21 - 24 JUNE 2021 / EDITION N°32


Sunny Side of the Doc

[Press Release] Sunny Side of the Doc the Connected Edition to spotlight History

Taking place exclusively online from 22nd to 25th June 2020, this year’s Connected Edition of Sunny Side of the Doc, the international marketplace for documentary and narrative experiences, and PiXii, the international festival for digital cultures, offer a forward-looking programme with History as the central theme.

La Rochelle, 6th May 2020 – From 22nd to 25th June and as part of this year’s Connected Edition, Sunny Side of the Doc will cast a light on the most pressing issues in the History genre. This timely focus is enabling the documentary genre to break free from the mould, offering a wide range of opportunities and quality networking activities focusing on talent, co-productions, digital experiences, tech solutions and the most innovative and outstanding linear and non-linear projects – both inside & out!

“The urgent demand for new content can already be seen in the historic peak of projects submitted to this year’s pitching sessions. Almost 350 projects from 250 different independent companies were registered from 37 different countries. These include: Canada, Germany, USA, Spain and Italy, as well as Australia, Ukraine, Finland, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Israel, South Korea and Japan”, comments Mathieu Béjot, Director of Strategy and Development.
“By offering a line-up that’s packed with conferences, practical workshops and pitching sessions which are vital for pushing both creation and the industry forward, we hope to provide unfailing support for those working in the industry all across the world.”

Archives taking pole position: why such an appetite?

In these troubled times, bringing History back to the forefront is essential for encouraging audiences to understand the present-day world and all its complexities. Yet at the same time, it is a way of sending a positive message to an industry at a time when the Covid-19 has brought traditional production pipelines to a standstill.

Buyers at networks and platforms are actively looking to History and documentaries based on archival footage. This is because their inventories are running low and they need quality, cost-effective alternatives to their usual shows that rely on complex crews and travel. And undoubtedly, there sure is something for everyone!

“The archive can deliver compelling stories on a fast track, with workflows that rely on small production teams. Success requires the expertise to know what buyers want, to qualify the stories and characters that most appeal to them, and then create winning pitches and trailers” explains Tom Jennings, Peabody and Emmy award-winning documentary producer and founder of 1895 Films.
“On the operational side, producers must expertly establish digital work platforms, negotiate archive deals, understand Fair Use, and much more. The Sunny Side 2020 programme is a uniquely timely opportunity to explore these issues related to success with archive-based productions.”

The Connected Edition will stage four 30-minute workshops led by Canadian producer and visual researcher Elizabeth Klinck, who is renowned internationally. She and her guest speakers will share experience and expertise on how using archival footage can add value to a production, as well as the latest innovations in the historytelling genre. Each workshop offers a practical approach, be it editorial, technical or finance-related.

• Sourcing: with “Berlin 1945”, Autentic Distribution shall revisit the importance of archival research. With stunning, moving, never-before-seen archival footage, this film reconstructs the lives not only from those liberated from concentration camps, but also gives a voice to Soviet, US, UK and French soldiers as well as the German population anxiously awaiting the outcome of the fighting.

• Restauration & Colourisation: a growing number of history-based documentaries are using fully-restored archival footage that’s often colourised. These new techniques enable viewers to get a more dramatic and powerful insight into the period covered. Do these techniques account for more empathy, or are they simply editorial artifice?

• Costs & Negotiation: whether a film features a small proportion of archival materials or it’s entirely based on archival footage, such footage comes at a price. How much do different rights cost? Whether you’re looking at international rights or rights only for certain territories, how do you establish a budget? What production solutions exist? From partnership purchasing rights to co-productions, what are the best solutions depending on the project?

• Marketplace & Audience: how are archival-based films received in different territories? Does the archive genre work better on certain topics? This session offers an international overview of archival-based films audiences.

Here are just a few of the History Inside/Out connected events:

• Themed Meet the Executives sessions shall shine a light on broadcasters’ and SVOD platforms’ strategies, with Simon Young (BBC), Fatima Salaria (Channel 4), Catherine Alvaresse (France Télévisions), Mikael Osterby (SVT), Jorge Franzini (CuriosityStream) and Alex Hryniewicz (Little Dot Studios).

