters and distributors are venturing into a largely disrupted period as the COVID-19 pandemic upends production activities across the globe. How are you impacted ?
Like everyone else, with markets and all travel cancelled, we are obliged to communicate remotely and online only. Mostly, this works well since we have a solid and established network of clients and producers. However, in the current situation, it is more difficult to obtain an overview of new tendencies and the needs of the market and establish new contacts or consolidate those that have been recently made.
Some deliveries have been postponed, and this is particularly critical for films that are being produced around anniversaries, for example.
The crisis, of course, also affects our films’ festival strategies: with festivals being postponed, cancelled or taking place only in online formats, the normal festival cycle is disrupted and new questions emerge. For the time being, we can work remotely, but in the long run this will obviously not replace our active and regular presence on markets or at festivals.
How has your international acquisition/sales and/or coproduction strategies evolved as a result of the current situation ?
We have not yet significantly changed the way we work. We have to listen even more carefully to the needs of our producers as the financing, shooting and delivery of their projects might be jeopardised. We also have to be sensitive to the needs of broadcasters. What has changed in the way they work, or in terms of content requirements, etc.
We are watching the market closely and staying in regular contact with our partners. Naturally, we are trying to anticipate developments as far as we can, but as no one knows how the situation will develop, we have to take things one step at a time.
How can the international marketplace Sunny Side of the Doc help you come out stronger on the other side ?
Markets like Sunny Side of the Doc remain important events in our schedules. We hope that for the time being, their online formats will help us move on with our projects and sales with the same services they offer “offline”: pitches, one-to-one-meetings, access to the database, screening libraries, etc.
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