Pitches & Awards at Sunny Side of the Doc

2021 Pitch selection

This year, 42 projects from 18 different countries that stand out due to their originality, international potential and continuous search for new ways of storytelling have been presented during six themed sessions and tailored one-to-one meetings with support from our partners: RTBF for the Global Issues Pitch, PBS International for the History Pitch, Science & Vie TV for the Science Pitch, West Lake International Documentary Festival for the Arts & Culture Pitch, The Redford Center and Love Nature for the Wildlife & Conservation Pitch and Ubisoft for the Immersive Experiences Pitch.
 
Follow their global journey through our Observatory Programme available here.
All you need to know about this year's PiXii Festival selections here.

Jurys

Global Issues



Harriet-Harmston Clarke - TVF
Nadja Tennstedt - Dok Leipzig
Gaspard Lamunière - RTS

Wildlife & Conservation



Monika Kossits - ORF
Jacqueline Farmer - Saint Thomas Production
Sylvia Schmoeller - Red Bull Media House

History



Stephanie Fischer - Off the Fence
Arne Birkenstock - Fruitmarket Arts and Media
Anne Grolleron - ARTE

Arts & Culture



Cleo Veger - Dogwoof 
Valérie Montmartin - Little Big Story
Emma Cahusac - BBC

Immersive Experiences



Leen Segers - LucidWeb, Women in Immersive Tech Europe
Elizabeth Markevitch - Ikonotv.art
Laetitia Bochud - Virtual Switzerland

Science



Lilla Hurst- Drive
Fabrice Estève -YUZU Productions
Yuri Sudo - NHK

New Voices Award



Jarmila Outrova - Emerging Producers Jhilava
Julie Tolza - CLPB Rights
Amelia Hanibelsz - Tell2C Productions LLC

Grand Prix PiXii



Marialya Bestougeff - CENTQUATRE
Georges Kalomenopoulos - 2K Films
Christian Lachenal - Auteur, scénariste

Official Selection 2021

FRANKENSTEIN 2.0

Produced by: Ego Media (Latvia)
Directed by: Dāvis Simānis

Logline: The author of the film goes undercover as a potential immortality client on an existential yet hysterical journey to uncover the business of eternal life in the world of today. Balancing between existential road movie and humorous science fiction, Frankenstein 2.0 will remind us of modern man's cravings not to give up this world for future generations, but to become its undying super-human.

ASIA PACIFIC, THE NEW POWDER KEG

Produced by: Bonne Pioche (France)
Directed by: Anne Loussouarn

Logline: Using its brand-new and powerful marine fleet, Beijing challenges Washington's naval supremacy in the Pacific. How are the United States and their allies reacting and preparing to counter this attempt at a new world order imposed by China?

THE CLICK TRAP

Produced by: Polar Star Films (Spain)
Directed byPeter Porta

Logline: Every day, thousands of people worldwide fall prey to scams by clicking on Google ads. The crooks behind them make millions for themselves - and for the tech giant, who turns a blind eye to the plight of the victims. Through personal, striking stories in Europe, the US, and Asia, this film will reveal the dark side of Google’s ad machine.

WAITERGATE

Produced by: ZK Studio (Poland)
Directed byKonrad Szolajski

Logline: Russia introduces a military doctrine that relies on ‘hybrid’ methods of warfare. Putin attacks Ukraine. Warsaw supports Kiyiv. Polish Government private talks are eavesdropped and several ministers compromised. A media scandal precedes elections – Polish nationalists take power and destroy the EU integrity. Is it a coup d'état that nobody notices? A beginning of Putin’s war with the West?

NORITA

Produced by: Projector Films (Australia)
Directed by: Jason McNamara

Logline: The kidnapping of her son by Argentina’s military dictatorship, and her forty-year search for him, transforms Nora Cortiñas from conservative ‘housewife’ into a trailblazing social activist - inspiring a new generation to take hold of their future and seek justice for the past.

UNTITLED DIGITAL PRIVACY PROJECT

(One-to-one only)

Produced by: Rubix Films (United Kingdom)
Directed by: Kate Stonehill

Logline: A human rights activist is prosecuted as a terrorist for refusing to hand over the passwords to his electronic devices during a border stop, unveiling unsettling questions about the rule of law, modern espionage and digital privacy.

SWINGING FIELDS

(One-to-one only)

Produced by: HAI Creative (United States), Soilsiú Films (Ireland), Sister Productions (France)
Directed by: Sareen Hairabedian

Logline: Swinging Fields follows “Vrej” an 11-year-old boy who was born as a result of a mass wedding in the de facto Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh ‘Artsakh’, as he journeys back from displacement into his war torn home. Born in a militarized society, Vrej has a responsibility to protect and prosper his homeland.