“History and Winning Over Young Audiences” panel: Television networks and independent producers are encouraged to develop new narrative forms adapted to new uses. They are now freed of the rigidity of “programme slots”, constraints specific to a certain type of screen or even traditional narrative arc, and instead favour multiple approaches and media. This panel will be based on recent examples from the BBC and INA.

International Co-production case study on the September 11 terrorist attacks, 20 years after this historical event took place. A co-production led by John Smithson (Arrow Media) for PBS (USA), Channel 4 (UK) and Arte France.

PiXii Festival: innovating History

The collective memory is also an imaginary place. With the emergence of storytelling tools and technology designed to disseminate engaging interactive stories, there are now multiple opportunities for writing and narrating History that will be remembered in 50 or even 500 years’ time…

The PiXii Festival official selection was revealed on 30th April (for the full list, see here), and the applications stage saw an increase in the number of projects for digital experiences and installations coming from all across the globe.
The list includes experiences from museums such as the Louvre, the Centre des Monuments Nationaux as well as immersive devices designed in France, Germany, Australia and Israel. Accredited industry professionals will have access to the official selection during the four-day Connected Edition. What’s more, case studies, sessions on sharing best practices and inter-industry networking opportunities are all on this year’s agenda, which mainly focuses on the topics of monetizing and co-hosting cultural and educational experiences that use VR, AR, video mapping, 3D sound and even hemispherical dome projection.

• Panel: Models for financing and distributing immersive works
What to consider beforehand when co-designing and co-producing an immersive experience other than the physical space available. What promotion strategies exist? Should you monetize at all costs or opt for an agile approach? These are just some of the questions we’ll try and answer, featuring speakers from Institut du Monde Arabe, Ubisoft, Smithsonian Institution, Château de Versailles and many others…

• The PiXii Kickstarters sessions enable cultural operators from around the world to connect with new media producers and distributors of digital and immersive devices. Amongst the case studies to be presented in 2020: “Mona Lisa Beyond The Glass” is the first ever VR experience to take place at the Louvre. It was designed as part of the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition which saw more than 1.1 million visitors; The Grand Palais and Gédéon Programmes shall present “Pompeii VR Experience”, this immersive exhibition is to open next July in collaboration with the Archaeological Site of Pompeii; meanwhile UNESCO teamed up with Ubisoft to create a virtual tour of the Notre-Dame cathedral, which was unveiled to the public during European Heritage Days 2019.

• As part of PiXii Festival, Meet The Executives line-up also brings together television networks’ digital platforms as well as cultural operators to help facilitate innovative and creative collaborations between the two: France Télévisions, National Geographic, Phi Centre Montreal, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)…

A fully human experience forging international partnerships and alliances

It’s proving to be now more vital than ever to structure and strengthen ties between the international network of industry professionals. Sunny Side of the Doc and PiXii Festival are offering several networking events in the same vein during the four-day marketplace:

Matchmaking: Pick out contacts, develop relationships, co-create international co-production projects… these are just a few of the aims of the Matchmaking sessions which bring together foreign delegations of producers based in Canada, China and Italy.

Meet The Experts: for the duration of the marketplace, all registered industry professionals can take part in individual consultations with international experts (institutions, distributors, international funds, TV networks, museums, etc.) to help them in their efforts to approach decision-makers and potential partners of all sorts. Experts taking part include (amongst many others): the CNC, Creative Europe, XR Hub, AniDox (The Animation Workshop) and even KissKissBankBank, Lion TV, Virtual Switzerland, France Télévisions, Arte, DOK Leipzig, etc.

Best of Festivals: Numerous documentary film festivals have been cancelled worldwide. In an effort to show support to its peers, Sunny Side of the Doc is offering each of them the opportunity to screen a selection of highlights from their 2020 line-ups. These films will be available via the Sunny Side of the Doc digital videolibrary.
Dok Fest Munich, Hot Docs, Sheffield Doc Fest, One World Festival, CPH:DOX, International Human Rights Film Festival, Movies That Matter and DocuDays UA have all already signed up to this initiative.


Aurélie REMAN
Head of Communications // +33 (0)6 69 28 68 33

Media Relations & PiXii Development Executive // +33 (0)6 11 83 83 74

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