Realscreen’s MIPCOM Picks: Part Two

Another MIPCOM approaches, and with it comes another edition of our annual MIPCOM Picks. Each year, the realscreen editorial team views scores of submissions from international distributors and production companies, ...
October 12, 2017

Another MIPCOM approaches, and with it comes another edition of our annual MIPCOM Picks. Each year, the realscreen editorial team views scores of submissions from international distributors and production companies, and selects several non-fiction projects making their way to the market for our bi-annual MIP Picks lists.

Here, you’ll find a slew of non-fiction and unscripted projects coming to market, ranging from foodie-friendly fare to penetrating explorations of social issues, and from awe-inspiring natural history to light and fun formats.

For part one of this year’s picks, click here.

Partners: R2W Films; distributed by Cargo Film & Releasing
Length: 1 x 107 minutes | Premiered: June, 2017 (UK)
Rights available: All rights available worldwide
Summer in the Forest invites viewers into the village of Trosly-Breuil in northern France. Founded by Canadian-born Catholic author and philosopher Jean Vanier, L’Arche community was created in the 1960s as a refuge for individuals living with learning disabilities, previously outcast by society. Narrated by Vanier himself, Summer in the Forest tells the story of how marginalized individuals were able to forge together to beat the system and create a home for themselves on a commune at the edge of a beautiful forest near Paris. La vie est belle.

Partners: ITVS; distributed by ro*co films international
Length: 1 x 74 minutes
Premiered: September 2017 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Rights available: All rights outside of North America
While gender imbalance has been a long-lamented issue in the film industry, The Judge succeeds in featuring women both in front of and behind the camera. Directed by Erika Cohn, the doc follows Judge Kholoud Al-Faqih — the first woman appointed in Shari’a court in the Middle East. Cohn’s film tracks Al-Faqih through her journey as a lawyer and covers her ongoing advocacy for women’s rights.

Partners: ITVS; distributed by ro*co films international
Length: 1 x 75 minutes | Airing: April 2017 (Hot Docs)
Rights available: All rights outside of North America
We’re often told to listen to our elders and heed their advice, but the idea of asking grandpa for sex tips is an uncomfortable prospect for anyone. But Dr. Mahinder Watsa, a 93-year-old sex columnist, has gained notoriety in Mumbai for his daily newspaper column, which offers straight-forward, non-moralistic advice to anyone who asks. Despite sex being a taboo topic in India, the popularity of Watsa’s column has prompted many to write in. Ask the Sexpert captures Watsa’s charming personality and sex-positive way of thinking while unearthing the questions people face about their own bodies and sexuality.

Partners: NHNZ in coproduction with PBS, CCTV9, ZDF, ZDF Enterprises, Discovery International, Channel 9 and ARTE; distributed by ZDF Enterprises
Length: 4 x 50 minutes
Aired: June 2017 (PBS)
Rights available: Contact ZDF Enterprises
Over four episodes, the latest project from storied factual producer NHNZ aims to break the boundaries between land and sea. Throughout the premium blue-chip series, narrated by Lost actor Daniel Dae Kim, cinematographers and researchers have worked to discover the secrets guarded under the Pacific Ocean. Big Pacific showcases the multi-faceted character of the sea, with each episode based on a different set of behaviors: “Violent Pacific”, “Passionate Pacific”, “Voracious Pacific” and “Mysterious Pacific”.

Partners: WETA , Ark Media; distributed by Zed
Length: 2 x 52 minutes
Airing: 2018
Rights available: All rights available worldwide
They say that those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. With the recent opening of archives in Russia, the U.S., China and South Korea, along with newly unearthed historical material including color films and hundreds of photographs, Korea: the Never-Ending War aims to bring to light a time in history that has nearly been forgotten. In learning more about the Korean War, producers hope to bring more historical context to the current crisis on the Korean peninsula and showcase how the events that happened between 1950 and 1953 have influenced international relations today.

Partners: Collaborate: Ideas & Images; distributed by TVF International
Length: 1 x 45 minutes
Premiered: Global Health Film Festival (2016, UK)
Rights available: All rights worldwide
Inspired by the award-winning book The Checklist Manifesto, this doc goes into hospitals across Europe, Central America, Asia and Africa to speak to experts, doctors and patients in an effort to better understand the challenges faced by surgical teams. At the heart of this battle is the World Health Organization’s Surgical Safety Checklist — a universal document used to track a patient’s progress through surgery. The Checklist Effect explores the fallibility of those in the medical profession and the global need to make surgery safer.

