Franco-German broadcaster ARTE has commissioned a French indie to produce a hard-hitting single documentary examining the reign of French president Nicolas Sarkozy (pictured), with a number of Euro nets set to commit to a coproduction.
Looking for Nicolas Sarkozy (1 x 52- or 90-minutes) is being produced by Roche Productions and directed by William Karel (The World According To Bush, The Dark Side Of The Moon), with Paris-based boutique distributor Zed handling sales and recruiting copro partners.
Talking to realscreen in Cannes, Zed’s head of distribution and acquisitions, Céline Payot Lehmann, said that having Karel on board as director was proving a major draw for interested broadcasters.
“He is known for his vivid storytelling and his in-depth investigations – he’s a very strong journalist,” she said. “He always manages to get very close to the protagonists.
“We also think the documentary will benefit from the French elections in 2012. Most broadcasters will want to do something on the elections or on Sarkozy – he is a kind of soap-opera character.”
The film will set out to ask the question, ‘Who is Sarkozy?’ and will examine the French leader’s relationship with the press, the French public and his wife, heiress Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
In terms of the doc’s tone, Payot Lehmann explained: “It’s definitely not going to be a piece defending him, but it’s not going to just be critical of him either. I think it’s going to be a little bit sarcastic – there will be interviews with a number of journalists.”
She added that the project has two-thirds of its €500,000 (US$711,700) budget in place, with the producers aiming for a November 2011 delivery.
Zed is in advanced negotiations with Belgium’s RTBF and VRT, Italian broadcaster Rai, Switzerland’s TSR and Radio Canada in North America, and expects to finalize a number of deals following MIPdoc.