Realscreen’s MIPTV Picks 2018, part two

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 29, 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.

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

Partners: Mighty Productions for All 4; distributed by Armoza Formats
Premiered: October 2017 (UK)
Length: 8 x 15/30 minutes
Rights available: Worldwide, excluding the UK
Considering the past year through the lenses of the political and cultural temperament, the word “fractious” comes to mind. Thanks to social media, we have found new ways to argue with each other, and can now spew vitriol across continents in 280 characters. But sometimes, to get that satisfactory feeling of releaseā€¦ you just have to smash stuff. Enter Rage Room, a game show format that sees contestants vie for the chance to take out their aggression against whatever’s bugging them in a room specially designed with reminders and representations of their angst. Whether it’s the way your roommate chews his food, or the Instagram filter your best friend uses on her feed, in Rage Room, the best beef wins.

Partners: ARTE France, Le Cinquieme Reve, Andromede Oceanologie for ARTE France and National Geographic Wild
Premiering: 2018 (ARTE France, National Geographic Wild)
Length: 1 x 90 minutes; 1 x 44 minutes; 1 x 52 minutes
Rights available: DVD, SVOD, TV, Internet, non-theatrical rights worldwide
Sharks are often depicted as lone hunters, misunderstood and elusive, dangerous and deadly. As a result, they’re big business in the natural history genre. This project takes a deep dive into a Polynesian feeding frenzy involving close to 700 sharks in order to illustrate little-known truths about shark hunting behavior. Shot in 4K and using an arsenal of drones, high speed cameras and GoPro Black cameras for a Matrix-esque “bullet time” effect, this project should thrill any fan of “shark TV.”

Partners: Lolav Media and Ginestra Film, SK Production, with support from: The Swedish Film Institute, SVT, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Film Stockholm/ Filmbasen; ARTE GEIE, SVT, YLE, DR, BBC, VGTV, VPRO, VRT; UK distribution and international sales: Dogwoof; North America distribution: Cinetic Media
Premiered: November 2017 (IDFA)
Length: 1 x 83 minutes
Rights available: Worldwide excluding U.S., UK, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Germany
Winner of a special jury prize at IDFA, The Deminer chronicles the day-to-day work of Fakhir, a Kurdish father of eight serving with the Iraqi army as a deminer. Disabling landmines with a trusted pocket knife or his bare hands, each call to duty could be his last. Assembled from
hours of videos shot by the Colonel himself, The Deminer is a nail-biting depiction of the high stakes inherent within a war zone.

Partners: Osmosis Films; distributed by Off the Fence
Premiering: TBD
Length: 1 x 30 minutes
Rights available: Worldwide
Scientific research is providing increasing evidence that each of us is an ecosystem unto ourselves, housing a veritable universe of microscopic organisms within us. These microbiomes comprise more than 99% of the DNA within us, and between 50 to 90% of the cells in our bodies. As a result, they can tell us a potentially infinite amount more about why we are what we are. With commentary from some of the leading minds in microbiome research, this program provides a compelling look at what one scientist calls “a paradigm shift of our understanding of what’s actually going on inside our bodies.”

Partners: Firelight Films for PBS; distributed by PBS International
Premiered: 2017 (Sundance)
Length: 1 x 83 minutes
Rights available: All rights, worldwide
Award-winning documentary director Stanley Nelson (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution) brings the history of America’s historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to the screen in Tell Them We Are Rising. World premiering at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Nelson’s ninth documentary looks at how HBCUs for more than 150 years have shaped American history and culture, through a weaving of archive and first-person interviews. By showcasing the story of African Americans and their post-secondary educational experiences, audiences have the chance to glimpse at a history that has not been offered the spotlight and yet has had an immense impact on American life.

Partners: Sealight Pictures for CCTV10, SBS, Seven Network, SVT Sweden; distributed by Off the Fence
Premiered: January 2018 (Australia)
Length: 1 x 60 minutes
Rights available: Worldwide excluding China, Sweden and Australia
Prior to the adventure chronicled in this documentary, Australian environmental reporter Rachael Thornton had never been to sea. While some would prefer their first outing upon the open waves to be via a cruise ship, or perhaps a yacht, Thornton opted for an opportunity too good to pass up for a journalist — the chance to join the first major scientific mission of Ocean Dragon, China’s powerful manned submersible. She joins a crew that includes the world’s deepest diving female submersible pilot in a history-making, if dangerous, endeavor of discovery.

Partners: Soumik Datta Arts, Bagri Foundation, SD Films; broadcast on Channel 4 and 4OD; distributed by Earth Touch
Premiered: April 2017 (Channel 4)
Length: 6 x 30 minutes
Rights available: All rights, worldwide
Young British Indian composer Soumik Datta is renowned the world over as a virtuoso player of the sarod, a 19-string, fretless instrument with roots that spread across ancient Afghanistan and the India of colonial times. Having brought this classical instrument into the modern era, Datta continues to be absorbed by the histories behind ancient musical expression. In this series, the musician travels across rural India’s forests and villages to find those who are still performing traditional musical forms that are in danger of vanishing into silence.

Partners: True Vision for BBC2; distributed by Orange Smarty
Premiering: May 2018 (UK)
Length: 1 x 52 minutes
Rights available: Worldwide excluding the UK and Eire
In the spring of 2017, Japanese journalist Shiori Ito went public with rape allegations against one of Japan’s more prominent journalists, former Tokyo Broadcasting System Washington bureau chief Noriyuki Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi has denied the allegations and in 2016, prosecutors dropped the case, citing insufficient evidence. But after filing a civil suit and writing a book about her experience, Ito is continuing her efforts to break the deeply entrenched silence surrounding sexual assault in Japan. This program follows Ito as she explores the reasons behind the lack of reported rapes in Japanese society, and her personal reasons for challenging a status quo that keeps victims silent.
For more info, click here.

Partners: Yap Films for Smithsonian Channel (U.S.), CBC (Canada), France TV (France); distributed by Cineflix Rights
Premiered: January 2018
Length: 1 x 60 minutes
Rights available: Worldwide excluding the U.S., Canada and France
American archaeologists Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley have been investigating what’s known as the Solutrean Hypothesis for two decades. The theory states that people from Europe — specifically, regions now known as Spain and France — were the first humans to land on North America, across a sea of ice, some 20,000 years ago. It is a controversial position, with some scientists calling it dangerous, as it casts doubt on the more universally accepted theory that the first North Americans came from Asia, across a land bridge. This doc hears from both scientific sides of the argument, while following Stanford and Bradley as they explore what they believe to be new evidence pointing to the Solutreans.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.