RETURN TO RAQQA

(One-to-one only)

Produced by: Minimal Films (Spain)
Directed by: Albert Sole

Logline: Return to Raqqa chronicles what was perhaps the most famous kidnapping event in history, when 19 journalists were taken captive by the Islamic State, as told by one of its protagonists: Spanish reporter Marc Marginedas, who was also the first captive to be released.

SLAVE ISLAND

(One-to-one only)

Produced by: Harald House (Belgium)
Directed by: Jeremy Kewuan, Jimmy Hendrickx

Logline: Young women and children are threatened with the rites of Pasung, to be chained to a wooden block until the demons are driven out of them. Two filmmakers, Jimmy and Jeremy, investigate the hidden paradise of Sumba island, only to discover atrocities of present-day slavery. Ancient texts state that those born as “Ata” must serve their Maramba masters; and in death, be buried alive with them.

THE MINE

(One-to-one only)

Produced by: HitPlay Productions (Canada)
Directed by: Nadine Pequeneza, Carla Molina

Logline: La Mina is the story of a community’s pursuit of justice told within the context of a mine’s 70-year history in Guatemala. This historical window, from the 1950s until now, is examined through an unfolding legal case brought by 12 Maya women to Canada, where they have charged the mine’s owners with mass rape and murder.

THE RED PRINCESS

(One-to-one only)

Produced by: Hikari (France)
Directed byPierre Haski

Logline: Stability in Asia, and therefore in the world, rests a little more each day on the shoulders of a young woman: Kim Yo Jong, heiress of the North Korean dynasty, the first female dictator on the planet. This portrait allows us to discover her, from the intimacy of her youth in Switzerland to her political agenda.
 

THE DEEP MED

Produced by: Les Gens Bien Production (France),  Andromède Océanologie (France)
Directed by: Andrés Jarach

Logline: THE DEEP MED VR EXPERIENCE is an immersive and interactive virtual reality experience to discover the Mediterranean Sea at a depth of more than 100 meters.

NEXUS

Produced by: Nexus Vision (United Kingdom), FlipsideXR (Canada), Small Studio (France)
Directed by: Rodolfo Lissia

Logline: “NEXUS” is a WebXR interactive documentary that explores the connections between energy, food and water on our planet.

THE METAMORPHOSES OF PARIS

Produced by: Cinétévé Expérience (France), la Ville de Paris (France)
Directed by: Bernard George

Logline: Paris has personality traits that reveal its deep nature. She is a character in perpetual motion, who keeps reinventing herself. The Metamorphoses of Paris is the immersive story of its most singular transformations. A space-time expedition to explore and reveal the true nature of the capital.

NOIRE

Produced by: Novaya (France), Théâtre National de Bretagne (France)
Directed by: Stéphane Foenkinos, Pierre-Alain Giraud

Logline: In Montgomery, Alabama, on the 2:30pm bus on March 2, 1955, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to give her seat to a white passenger. Despite threats, she remained seated. Thrown in jail, she decides to plead not guilty and to sue the city. No one before her had dared this.

BLOOD SPEAKS - MAYA - THE BIRTH OF A SUPERHERO

(One-to-one only)

Produced by: JAPC (United Kingdom), Floréal Films (France)
Directed by: Poulomi Basu, CJ Clarke

Logline: Blood Speaks is an immersive story following Maya, an ordinary 21st Century girl, as she transforms into a uniquely female superhero whose powers derive from the process of menstruation.

JEANNE DELETED

(One-to-one only)

Produced by: Little Big Story Lab (France)
Directed by: Régine Abadia

Logline: Jeanne, the erased character from Gustave Courbet's famous painting “The Painter's Studio”, reappears in the light and takes you into the poetry of her lifelong companion, Charles Baudelaire. Eleven modules, like small virtual theatres that you can simply place on your table, your bed or on any surface around you using your smartphone.

THE MYSTERIOUS WORLD OF INSECTS

Produced by: Gedeon Programmes (France)
Directed by: Charles-Antoine De Rouvre

Logline: For most of us, insects are nothing more than pests we would gladly do without ! However, without insects, human evolution would have taken a very different form, both our brains and our bodies would have developed in unimaginable ways. The earth would literally suffocate from its own organic residue. This film will explore those ubiquitous creatures in a way we have never before seen.

MUSIC'S SUPERPOWERS

Produced by: CPB Films (France)
Directed by: Jacques Mitsch

Logline: Why is music vital to our brain? Through an international scientific and neurological investigation, this film will unveil the mystery of music’s multiple powers in our lives. Learning, growing up, loving, overcoming amnesia, anxiety and pain, and much more...at every stage of our lives, how does music play a decisive role in our development?

