Realscreen’s MIPTV Picks 2018, part one

Every year, the call for entries for our MIPTV Picks feature brings a wide range of promising programs to our attention. And each year, it’s difficult to whittle our list ...
March 28, 2018

Every year, the call for entries for our MIPTV Picks feature brings a wide range of promising programs to our attention. And each year, it’s difficult to whittle our list of “can’t miss” projects heading to Cannes down to a somewhat manageable number. This time around, projects submitted ran the gamut from such cultural hot-button topics as the #MeToo movement, gender relations and racism; to series and programs that provide vibrant, vivid explorations of the world around us, and worlds beyond. Congrats to our Best in Show (pictured), which wins a pass to the 2019 Realscreen Summit for the submitting company.

Partners: Nutopia and Protozoa Pictures for National Geographic; distributed by Fox Networks Group Content Distribution
Premiere: March 25, 2018 (Nat Geo)
Length: 10 x 60 minutes
Rights available: All rights, worldwide
This 10-part tentpole series (pictured) combines dramatic visual storytelling and real science to tell the story of planet Earth. Hosted by two-time Academy Award nominee Will Smith, One Strange Rock utilizes micro and macro photography to guide viewers through the history of our pale blue dot and
demonstrates how its biological, chemical and physical systems are able to sustain life. Acclaimed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky and award-winning producer Jane Root recruit an elite group of astronauts – including Chris Hadfield, Jeff Hoffman and Mae Jemison – to tell the extraordinary story of Earth through the unique perspective of experiencing the planet from outer space. In production for more than 100 weeks, the series was filmed across 45 countries, six continents and beyond Earth’s parameters at the International Space Station.

Partners: RDF Television for BBC2; distributed by Banijay Rights
Premiered: December 2017
Length: 2 x 60 minutes
Rights available: Worldwide
Robots have occupied a peculiar place in our culture over the years, with sci-fi folklorists painting them as chatty, comical comrades (think of Star Wars‘ C-3PO), and others depicting them as conniving computers (think Hal 9000 from 2001). As robots make an increasing impact on society, the truth is somewhat less fanciful, but hopefully closer to the first scenario. This two-parter sees six families with different needs receiving robot helpers -with names such as Carebot, Tutorbot and Fitbot ­ and follows them as they adjust to life with a robo-guest. Can flesh and blood work with nuts and bolts on a household level, for the betterment of society as a whole?

Partners: Amos Pictures for BBC2; distributed by Passion Distribution
Premiered: October 2017
Length: 1 x 60 minutes
Rights available: Worldwide excluding the UK and Ireland
The largest migrant camp in Europe, housed in the French port of Calais, was seen by the thousands who stayed there as a pathway to another life, or at least a possible point of entry to the United Kingdom. But by October of 2016, some 6,400 migrants occupying the camp had been cleared out by French authorities, many of them temporarily relocated to other regions of France. This doc, from the team behind Three Days of Terror: The Charlie Hebdo Attacks and The Paedophile Hunter, chronicles the last days of the jungle as the orderly evictions hoped for by the powers that be are transformed into one last fiery act of defiance by its inhabitants.

Partners: Cinétévé for ARTE France; distributed by Zed
Premiering: Winter 2018 (France)
Length: 4 x 52 minutes
Rights available: All rights worldwide
Often, there is more to a story than the sound bite. And with history, some of the things accepted as fact are, over time, revealed to be a little less certain upon further reflection. This series examines some of history’s most prevalent “myths” — the strategic aptitude of Adolf Hitler, the ultimate impact of the Marshall Plan on Europe’s fortunes — and puts their veracity under the microscope. As with many mythologies, while facts may be present within these assertions, more investigation can lead to a clearer truth.

