Banff Update

Docs exploring evolution, a new cancer treatment, and the global appeal of the lowly donkey win big bucks at the CTV Canadian Documart; productions from France, Germany, the U.S., the U.K. and Japan take home Banff Rockie Awards
June 13, 2002

Documart dollars

The CTV Canadian Documart, labeled ‘The World’s Richest Pitch’ (even though the cash awards are in the much-maligned Canadian currency), took place at the Banff Television Festival on June 12. A total of CDN$100,000 (US$65,000) was up for grabs, and six projects (selected from 120 submissions) were pitched to a panel of 35 potential buyers, plus a packed ballroom full of on-lookers.

Canadian Arnie Gelbart and Australia’s Chris Hilton take home $20,000 for The Eternal Frontier, a three-part natural history series (with heavy CGI emphasis) covering 65 million years of evolution in North America.

Toronto-based producer Dugald Maudsley picks up $30,000 towards The Holy Grail, a one-hour one-off that will follow the phase two trials of a new method of gene therapy treatment for cancer.

The biggest check, to the tune of $50,000, goes to Vancouver’s Hilary Jones-Farrow for Do You Know Where We Can Get a Donkey? The series, either in 12 x 30-minute form or 6 x 60-minute form, will be hosted by Canadian Kids in the Hall comedy troop alum Scott Thompson and his long-time friend, journalist Brian Preston. Pitched by Jones-Farrow and Thompson, the series will explore the universality (or lack there of) of humor by travelling to six countries. In each country, they start off in a city by quizzing a barber on three questions: Who makes you laugh? Who makes your country laugh? And where can we get a donkey? As the episode shifts from urban to rural areas, the hosts ride in on the donkey.

Judged on the basis of the quality of the pitch, the viability of the project as well as its content, the three winning producers receive the checks on June 14.

And the award goes to…

The Banff Rockie Awards were handed out this week at the Banff Television Festival. Fellini, je suis un grand menteur (Portrait & Cie/Asylum Pictures/DreamFilm/ARTE France) won the award for arts documentary. The history and biography award went to the German/French production Dear Fidel – Marita’s Story (SUR Films in association with WDR/SWR/Canal+), while the info program award went to the American/U.K. production Beneath the Veil (Hardcash Productions Ltd. in association with Channel 4/CNN). American film A Huey P. Newton Story (Starz Encore Group in association with PBS/The African Heritage Network) scored the award for performance program. Japan’s A Certain Death (NHK) won honors for popular science & natural history program, while the HBO/Cinemax film Legacy got the award for social & political doc.

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