Docs

MIPCOM Buyers Buzz: Amy Nelson, TVF International

With MIPCOM fast approaching, realscreen chatted with several buyers to find out what may be on their shopping lists for the market. Here, we talk with Amy Nelson, head of acquisitions for UK-based TVF International, about what sorts of factual programming she'll be looking for in Cannes.
October 1, 2009

With MIPCOM fast approaching, realscreen chatted with several buyers to find out what may be on their shopping lists for the market. Here, we talk with Amy Nelson (pictured), head of acquisitions for UK-based TVF International, about what sorts of factual programming she’ll be looking for in Cannes.

What are some of the more recent finished programs you’ve acquired, and how have they fared on air?
Us Now (1 x 58) went out [on] More4 and received some great press which has developed into a really interesting campaign with screenings around the UK, and a huge online presence. Discovery’s long-running hit show How Do They Do It?, reversioned with presenter Robert Llewellyn for Discovery and Five, is a great favorite with audiences in the UK.

TVF has a very diverse catalog, pretty much covering all the bases when it comes to factual. Is there anything you’re looking for in particular at MIPCOM in terms of genre? Are any genres more ‘in demand’ lately than others?
We’re really happy with the breadth of our new titles this year, and are looking to continue catering to all tastes. Wildlife has held on really well in the current market, and celebrity access docs are always very hot. Science and history are perennial, but need a fresh approach to make them stand out.

Are you looking primarily for singles or series?
A good mix of the two! Intelligent, hard-hitting documentary like The Question Mark Inside (1 x 52, Sky Arts) or How to Start a Sex Cult (1 x 49, C4) is very close to our hearts. We also really enjoy working with upbeat cooking, travel and lifestyle shows, and these definitely work best in a series.

What have been the challenges in acquiring programming that have arisen over the past year what with the economic downturn?
Fewer commissions for independent producers naturally means less programming available for us. On the other hand, we’re seeing more brand-funded programming coming through, and some great programming coming from territories like Australia and Scandinavia that seem not to have been so badly hit.

TVF International also helps raise finance for producers, through coproductions, pre-sales and investment advice. Is this something that you’re doing more of, given the economic crunch for producers, or is it something that has been impacted by the current economy?
It is something we have to do more of to help the producers we work with, and we are diversifying the ways in which we can help, with an increased emphasis on non-broadcast methods of funding.

Lastly, if we run into you at a bar somewhere along the Croisette, what can we buy you to drink?
A nice cup of tea and a biscuit.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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