Chinese network CCTV9 showcased a slate of international coproductions at Sunny Side of the Doc, telling attendees that it has – in the space of just a few years – emerged as a major partner for international docs.
The documentary network said it wants to work with international players and learn from them. It is now coproducing 30 hours per year, head of international acquisitions and coproductions Yuan Tian said, by both investing sizeable amounts, and by providing facilities and access to the territory when shot there.
The channel is interested in high-end blue chip science, history and natural history. Having partnered previously on NHNZ’s Life Force II, it is now teaming up with the New Zealand firm again for 2 x 60-minute special The End of the Wild (which is also destined to Animal Planet), which looks at the consequences of the illegal ivory and rhino horn trade through the eyes of Chinese star Yao Ming.
CCTV9 is on board of the PBS ‘Nova’ 3 x 60-minute historical mini-series Treasure of the Earth, which looks at the planet’s resources and how man has used them for manufacturing.
“Many of these treasures are actually in China; there are, for instance, lots of diamonds,” said ‘Nova’ senior producer Melanie Wallace, while Tian added: “In science programming, ‘Nova’ is the typical partner we want to learn from: the fact that the shooting is taking place in China enables us to train our people on science-making.”
CCTV9 is also a partner on an ambitious CGI docu-drama project on the origin of man from Nilaya, which is currently in the works together with fellow prodco Boréales, for M6 and ZDF.
“We are doing additional research on the prehistoric era in Asia,” Nilaya founder Patricia Boutinard-Rouelle told realscreen.
Other CCTV9 co-ventures include the 6 x 52-minute series The Great Wine Game, to be produced this autumn by France’s Kwanza; or the 3 x 50-minute Gold Mountain, from America’s Rollercoaster Road Productions, which looks at the thousands of Chinese who went to America at the time of the great gold rush and helped build the U.S. railroad.
“The series was devised with CCTV9 in mind and produced for a Chinese audience,” said Rollercoaster Road MD Steve Burns, who also serves as an international consultant for CCTV9.
Tian also confirmed that CCTV9 had joined Winds and France 2′s primetime, Africa-set special Une nuit sur terre (A Night on Earth), which uses new technology to shoot wildlife footage at night-time in color; and that a second special is going to be shot in China.