An investigative look behind the scenes of the upcoming Winter Olympics took top prize at this year’s MIPDoc International Pitch, held Saturday at the Martinez Hotel in Cannes.
Putin’s Olympics, produced by Simone Baumann and Saxonia Entertainment, examines the story behind the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi, Russia – the first Winter Olympics to be held at a sub-tropical resort. The documentary, which already has commitments from several European channels, will aim to expose alleged corruption behind the scenes of what is said will be the most expensive Olympics to date.
The jury – composed of France Televisions’ head of international development and documentaries, Ann Julienne; SVT commissioning editor Axel Arno; YLE commissioning editor Jenny Westergard; CBC News Network documentary executive producer Catherine Olsen and Olaf Grunart, formerly with ARTE and now with ZDF – all responded favorably to the project, with Julienne saying she would’ve been very keen to get involved but that ARTE was already on board. Westergard also said the project, which will use a touch of humor to lighten up the proceedings, would be a great fit for YLE’s current affairs channel.
The project faced formidable competition from four other pitches. Last year’s winner, Tyler Measom of Left Turn Films, returned with a new doc, Elder, which recounts the love story between a gay Mormon professor and a young Italian student. Gordon Main of Barefoot Rascals in the UK brought a 12 x 30 minute series pitch, Elite Force K9, which follows the action at a European school for border security dog trainers. Paul Thiltges of Paul Thiltges Distribution brought a cross-media project examining the international microfinance phenomenon, Initio, to the contest; and The Avoidable War, a look at the circumstances surrounding the October War of 1973 from Cinephil and Philippa Kowarsky Productions rounded out the pitches.