BIG JOHN

Produced by: Agherose (Italy)
Directed by: Davide Ludovisi, Dorino Minigutti

Logline: Big John is in pieces. He needs urgent care, because the world is waiting for him. Big John is the largest triceratops dinosaur ever discovered. In a small family business in Trieste, Northern Italy, a handful of people have a few months to prepare the huge skeleton for an international auction in Paris. For Flavio, his daughter Giorgia and his associate Iacopo it is the challenge of a lifetime.

NEFERTITI AND THE VANISHED QUEENS

Produced by: Mission Films (United States)
Directed by: Brando Quilici

Logline: Nefertiti and the Vanished Queens is an unforgettable exploration of one of the last great mysteries of the Golden King Tutankhamun. Within the tomb’s treasury room were two small coffins with the mummified remains of two female babies. Few know they exist to this day. Witness cutting edge science, from state of the art CT scans to next generation DNA sequencing, and peel back answers to questions that have been impossible to solve until now—discoveries with the potential to rewrite the story of the Golden Age of Egypt.

THE GENDER PROJECT

(One-to-one only)

Produced by: Big Sky Film Productions, Inc. (United States)
Directed by: Kimberly Reed

Logline: What defines biological sex — science or society? Through immersion in the lives of people who defy simplistic gender labels, the Gender Project uses bold cinematic language to confront the dichotomy of gender, exploding binary myths with scientific, historical, and cultural revelations to reveal the true complexity of humans and the astonishing spectrum within us, from the molecular level on up.

IZNIK: THE SUNKEN BASILICA

(One-to-one only)

Produced by: Les Batelières Productions (France)
Directed by: Pascal Guerin

Logline: Following the discovery of a 4th century basilica in Lake Iznik – ancient Nicaea, Turkey, this worldwide investigation follows a world-renowned team in an underwater excavation to bring this vanished world back to life, thanks to exclusive access, aerial, underwater footage and spectacular CGI.

THE TIGER SPIRIT - THE RACE TO SAVE MALAYSIA'S LAST TIGERS

Produced by: CLEARWING FOUNDATION FOR BIODIVERSITY (Poland)
Directed by: Paolo Volponi

Logline: A filmmaker and biologist have been given unprecedented filming access to film the last Malayan tigers and rangers who try to protect them from poachers. Biologist Marta investigates the poaching drama. Filmmaker Paolo tries to gain the first ever image of a wild Malayan tiger. Will their documentary improve the chances of rangers to save tigers and raise awareness about the battle being fought?

EXTREME OF THE AMERICAS

Produced by: WE ARE SOUTH & Wolfhouse Films (Chile)
Directed byKelsey Eliasson, Miguel Soffia

Logline: Climate change is already a reality in the extremes of the Americas. This 6 part documentary miniseries explores the consequences of these changes, through the impressive stories of residents, researchers, wildlife and the first nations both in the Chilean Patagonia and the Canadian Arctic. An invitation to discover the front row of the unknown.

OUR FOREST

Produced by: LATO SENSU PRODUCTIONS (France)
Directed by: Marc Dozier, Jérôme Bouvier, Quincy Russell, Hamid Sardar-Hafkhami, Mike Magidson

Logline: In the four corners of the world, deforestation has set the alarm bells ringing. Faced with climate change, the threats to biodiversity and the uncertain fate of the indigenous peoples, five native chiefs provide a critical, interrogative and empathic perspective of the excesses of Homo economicus. A documentary panorama of those green lungs on which the balance of our planet depends.

ANIMAL NATION

Produced by: ROTATING PLANET PRODUCTIONS (Canada)
Directed by: Ari A. Cohen, Jesse Bochner

Logline: Six key animals have the power to restore our natural world. Thorough the scope of Indigenous science and traditional knowledge, we uncover the surprising and vital role these teaching animals have in protecting, re-balancing and revitalizing the land we share.

LYNX MAN

Produced by: WACKY TIE FILMS (Finland)
Directed by: Juha Suonpää

Logline: Lynx Man is a poetic documentary about pensioner Hannu's efforts to form a connection to the Eurasian lynx hiding in the forests. With his trail camera, Hannu opens a gateway into the Finnish nature and to seeking a genuine connection to wild animals. 

WILD EMPIRE

Produced by: ZED (France)
Directed by: Laurent Joffrion

Logline: Dense forests, steep mountains, thriving wetlands and sweeping deserts… China boasts the highest biodiversity of anywhere on Earth outside the tropics. This series explores this magnificent bounty of rare and charismatic wildlife through four intimate stories about unique animals: The Golden Monkey, the Amur Tiger, the Tibetan Antelope and the Asian Elephant.

NO MERCY - THE FEMALE GAZE

Produced by: Tondowski Films (Germany)
Directed byIsa Willinger

Logline: Kira Muratova once said to me “the harshest films are made by women.” The East European cult director's claim serves as a point of departure for a journey with the world’s greatest female directors, to speak with them about vengeance, violence, the female gaze, and the urgent need to tell new stories about gender.