Partners: Pieter van Huystee Film; distributed by Cargo Film & Releasing
Premiered: November 2017 (IDFA)
Length: 1 x 55 minutes; 1 x 91 minutes
Rights available: World excluding the Netherlands
While it may seem like a quaint artifact in the era of smartphones and their accompanying HD-quality cameras, the Polaroid Instant Camera was a revolutionary development both in the world of photography and for culture in general. This doc from director Willem Baptist follows Polaroid enthusiasts who refuse to let the camera and the mysterious chemical process behind instant film pass into posterity. With Polaroid halting production on instant film in 2008, and subsequent attempts since then to resuscitate the product, Instant Dreams artfully delves into Polaroid’s sepia-toned past, while pointing towards hopes for a vivid future for the medium.
View a clip here.

Partners: Lion TV for BBC2; distributed by All3Media International
Premiered: January 2018 (UK)
Length: 1 x 60 minutes
Rights available: All rights for the world excluding UK primary broadcaster rights
In December of 2002, two paintings from Dutch master Vincent van Gogh — “View of the Sea at Scheveningen” and “Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen” — were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The thieves climbed onto the building’s roof, used a sledgehammer to break through a window, and absconded with the canvases in a matter of minutes. In this program, presenter and British art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon explores the theft, and investigates the shadowy underworld that tempts burglars to take such huge risks to steal artwork that can’t be sold or displayed in the open market.
View a clip here.

Partners: Panenka for VRT – Éen; distributed by Lineup Industries
Premiered: January 2018 (Belgium)
Length: 8 x 60 minutes
Rights available: Format and print rights worldwide excluding Benelux
Since the days of Lenny Bruce, comedy has often skirted along the edge of good taste and what is considered “fair game” for poking fun. But many subjects are still deemed too sensitive to be joked about. This Belgian series follows one of the country’s top comedians as he spends time with four people living with a similar disability, and then, using material crafted from his time spent with them, presents a live comedy show focused on his observations. Arriving at a time when opinions about practically anything are charged and polarized, this format asks viewers to risk being offended in order to explore deeper truths about ourselves — what separates us and what unites us.

Partners: National Geographic Studios and Public Road Productions for National Geographic; distributed by Fox Networks Group Content Distribution
Premiered: September 2017 (Toronto Intl. Film Festival)
Length: 1 x 120 minutes
Rights available: All rights, worldwide
It’s difficult to imagine that there are still lessons to be learned from Jane Goodall, a woman whose pioneering research with chimpanzees has been revered by scientists globally. But Brett Morgen’s Jane succeeds in showing a new side of the renowned primatologist. The doc
features more than 100 hours of never-before-seen 16 mm footage of Goodall’s first contact with the chimpanzees in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park. Morgen lovingly profiles Goodall’s research, her relationship with cameraman and husband Hugo van Lawick, and the chimpanzee community she holds so dear.

Partners: CJZ for SBS; distributed by TCB Media Rights
Premiered: January 2018 (Australia)
Length: 3 x 60 minutes
Rights available: Worldwide excluding Australia
It’s said that love knows no boundaries, and transcends geography, culture and belief systems. But as we’ve seen in stories since Romeo and Juliet, family approval for a romantic union can be of the utmost importance. This three-parter documents a diverse range of
Australian couples embarking on cross-cultural weddings, and the challenges that can emerge in bringing cultures — and families steeped in those cultures — together at the altar. Ultimately, the couples and their families need to work together to respect their differences, while also honoring the unifying force of love bringing them together… but is that easier said than done?

Partners: Hopping Pictures; distributed by Cargo Film & Releasing
Premiered: January 2018 (U.S.)
Length: 1 x 98 minutes
Rights available: Worldwide
It’s hard to think of an animal more entrenched within a national identity than the kangaroo. Enshrined within the Australian coat of arms, the mighty marsupial represents the wild and exotic nature of Australia to those of us in other countries. But in its home country, with its numbers higher than the human population residing there, the kangaroo is often regarded as a pest with the potential to do great damage to pastures used for livestock. This film explores the issue from various vantage points —from the farmers and commercial hunters who assert that a cull is necessary to protect Australia’s agricultural balance, to other farmers and activists determined to find a path towards co existence.
View a clip here.

Look for part two of Realscreen’s MIPTV Picks for 2018 tomorrow (Thursday, March 29)

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