TV

Doc/Fest: “Up In Smoke” heads to Japan, Scandinavia

Director Adam Wakeling (pictured) has penned deals with broadcasters in the UK, Japan, Norway and Sweden for his agriculture doc Up In Smoke, which has taken four-and-a-half years to make.
June 9, 2011

Director Adam Wakeling (pictured) has penned deals with broadcasters in the UK, Japan, Norway and Sweden for his agriculture doc Up In Smoke, which has taken four-and-a-half years to make.

The doc, formerly known as Burning Needs, follows scientist Mike Hands and his efforts to champion an alternative to “slash and burn” agriculture in the tropics. Wakeling pitched the project at the 2010 Reed MIDEM/realscreen MIPDoc Co-Production Challenge in Cannes.

The Channel 4 Britdoc Foundation-backed film has been pre-sold to NHK in Japan, which will air it on June 22. In the UK, More4 will air it in either September or October, while NRK Norway and SVT Sweden will air the film at some point this autumn.

Talking to realscreen in Sheffield, Wakeling said: “The film is essentially about a British scientist who has perfected a new method of agriculture for the tropics that could eradicate slash and burn, and slow global warming, but will the world listen in time?”

The director added that the film came about after he first read an article about Hands and his work in 2006. “I followed him for four years, basically, to try and get the message out.”

A specially edited seven-minute clip from the doc will air on PBS NewsHour in the U.S. this evening, and tomorrow Wakeling will present the film to a number of organisations as part of the Britdoc “Good Pitch” in Sheffield.

“We’ve got a number of funds, charities and other organizations around the table that’ve all watched the film and are all interested in coming to see how the film can be used and how it can reach a wider audience beyond TV, film and festivals,” he said.

Wakeling, a former head of sales for UK distributor 3DD, added that he was distributing the doc and setting up deals himself.

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