Partners: Sonamu Films, PROSUM Inc.; distributed by Cargo Film & Releasing
Length: 1 x 95 minutes
Premiered: DMZ International Documentary Film Festival (Korea)
Rights available: All rights available worldwide
Filmed over eight years, Becoming Who I Was explores a bond of friendship between a future religious leader and his godfather. After an impoverished boy is discovered to be the reincarnation of a high-ranking Tibetan monk, he and his elderly godfather embark on a trek across India so he can find his place at the monastery. Striking shots captured by drones are used to convey the magnitude of the sparsely populated and mountainous Ladakh region where much of the doc takes place.

Partners: True Vision for BBC3; distributed by Orange Smarty
Length: 1 x 30 minutes |
Aired: May 2017 (BBC3)
Rights available: All rights worldwide, excluding the UK
Notable British host and journalist Stacey Dooley isn’t one to shy away from difficult subject matter, and her latest project is no exception. In this hard-hitting installment of ‘Stacey Dooley Investigates’, Dooley travels to the Philippines to learn more about Filipino mothers who traffic their children to traveling pedophiles, many of whom come from the U.S. and the UK. Dooley works with an undercover Special Agent from ICE Homeland Security Investigations and follows an operation in which they try to arrest several mothers selling their children for sex.

Partners: White Gold Productions for TVO; distributed by Boat Rocker Rights
Length: 1 x 90 minutes
Aired: January 2017 (TVO)
Rights available: All rights available worldwide
In a year when natural disasters and environmental impacts seem to be at the fore of many conversations, it only seems natural that a doc should address the economic ramifications of how we treat the planet. To The Ends of the Earth examines the rise of energy extraction and its impact on the global environment, economy and local communities. Narrated by Academy Award-winner Emma Thompson, the doc aims to bring to light the world’s economical struggle within the fossil fuel industry, and asks if new technology will usher in an era of renewable energy great enough to fuel our society.

Partners: Talos Films for History (U.S.)
Length: 4 x 120 minutes
Aired: June 2017 (History, U.S.)
Rights available: All rights worldwide
America’s War On Drugs takes viewers on a trip through the last five decades of drug enforcement, from the Cold War operations that empowered a new generation of drug traffickers, to modern-day moves to legalize marijuana. The series showcases how the CIA’s efforts to keep America safe from communism impacted the drug trade, and reveals the unintended consequences of when gangsters, war lords, spies, outlaw entrepreneurs, street gangs and politicians vie for power and control of the global black market for narcotics. Stories are told through the firsthand accounts of former CIA and DEA officers, major drug traffickers, gang members, noted experts and insiders.

Partners: Media Stockade (Australia); distributed by TVF International
Length: 1 x 52 minutes/1 x 90 minutes
Airing: TBD (ABC, Australia)
Rights available: World excluding Australia
In previous generations, marriages in China were arranged by the state. Love was not a necessary factor for married life, and wedding photos were typically absent, outside of small, black and white passport shots featuring the wedded couple. Times, and policies, have changed. Now, the wedding industry in China accounts for a staggering $80 billion. Part of that success stems from the new tradition of extravagant pre-wedding photo shoots, in which the couple can bring to life their most luxurious romantic fantasies. This doc examines the culture of coupling in China, through the lens of this trend.

(These online honorable mentions are chosen by our editors, in addition to the picks chosen by our editorial team.)

Partners: Partner Pictures, ITVS, Motto Pictures, Catapult Film Fund, Fork Films, WDR; international distribution from ro*co films international
Length: 1 x 88 minutes
Premiered: April 2017 (Tribeca Film Festival, NYC)
Rights available: Contact ro*co films international
Against the backdrop of the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, this doc from Till Schauder follows the journey of Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi, whose bold lyrics have caused him to live in exile in Germany. Najafi struggles to balance a personal life and budding romance in Cologne with full knowledge that his life would be in danger should he return to Iran. When God Sleeps weaves the musician’s bio with significant modern-day historical and political narratives.

Partners: Screen Glue in association with ZDF, Arte, BBC4 and ZDF Enterprises; distributed by ZDF Enterprises
Length: 2 x 50 minutes
Airing: March/April 2018 (ZDF, Arte)
Rights available: All rights worldwide, excluding Germany, the UK, France
If good things come in small packages, great things come in Size Matters. This two-part special aims to show why everything, from insects to planets, are the size they are. The docuseries from Jasper James, first announced in 2015, features fictitious worlds in which size can be altered, and showcases the consequences of those changes.

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