Realscreen’s MIPCOM Picks 2018: Part 1

Variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes, and the range of topics and genres represented in the clips submitted to realscreen for consideration for this year’s MIPCOM ...
October 1, 2018

Variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes, and the range of topics and genres represented in the clips submitted to realscreen for consideration for this year’s MIPCOM Picks echoes that sentiment. From hilarious unscripted formats to hard-hitting exposés, and from breathtaking natural history to fresh takes on historical subjects, if our selections here are any indication, buyers will have a wealth of tantalizing projects to pick from in Cannes. Congrats to our Best in Show, which wins its submitting company a pass to the 2019 Realscreen Summit in New Orleans.


Partners: Little Monster Films, Itinerant Media, Parkes+MacDonald, Image Nation, National Geographic Documentary Films; distributed for broadcast by Fox Network Group Content Distribution
Length: 1 x 120 minutes
Premiered: Telluride Film Festival, 2018
Rights available: All broadcast rights, worldwide

Alex Honnold has made a career out of tempting fate, as one of the top rock climbers of recent times. But the challenge that he undertook in June of 2017 — a “free solo” climb of the 3,000-foot peaks of El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park — was well beyond his previous adventures. Filmmakers Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi — the team behind 2015′s mountaineering doc Meru  — followed Honnold for two years as he plotted the ascent. The film captures the painstaking preparation involved in attempting such a feat, while charting another significant development in the young climber’s life happening at the same time — the beginning of a romantic relationship. And of course, there’s the climb itself, conducted without ropes or any protective equipment. Free Solo provides viewers with breathtaking adventure that rivals any scripted thriller fare.


Partners: ARTE G.E.I.E., Interscience Film GmbH; distributed by ARTE Distribution; broadcast on ARTE G.E.I.E., MBC Al Arabiya
Length: 1 x 52 minutes
Aired: October 2018 (ARTE)
Rights available: All rights except theatrical, worldwide

Farah Diba Pahlavi made history as the first, and only, empress of Iran. Alongside her husband, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, she fled the country in 1979 as dissatisfaction with the Iranian monarchy led to pronounced volatility and violent protest, culminating in the Iranian Revolution. With access to the former monarch as well as her private film and photographic archive, this film explores the life of an empress in exile, following her in her adopted home of Paris, as well as to Cairo as she marks the anniversary of her husband’s death.

Partners: Mentorn Media for ITV; distributed by Passion Distribution
Length: 1 x 60 minutes
Aired: June 2018 (UK)
Rights available: All rights, worldwide

In June of last year, a 24-story tower block in West London was ravaged in a fire that took the lives of 72 and left hundreds homeless. Using news coverage as well as eyewitness footage captured on phones, and interviews with survivors and brave first responders, this one-hour doc explores one of the more tragic days in modern UK history, from the first flames to the moment that fire crews finally got the raging inferno under control.

Partners: Gary Glassman/Providence Pictures; distributed by PBS International
Length: 4 x 54 minutes
Premiered: October 2018 (PBS)
Rights available: All rights, worldwide

From Gary Glassman and his Providence Pictures, this comprehensive four-part series spans two continents to reveal the full geographic, cultural and spiritual tapestry of Native America. To depict the historical and ongoing impact of Native culture on the world at large, Glassman and his crew spent a year with various Native American communities to gain their trust for telling their stories. As a result, the team was able to capture many ceremonies never before put to film, including the Haudenosaunee Wampum Belt ceremony that represents the coming together of the five warring nations to form the first democracy in the Americas.

Partners: Like a Shot Entertainment; distributed by TCB Media Rights
Length: 6 x 60 minutes
Airing: October 2018 (UK)
Rights available: All rights worldwide, excluding UK

Part of the ‘Murder Mysteries’ docustrand, this series looks at numerous mysterious deaths that occurred during one of the darkest eras in human history. Using expert interviews, dramatic reconstruction and archive material, each stand-alone episode examines the true story behind some of the grisly tales surrounding the Nazi regime and its undoing, including the deaths of Hitler’s niece, Gebi Raubal; Hermann Goering, and others.

