“The Rise & Fall of Bhutto” takes Sunny Side ’17 Awards

With more than 2,100 delegates and 350 international decision-makers, the 28th edition of four-day festival Sunny Side of the Doc wrapped Thursday (June 22) with an awards ceremony that saw ...
June 22, 2017

With more than 2,100 delegates and 350 international decision-makers, the 28th edition of four-day festival Sunny Side of the Doc wrapped Thursday (June 22) with an awards ceremony that saw The Rise & Fall of Bhutto and The Daughter Tree taking home top honors at the French festival’s annual awards show.

The 2017 international market for linear and interactive documentaries, which ran from June 19-22, welcomed industry professionals from 60 nations and 500 exhibiting companies to the western French port city of La Rochelle to forge partnerships and develop international coproductions.

With a 2017 theme focused around the genre of history, Sunny Side panels included discussions on the future of history, reinventing and disrupting the genre, as well as a dissection of Ron Howard’s The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years. Sessions also covered the topics of virtual reality, the impact of short documentaries and the benefits and challenges of factual archive films.

“Even if it is too early to announce them, the number of open negotiations and agreements between international producers and broadcasters is even higher than the previous editions,” Yves Jeanneau, CEO of Sunny Side markets, told the room of delegates.

Added Jeanneau in a statement: “The history theme, which has taken on a particular resonance in these troubled times, has offered professionals valuable insights to the issues of developing coproductions of factual series of global interest.”

The next edition of Sunny Side of the Doc will be held from June 25 to 28, 2018, in La Rochelle.

Sunny Side’s sister market Asian Side of the Doc, meanwhile, will run from Nov. 7 to 10, 2017, in Thailand with the support of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and the Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce Thailand (DITP).

“The theme of history ran through the four days of Sunny Side of the Doc’s program, giving the edition an unprecedented scope and consistency,” Jeanneau said. “The many panels and keynotes – presented in the History Focus, at Sunny Lab, and at the Digital Culture Kick-starters – provided a better understanding on the importance of the documentary as a base for knowledge and understanding our past to envisage our future.”

The awards ceremony, which was held in the auditorium of the Espace Encan, saw a total of 13 prizes handed out across two categories: Pitch Prizes and Special Prizes.

The biggest winner of the night was Zafar Ziad’s The Rise & Fall of Bhutto. Produced by Spain’s Bew Corp, the doc was honored with four prizes on the night including History Award, Group AB Award, AP Archive Award and the Cézame Music Award. The awards carry an approximate total value of €21,200 (US$24,000).

The film chronicles the history of Pakistan’s first democratically elected Prime Minister Zufikar Ali Bhutto, who was toppled and executed by the military in 1979.

Rama Rau‘s The Daughter Tree from Toronto-based Trineta Productions, meanwhile, was feted with the Social & Human Interest Award. The character-driven film explores India’s cultural preference for baby boys through the eyes of a man in search of a wife and a warrior-midwife advocating for baby girls.

The full list of the Sunny Side of the Doc awards winners follows below:


Social & Human Interest Award
The Daughter Tree, Trinetra Productions Canada
(€2,000 cash prize)

Digital Creation Award
Invisibile, Mortaza’s Odyessey, Small Bang, France
(€2,000 cash prize)

History Award
The Rise and Fall of Bhutto, Bew CORP, Spain
(€2,000 cash prize)

Asian Stories Award
China’s Forgotten Daughters, Han Meng, China
(Free accreditation to Asian Side of Doc)

Arts and culture award
War of Art Story House Productions, Germany
(€2,000 cash prize)

EBU/Science Award
The Hole, Windfall Films, UK
(€2,000 cash prize)

Natural history & Wildlife Award
Rewilding, Bonne Pioche, France
(Free accreditation to Wildscreen Festival in October 2018)


The High Transmission Prize
The Captain’s Heart, House of Real, Denmark

Pre-buy of a history documentary: €6,000 for a 60-minute, €9,000 for a 90-minute

Archive Valley Consultation Award
Josephine Baker: An American in Paris, Kepler22 Productions, France

The consultation provides: a listing of 20 worldwide archive sources (content, pricing & process); information about copyrights holder & how to access them; tips/advice to simplify licensing process; keywords search help; and 20-minute phone conversations with an expert.

Group AB Award
The Rise and Fall of Bhutto, Bew CORP, Spain

Pre-buy to a value of €15,000 to be signed with the projcet’s producer and broadcast of the completed film on a themed channel of Groupe AB as first broadcaster in France

AP Archive Award
The Rise and Fall of Bhutto, Bew CORP, Spain
€3,000 of archives for a project pitched at Sunny Side of the Doc

Cézame Music Award
The Rise and Fall of Bhutto, Bew CORP, Spain

Award for use of music in the Cézame catalog including classical music. Value: €1,200

Abortion: The Pro-Life Threat, Capa Presse, France

Automatic selection for the pitch forum at the next Mia Doc (Oct. 19-23) in Rome (Accreditation and Accommodation for one person)

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.