SOUND OF ICE

Produced by: Oslo Pictures (Norway)
Directed byTommy Gulliksen

Logline: When the annual Ice music festival in Norway melts down a third time because of climate change, famous ice musician Terje Isungset decides to go on a quest to build ice instruments from the most endangered glaciers in the world. The goal is a spectacular concert in the opera house of Beijing, where Terje plans to open people's eyes and hearts in an unexpected way.

SPARK

Produced by: A5 Film (Norway)
Directed bySilje Evensmo Jacobsen

Logline: SPARK is a young and intimate documentary series about young street dancers which spreads the love and joy of dance, with excitement towards make it or break it, and with deep personal stories.

THIS IS NOT A KANGA

Produced by: Wonder Maria Films (Portugal)
Directed by: João Nuno Pinto and Fernanda Polacow

Logline: Some of Africa’s most amazing artists guide us through their creative processes and personal memories, which are steered by the fantastic scenery that inspire them. In every episode, contemporary art becomes a portal through which the vibrant, modern, but also historical and full of contradictions Africa of today is unveiled.

PATTI SMITH, THE INVENTION OF SELF

(One-to-one only)

Produced by: Les Poissons Volants (France)
Directed by: Sophie Peyrard, Anne Cutaia

Logline: What happens to weird kids? As for Patti Smith, she creates her own standards. She combines poetry and rock, blends in masculine and feminine, mixes underground and high culture. Her only goal: to get rid of the rules that stand in the way, to feel free to be herself.

EGYPT, A LOVE SONG

(One-to-one only)

Produced by: UNDERBITE (Israel)
Directed by: Iris Zaki

Logline: Souad Zaki was a popular Jewish singer in 1940s Egypt, married to a Muslim musician, and after he abandoned her she fled to Israel and lived a double life: she was a cleaning lady and a singer. Souad’s granddaughter brings her story to life in a cinematic project that crosses nations, cultures, and religions, combining an intimate documentary journey with periodical scripted scenes and archival materials.

LOOKING FOR MERKEL

Produced by: Magneto (France)
Directed byMarion Van Renterghem

Logline: Angela Merkel is due to leave the German chancellery in the fall of 2021 after 16 years in office. Her exceptional career path overlaps with Europe's: from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the Covid pandemic via the migrant crisis. She has become a global icon, and yet, she remains an enigma. How did this Protestant pastor's daughter from East Germany become the most powerful woman in the world?
 

RAISING NOTRE-DAME

Produced by: ZED (France)
Directed by: Vincent Amouroux

Logline: Two years after the fire that nearly destroyed it, the consolidation of Notre-Dame de Paris is finally coming to an end. The cathedral has been saved. Now comes the hard part. How do you reconstruct an 800-year old monument, when no-one knows how it was originally built?

A CENTURY OF SEX ED

Produced by: Gebrüder Beetz Filmproduktion (Germany)
Directed byCosima Dannoritzer

Logline: An exciting and revealing journey through a century of education on humankind's most basic drive, from its role as a tool of control over people's bodies, desires and identities to the ongoing struggle for knowledge, freedom and equality.
 

THE ULTIMATE JOKER

Produced by: VISION HOUSE PRODUCTIONS (Poland)
Directed by: Krzysztof Dzieciolowski

Logline: Welcome to the world of a former communist government spokesman, the ultimate Polish Joker, and the man who always lands on his feet. Jerzy Urban, the master of propaganda and political spin at the peak of the Cold War, is back today on a mission to conquer the Internet, fight the Church, troll the right-wing populists in power, and leave this world on his own terms. 

AURORA'S SUNRISE

(One-to-one only)

Produced by: Bars Media (Armenia),  Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion (Germany), ARTBOX Laisvalaikio Klubas (Lithuania)
Directed byInna Sahakyan

Logline:  At only 14, Aurora faced the horror of the Armenian Genocide. Luck and courage enabled her to escape to America, where her tragic story became a cultural sensation. Starring in a Hollywood film based on her life, Aurora became a celebrity and the face of the largest charity campaign in US history. Her odyssey sees her confront loss, trauma, and greed, all while battling to maintain her humanity.

THE KINGDOM OF SACRIFICED CHILDREN

(One-to-one only)

Produced by: NILAYA PRODUCTIONS (France)
Directed byJérôme Scemla

Logline: An unprecedented archaeological discovery of several hundred sacrificed children and llamas opens the gates to the Kingdom of Chimor set in today’s Northern Peru. Told as a cold case, this international archaeological investigation is set to unveil the mysteries of the most powerful Andean civilization before the Incas, which thrived for over five centuries.

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