Partners: Zed, directed by Pascal Vasselin and Franck Cuveillier; distributed by Zed
Length: 1 x 52 minutes; 1 x 90 minutes
Airing: September 2019
Rights available: All worldwide for TV and VOD

How many times have you heard someone attempt to win an argument about a hot button issue — say, climate change or evolution — by throwing out two words, often accompanied by a mic drop motion: “Because… science!” Well, what about those times when the scientists — for myriad reasons — don’t agree with each other? From earlier, easier times for the tobacco industry, to today’s debates over climate change or the hazards of wireless technology, there are those who are happy to play the role of contrarian if circumstances call for it. But why, and how, do facts become flexible in some people’s hands? An important discussion for today — no doubt about it.

Partners: MY Entertainment for Reelz; distributed by DRG
Length: 4 x 60 minutes
Airing: 2019
Rights available: All rights, worldwide

How would you handle being related by blood to one of the most notorious murderers in history? It’s a very real truth for Jason Freeman, grandson of the late Charles Manson. This series provides unfiltered access to Freeman as he comes to grips with his background by attempting to better understand his grandfather. Viewers will hear phone conversations between Manson and Freeman while the former was serving out his life sentence, and see exclusive footage of Manson’s funeral. DRG commissioned and funded the series, which will make its debut on U.S. cable channel Reelz in 2019.

Partners: Bofa Productions, BBC, Creative Scotland; distributed by Dogwoof, NonStop, IWonder, Midas Filmes, AMA, A Contracorriente, Criterion, DDDream; broadcasters: BBC, FilmStruck, Channel 8 (Israel)
Length: 1 x 110 minutes
Premiered: Cannes, 2018
Rights available: World excluding U.S., UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, China, Scandinavia, Israel

Executive produced by Michael Moore and receiving a commendation of special distinction within the Cannes Film Festival’s Golden Eye Documentary Award program, this feature from Irish director Mark Cousins explores the life and work of the iconic cultural multi-hyphenate through a unique lens. Through Welles’ daughter, Beatrice, Cousins gained access to paintings, drawings and sketches by Welles stretching across decades, and numerous geographic haunts. And through those art works, Cousins draws connections between Welles’ innate creative nature, as magnified through his films, and his civic and political philosophies.

Partners: Blizzard Road Productions for ABC; distributed by ABC Commercial
Length: 13 x 30 minutes
Airing: TBD
Rights available: All rights, worldwide

Kwane Stewart is a veterinary doctor and passionate animal advocate. Serving as chief veterinary officer and national director of Humane Hollywood, and its “No Animals Were Harmed” program, Stewart is familiar with glitz and glamour. But in this series, he turns his attention to the pets beloved by those on the fringes of society — the homeless. While offering his services to help the pets of those who have fallen on tough circumstances, he also provides support to the men, women and families who depend on their pets to carry them through.

Partners: National Geographic Studios for Nat Geo Wild; distributed by Fox Network Group Content Distribution
Length: 1 x 120 minutes
Premiered: April 2018 (Tribeca Film Festival)
Rights available: All broadcast rights worldwide, excluding U.S.

Helmed by Neil Gelinas, this film follows a team of scientists and explorers as they traverse a river system that stretches across three countries and provides water to approximately one million people, the world’s largest population of African elephants, and great numbers of cheetahs, lions and bird species. Following Dr. Steve Boyes and his team as they journey through the Okavango’s source rivers in Angola, through Namibia and then into the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Gelinas and crew capture moments of rich natural beauty, as well as harrowing close calls faced by the team as it works to protect the river basin from the threats it is now facing.

Partners: Directed by Alyssa Fedele, Zachary Fink; distributed by ro*co films
Length: 1 x 82 minutes; 1 x 58 minutes
Premiered: April 2018 (San Francisco Film Festival)
Rights available: All rights, worldwide

Executive produced by Steve James (Hoop Dreams), this documentary brings the viewer into the shadowy world of child trafficking and modern slavery through the stories of children in Ghana, who have been rescued from a life of being slaves to fishermen. The film also explores the work of the organization behind the rescues — Challenging Heights, founded by James Kofi Annan, who escaped such circumstances himself as a youth. Highlighting the conditions that lead parents to sell their children into slavery, the doc also points toward the hard road to rehabilitation that needs to be taken once the rescues are made.

Look for part two of Realscreen’s MIPCOM Picks tomorrow (Oct. 2).

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.