Guy Lavie (pictured), channel head for Israel’s YesDocu, talks to realscreen about the budgets, demographics, slots and docs that fall under his purview.
(To check out previous installments of realscreen‘s 2012 Global Pitch Guide, focusing funding organizations and networks in Asia, the UK, the U.S., Europe, Australia and Canada, click here.)
TARGET DEMO: While Lavie says its audience is “very eclectic,” main age demos are 35-44, and 55 and over.
WHAT HE’S LOOKING FOR: “Just as our channel’s slogan is ‘People – That’s the Whole Story,’ we’re looking for excellent documentary one-offs and series with engaging human stories,” says Guy Lavie, head of YesDocu.
The Israeli net is an all-doc channel, broadcasting non-fiction 18 hours a day, including a new film every weekday. “A few times a year we do special theme weeks, such as ‘Docu-Fashion,’ ‘Docu-Chef,’ ‘DocuNomics,’ ‘Docu.Com,’ and ‘Docu-Music,’” Lavie explains.
Examples of local films commissioned for the network’s ‘Israeli Slot’ include the Emmy-winning Google Baby, the DOK Leipzig-winning Life in Stills, and the Sundance-winning
A Film Unfinished. Examples of its acquired or pre-bought films include The Queen of Versailles, Ballroom Dancer, Woody Allen: A Documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, Putin’s Kiss, Whores’ Glory, Paul Simon: Under African Skies, The Cove, Donor Unknown and Burma VJ.
“This audience is looking for alternative, intelligent, high-profile, thought-provoking, engaging, well-made television,” sums up Lavie.
PITCHING DOS AND DON’TS: “When pitching I expect to see a clear story, engaging and moving characters, and excellent filmmaking, while dealing with issues that can resonate,” Lavie explains.
“A trailer or an example of a scene would be essential. The ‘don’ts’ would be very long treatments and scripts, historic films without a current story, etc.”
As for where and when to do the pitching, Lavie and team attend the main pitching forums, “such as IDFA, Hot Docs and Sheffield. At those forums we pick up the majority of our new international projects. For Israeli projects, we have an online submission twice a year.”
BUDGETS: “The average pricing for an international pre-buy would be US$3,000 an hour,” Lavie says. “For locally commissioned projects, the average for an hour is $70,000. We’re looking for an estimated 10 short series a year – around 6 x 45-52 minutes each.”