European non-fiction professionals have until October 2 to submit their documentary projects to the internationally renowned Documentary Campus Masterclass 2010, held annually in Munich, Germany. Formerly operating under the title Discovery Campus, the professional training program took a fresh name this spring in its 11th year as one of Europe’s leading educational initiatives. For the 2010 edition, the Campus seeks ideas for documentary series and formats, cross-media projects and classical one-offs in the area of non-fiction.
Documentary Campus collaborates with both doc-stars and doc-rookies on developing projects of various forms and genres. Its key requirement, however, remains constant – the proposed documentary must have international audience appeal. Filmmakers partaking in the Masterclass are expected to adapt their domestic films to the needs of the global market, carefully considering what other cultures and their respective broadcasters find engaging.
Workshops, seminars and a 10-month Masterclass program gears Campus-goers for the international terrain of doc-making, from storytelling aesthetics to industry know-how and the challenges of shifting market trends. The primary aim is to pull the wealth of talent and the cultural mix in Europe (often hidden in the gigantic shadows of widely-distributed UK and U.S.-based filmmakers) into the international ring.
This year, the Documentary Campus launched the online platform, reelisor – a networking tool accessible to the European documentary industry. Reelisor navigates users through current news, projects and assorted professional info, including details on filmmakers, commissioning editors, festivals, markets and various initiatives in the sphere of documentary film.
Following tradition, the third and final leg of the 2009 Masterclass will take place at the end of October during DOK, the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film in Germany. After 10 months of sculpting, filmmakers will pitch their projects in the presence of a panel some 50 commissioning editors, which in the past has included representatives from ARTE, BBC, Channel 4, Discovery Channel, Knowledge Network, The Documentary Channel, TV Ontario and ZDF, among many others. The pitched projects will encompass traditional forms of documentary as well as personal histories and travelogs, animation, creative and observational forms of storytelling.
Apart from the Masterclass, the Campus offers public symposiums, or Open Training Sessions, which are weekend conferences accessible to a professional audience. In addition, the Campus hosts an annual screening of successful docs produced within the Masterclass, which is generally up to 70% of projects selected.