The sun has set on the idea of a hybrid version of one of the documentary industry’s mainstay events for this year.
Documentary conference Sunny Side of the Doc, held annually in La Rochelle, France every June, is once again moving to an online format due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Organizers said that plans for a hybrid event, featuring online accessibility and live conference element, needed to be shelved. Citing “the French government’s handling of the health crisis”, organizers also pointed to the acceleration of the mass vaccination rollout in France, which will utilize the event’s main venue space, the Espace Encan, in the timeframe set aside for the event.
Therefore, online passes for the 32nd annual edition will provide delegates with ” highly curated pitching sessions, access to decision makers who greenlight projects, targeted networking meetings and a comprehensive four-day conference programme that unlocks the transformative potential of storytelling in the streaming era.”
The Pixii Festival, which runs in tandem with Sunny Side and is dedicated to the intersection between immersive tech and documentary storytelling, could benefit from the re-opening of cultural venues expected for May, with local museums and other sites reaffirming their commitment to presenting content for the festival.
“Building on the remarkable success of the 2020 Connected Edition that led to new deals and [the] Global Pitch that helped impactful stories get off the ground, we remain absolutely committed to #StoryTellingMatters and will run a 2021 online marketplace through an expanded and optimized digital platform,” said Mathieu Béjot, director of strategy and development for Sunny Side of the Doc. “We want to believe in a better future, one carried by the optimism which lends its name to Sunny Side of the Doc. So we’re leaving the door open to invite the international documentary community to join us back to the docks in June for a more informal get-together if the situation improves by then. We are very much looking forward to celebrating the reopening of France’s cultural institutions on mid-May and meeting audiences again in the cultural venues of La Rochelle that will host the immersive exhibition of PiXii Festival’s fifth edition.”
Sunny Side of the Doc runs from June 21-24.