Critiquing the IDFA’s Co-financing Forum

Commissioning editors sound off on the caliber of projects offered in Amsterdam
January 1, 2004

Nick Fraser, CE for London-based BBC’s ‘Storyville’

‘The pitches were more accomplished, but the shows were mainstream without being ‘big audience’.’

This enormous pitching industry has grown up, and people learn how to pitch and put projects together, but that doesn’t always mean that the project is very imaginative, does it?’

At the moment, what is very much in fashion is anti-American films. I would like less [of that] and more journalistic spikiness. Everybody knows that’s my bête noir, [but] I think it would be better if filmmakers examined what they really thought about America, rather than what this year’s fashion is about America.’

Cindy Witten, VP of original factual production for Toronto-based History TV

‘The proposals were safe and conservative, and there was nothing that really reached out and grabbed me. But there were more strong ideas, well fleshed out, that seemed to be at a later stage of research. I found more projects that I’d love to be a part of this year, as compared to last year.’

Björn Arvas, commissioning editor at Stockholm-based SVT2

‘Overall, I think with the IDFA [festival], Docs for Sale [market], the forum, and with the European Documentary Network meeting and the European Broadcasting Union meetings held there, Amsterdam has become…a marvelous place for networking.’

2003 Forum Stats

*Total number of pitches: 44, plus 4 ‘moderator’s hat’ draws for impromptu pitches

* Number of registered editors: 113

* Number of broadcasters and channels represented: 69

* Number of registered pitching producers: 36

* Countries represented: 36

* Official cocktail parties: 3

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.