Realscreen’s MIPCOM Picks, part two

Just in time for the market, Realscreen‘s editorial team has selected several projects heading to MIPCOM that should be on your radar. For part one of this year’s picks, click ...
September 30, 2019

Just in time for the market, Realscreen‘s editorial team has selected several projects heading to MIPCOM that should be on your radar. For part one of this year’s picks, click here.

Partners: Atlantic Productions for ITV; distributed by ITV Studios Global Entertainment
Length/volume: 2 x 60 minutes
Premiered: July 2019 (ITV)
Rights available: Contact ITVSGE
At the age of 84, Dame Judi Dench is a veritable legend of stage and screen. She is also a passionate lover of nature and the animal kingdom. In this program, it’s the latter aspect of her personality that comes to the fore, as she visits the Borneo rainforests, and is introduced to the myriad creatures great and small within this incredible habitat. Accompanied by her longtime partner (or “my chap,” as she refers to him), conservationist David Mills, and discussing both the natural magic and the troubling dangers facing the rainforests today with scientists and experts, the two-parter is a revealing look at two of the world’s great wonders… Borneo and Dench.

Partners: Campfilm, Ltd., The Symptoms; distributed by ro*co films international
Length: 1 x 83 minutes
Premiered: August 2019 (Locarno Film Festival)
Rights available: All rights available in all territories excluding theatrical rights in Hungary
It is hard for many of us to comprehend the depth of suffering that was the Holocaust. For Éva Fahidi, it was all too real. At the age of 20, she returned to her home in Hungary from Auschwitz-Birkenau, with 49 members of her family murdered, including her mother, her father and little sister. After reading her memoir, choreographer and director Réka Szabó approached Fahidi, also a dancer, to create a work based on her life story. This film documents the preparation of the piece, as well as the relationship between the 90-year-old Fahidi, Szabó and dancer Emese Cuhorka. Candid interviews with Fahidi also provide additional perspective.

Partners: Impossible Factual in association with PBS and ZDF Enterprises; distributed internationally by ZDF Enterprises
Length: 3 x 50 minutes
Premiered: July 2019 (PBS)
Rights available: All rights, all media outside North America
From the moment we as a species were first able to point to the sky and marvel at what we saw, the Great Beyond has been a source of mystery and wonder. From mythmakers to scientists, the open skies have entranced and befuddled human beings for millennia. This three-part series traverses history and science with the help of expert testimony and captivating CGI, revealing how humanity has interpreted the cosmos over the course of its history, and how our earliest ideas of what lies above informed what we know today.

Partners: Wild Bear Entertainment; distributed by Passion Distribution
Length: 6 x 60 minutes
Premiering: TBC
Rights available: Worldwide
In our modern day existence, we are prone to taking many things for granted, including the many engineering miracles that we engage with on a daily basis. While many factual series shine the spotlight on some of those, particularly the towering skyscrapers that form our skylines, this series highlights the creations that seem to conquer nature and gravity — the world’s most amazing bridges. Here, you’ll learn more about the stories behind these incredible feats of engineering, and the teams that turned them into reality.

Partners: HHMI Tangled Bank Studios for PBS; distributed by PBS International
Length: 1 x 60 minutes, 1 x 84 minutes
Premiering: October 2019 (PBS)
Rights available: Worldwide, all media
In the 1960s, five scientists — Tony Sinclair, Mary E. Power, Bob Paine, John Terborgh, and Jim Estes — set out to some of the most remote places on Earth to discover more about the workings of nature. From the Serengeti to the Arctic Ocean and several incredible natural vistas between, the scientists unearthed valuable discoveries, such as the importance of what are called “keystone” species, that have given us a far better understanding of the adaptability and increasing fragility of our ecosystems. Here, we learn more about their work, their findings, and the significance of those in the present day, in the midst of the ecological challenges we face.

Partners: Alaska Productions for A+E Networks; distributed by A+E Networks
Length/volume: 8 x 60 minutes
Premiering: October 2019 (A+E UK)
Rights available: Worldwide
Hosted by British actor Damian Lewis (Billions, Homeland), this series delves deep into some of the most intriguing spy stories in the world of espionage. Shot on location in London, Moscow and Israel, and utilizing expert interviews and first-person recollections as well as docudrama-style reenactments, Spy Wars lifts the veil on several exciting instances of dangerous derring-do, from the Cold War era to recent examples of counter-terrorism.

Partners: Curve Media; distributed by TCB Media Rights
Length/volume: 8 x 60 minutes
Premiering: TBD
Rights available: Worldwide
Engineering-oriented programming, with its focus on constructed marvels from around the world, can travel well. This series, not to be confused with the program that aired on Discovery at the turn of the 2000s, packages three such stories per episode, dissecting spectacular marriages of science, architecture and engineering from across the globe. Broadcasters signing on so far include Welt in Germany and BBC Worldwide for CEE, the Nordics, Africa and Asia.

Partners: Zed and CCTV-9; distributed by Zed
Length/volume: 5 x 52 minutes; 4K
Premiering: Early 2020
Rights available: Worldwide excluding China
The vast wild spaces of China are home to scores of incredible yet elusive animal species; iconic specimens with ranges of behavior rarely captured by natural history film crews. This French/Chinese copro boasts breathtaking photography and spectacular vistas and focuses on several such creatures: among them, the Tibetan blue bear and antelope, the Siberian tiger, the giant panda, and first in the series, the snow leopard. Shot over three years in 4K and directed by Frédéric Larrey, the first episode of five will be delivered in early 2020.

Partners: Pinay Pictures; distributed internationally by MetFilm Sales
Length: 1 x 85 minutes
Premiered: June 2019 (AFI Docs)
Rights available: World excluding U.S., Taiwan and South East Asia
The small, Midwestern American city of Boise, Idaho, serves as the unofficial, and unregulated, surrogacy capital of the U.S., with as many as one of 15 women opting to have babies for other people. This film follows four women who have made that choice, and through their stories and those of the parents to be, documents the challenges and complexities that are part of the process. Made in Boise also shines a light on the growing demand that is propelling the surrogacy industry.

Partners: Blink Entertainment for Smithsonian Networks; distributed by Off the Fence
Length/volume: 10 x 60 minutes
Premiered: April 2019 (Smithsonian Channel)
Rights available: Worldwide excluding North America
Ice age shamans, Druids, demons and witches, oh my! British TV presenter, comedian and barrister Clive Anderson and anthropologist and factual TV presenter Mary-Ann Ochata embark on a journey through time to uncover England’s mystical secrets. Touring through various British locales, the intrepid duo discovers fascinating facts about England’s hidden occult history, from human sacrifices to mummification. And of course, a trip to Stonehenge is in order as well.

Partners: Keshet Productions for ITV2
Length: 15 x 60 minutes (format)
Premiered: September 2019 (ITV2)
Rights available: Worldwide
There have been several interesting variations on the tried and true dating format, and this is certainly one of them. Here, couples in established relationships call time on their togetherness for the length of a summer, during which the partners will indulge in the single life. By the end of the series, the partners on pause will have to decide whether they want to return to their relationships, or put an end to their union once and for all.

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.