Docs

Banff: Two in a Room follow-up

It takes two: Paul Hamann and Rudy Buttignol in a room...
June 1, 1998

It takes two: Paul Hamann and Rudy Buttignol in a room

On June 8, at the Banff Springs Conference Center, before a live audience of eager producers, Hamann and Buttignol will hammer out a theoretical mandate for a coproduction that could work for them – no mean feat. On June 12, a handful of producers behind the best proposals will get to pitch the duo, hoping to land some development cash. This is the third annual edition of Two in a Room at Banff. Sharing Stories, a coproduction event held each fall in Scotland, also features a Two in a Room session.

Two for the room Brief Bios

Rudy Buttignol

Born in Pordenone, Italy, in 1951, Buttignol is responsible for TVO’s signature series, The View From Here, now in its fourth season. As executive producer, he acquires programs for TVO’s international series, Human Edge, now in its ninth season; science specials such as Before Their Time; and limited series including Blood and Belonging, War of 1812, Global Family and Yo Yo Ma: Inspired By Bach.

Before starting at tvo in 1993, Buttignol produced, directed and wrote kids’ programs, documentaries and series for PBC, Discovery U.S., Channel 4, ZDF, A&E, the CBC and TVO. Works include Jack Bush, Neon: An Electric Memoir, Space Pioneers, and The Secret Designer.

Buttignol is founding chairman of the Canadian Independent Film Caucus and a member of the Board of Directors of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.

Paul Hamann

Hamann has produced and directed over 50 films for BBC Television. His career at the bbc started in 1978 as senior producer, documentaries.

In 1987, he made the acclaimed documentary series The Duty Men, about British undercover customs and excise drug agents, and Fourteen Days In May on the execution of a young black man in Mississippi.

From 1978-92, he was editor of BBC1 documentaries and started the premiere BBC1 documentary strand Inside Story, winner of numerous national and international awards.

In 1992, he became head of documentaries, BBC Television. In 1996, he became chair of BBC Production’s Factual Board. Recent series on BBC2 include Breaking Point, The Nazi’s, Manchester Stories, The System and Israel and the Arabs.

Hamann’s awards cache includes the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary Series for The Duty Men, five international awards (including the Gold Medal for Documentaries at the New York International Film and Television Festival) and bfi’s Grierson Award for Fourteen Days in May.

Two Long Gone: Past Two in a Room Winners

Where Have All The Hippies Gone? It’s, well, gone. At least so far as Peter Raymont, of Toronto’s White Pines Productions, and Ralph Christans, of Magma Films in Ireland, are concerned.

Raymont and Christans were the 1996 winners of Banff’s Two in a Room, convincing Channel 4′s Jackie Lawrence and CBC’s Don Richardson that their pitch for a US$400,000 one-off, about where the 60s hippies are in the 90s, was the best of the bunch.

Although the mood was jubilant in the conference room after the announcement, it was mostly downhill from there, says Raymont. The two broadcasters offered development money in the amount of US$10,000, which wasn’t sufficient for a travel-heavy project. They managed to squeeze out another US$6,000, which covered one researcher in Canada and Ireland each, and travel expenses to put together a video treatment (neither Raymont nor Christans received payment themselves).

A meeting with C4 and CBC, tape, script and incredible stories of dissidents and all in hand, resulted in the commissioning parties deciding it ‘didn’t fit into their schedules,’ recalls Raymont.

Raymont and Christans tried it alone in their own countries, but the project was shelved in favor of immediate and concrete commitments. In retrospect, Raymont questions whether either broadcaster was ever really interested in doing a joint project.

‘The combination of CBC and Channel 4 was problematic from the beginning. I came out with a lot of frustration, and a little bitter. It’s such a public committment and much hoopla.’

Trained to Kill, last year’s Two in a Room winner, is being shopped by executive producer, Arnie Gelbart, of Montreal-based Galafilm, at this year’s festival.

After wooing Discovery Canada’s Trina McQueen and C4′s Peter Grimsdale, the US$450,000 one-hour one-off went into development with US$5,000 from each broadcaster. But C4 had a change in administration and commissioned a project that conflicted with Trained to Kill. The U.K. broadcaster walked away, leaving Gelbart looking for another Euro broadcaster to come onside.

Discovery Canada is staying strong behind the one-off, which starts with obscure scientific research that proves humans do not kill instinctively. Most soldiers in war aim high or away from the enemy, says Gelbart. ‘The military has known this since wwii and they changed their training techniques… .It’s a great story that we look at from all angles, including how this kind of hair-trigger approach to killing somebody works in today’s society.’

Gelbart is planning to be in production next year.

Extra Info on Banff:

The 1998 Banff Television Festival

Increasingly influential as a confab for international tv decision-makers, and a must-attend for Canadian producers, the Banff Television Festival bills itself as Canada’s premier

international tv event. June 7-13, Banff, Canada

And the nominees are…

Arts

> Assigné à résidence France

> Blue Note – A Story of Modern Jazz

Germany, U.S., Denmark

> Dancing for Dollars: The Bolshoi in Vegas U.K.

> Porgy and Bess – An American Voice U.S.

> Richter – L’Insoumis France, U.K., Germany

> Ulay – In Photography The Netherlands

History & Biography

> AVRO Close Up: Stefan Lorant

The Netherlands

> American Experience: Influenza 1918 U.S.

> Gabrielle Roy

Canada

Arts

> Assigné à résidence France

> Blue Note – A Story of Modern Jazz

Germany, U.S., Denmark

> Dancing for Dollars: The Bolshoi in Vegas U.K.

> Porgy and Bess – An American Voice U.S.

> Richter – L’Insoumis France, U.K., Germany

> Ulay – In Photography The Netherlands

History & Biography

> AVRO Close Up: Stefan Lorant

The Netherlands

> American Experience: Influenza 1918 U.S.

> Gabrielle Roy

Canada

> The Nazis – A Warning from History (II & V) U.K.

> Prohibition

U.S., U.K.

> The War Symphonies – Shostakovich

Against Stalin

Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal

Information

> Animal Hospital (VII) U.K.

> Discovery News: Mars Live U.S.

> Doctor under Cover – Afghanistan

The Netherlands

> Envoyé special: les voleurs de l’innocence France

> H&M – Latest Fashion, But at What Price? Sweden

> World in Action: Profit Before Principle U.K.

Popular Science

> The Chimpanzee’s Mind – 19 Years with Al Japan

> Equinox: Black Holes U.K., U.S., Australia

> Flightpath: The Man they Call Father Goose Canada

> Naturetime: The Messengers of the Gods – Butterflies Austria, France, Germany

> QED: Monty Roberts – A Real Horse Whisperer U.K.

> St. Stephen’s – The Living Cathedral Austria

Social & Political

> Crossroads

The Netherlands

> Frontline: Innocence Lost – The Plea U.S.

> Holding on – A

Love Story from the Street U.S.

> Inside Story: Dead Letters Australia

> Towards a Promised Land Canada

> True Stories: The Grave U.K.

Sports

> Born for the Flight – The Art of Muay Thai Australia

> It’s All Over Now -

The Story of Matthew Harding U.K.

> La peau du foot France

> Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel

(part IV) U.S.

> Where Have You

Gone, Joe

DiMaggio? U.S.

Se also:

Report for Banff – TV on the Rocks

Banff – Don Hewitt

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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