Everybody in the broadcast industry (and their grandmother) claims to be giving factual a big push, but few can actually prove it. French pay channel Canal+ is an exception, thanks in large part to its head of docs, Christine Cauquelin. She wasn’t blowing smoke two years ago when she told realscreen that the satcaster would be pushing factual as one of its key offerings.
Since then, two weekly slots dedicated to non-fiction – ‘Sunday Escape’ covers natural history and ‘Monday Investigation’ covers, you guessed it, investigation – have been created, with nearly 100 hours of programs broadcast each year. Plus, Cauquelin airs films that ‘explore new ways of telling stories’ in primetime several times a year. Sounds like she could be describing a little film called March of the Penguins, which Canal+ pre-bought.
Known for taking risks on young filmmakers, Cauquelin did so with Penguins, trusting first-time feature director Luc Jacquet with the project. (She wasn’t named during the Oscar acceptance speech for the film, but one of the film’s producers thanked her on the Academy’s website.) Her keen eye for talent obviously paid off, and is sure to keep Canal+’s roughly five million subscribers tuning in.