Christophe SOMMET


Head of  theme channels, TF1 Group
TF1 Group (France)

What are your expectations and objectives for this 34th edition of Sunny Side of the Doc? What will be your highlights not to be missed during these 4 days of the market?

Sunny Side of the Doc is a key event for documentaries, and it's important that the TF1 group's theme channels, Histoire TV and Ushuaïa TV, are present. The two channels are at the heart of the ecosystem, devoting 95% of their programming to the genre. By 2023, we will be investing a total of €3 million in documentary and magazine production.

At Sunny Side of the Doc, it's always interesting to meet people involved in the genre, French and international partners, present and future. This is an opportunity to offer a lunchtime presentation of our line-up, which will take place on Tuesday 20 June.

On Histoire TV, major upcoming co-production projects include 'On les appelle: vikings', the first documentary by Benjamin Brillaud (aka Nota Bene) (52' - 13 PRODS and RETROVISEUR PRODUCTIONS, directed by Laureline Amanieux) and the series 'Les légendes du ciel' (4x52' - INA, directed by Serge Tignères).

From Ushuaïa TV: the winning documentary from the Pariscience / Ushuaïa TV 2022 call for projects, "Dé-extinction, un nouvel espoir" (52' - FTV STUDIO production, directed by Thomas Marie and Gaëtan Mourral) and "Ne jamais gaspiller une bonne crise" (52', DOMINO PRODUCTION and LES FILMS D'ICI, directed by Sergio Ghizzardi).

Audience is the main thread of the 2023 edition, why do you think this topic is crucial for you, your company and the documentary industry as a whole? In your company, which documentary audiences do you want to target and where?

Histoire TV and Ushuaïa TV tackle themes that are central to the interests of the public as a whole: deciphering the present through history and protecting the environment. Our fast-growing audiences are proof of this, with Histoire TV ranking as the No. 1 channel among all pay-TV channels and Ushuaïa TV doubling its audience in 2 years.

To attract and retain audiences, and to differentiate ourselves from the competition, we are working hard on editorial content, events, exclusives, different forms of storytelling and embodiment. For both linear and non-linear channels.

For example, we recently launched the 'Terre d'Urgence' series on Ushuaïa TV with Guy Lagache. The second issue, filmed in India and devoted to rising sea levels, will be broadcast in September.

2023 is the Year of the Documentary in France. On this occasion, can you tell us the challenges - in your opinion - of producing and distributing documentaries internationally today?

Our channels work with French and international partners, in co-production, pre-purchase and acquisition. Considering the international dimension at the production stage is essential for shaping a programme in line with the expectations of different markets, in order to capture the pre-financing needed to increase production value.

We are convinced that integrating new actors contributes to the vivacity of the sector. How would you present / explain - in a few words - Sunny Side of the Doc to those who do not know about the marketplace yet?

Sunny Side of the Doc is the place to be every year to meet the various French and international players in the documentary world (broadcasters, producers, distributors, etc.) and to learn about new trends and developments in the sector.