Docs

People, places and politics: Realscreen’s MIPCOM Picks, pt. 3

While travel is hampered by the pandemic, programming is still traveling globally, and the annual MIPCOM conference is a prime opportunity to see content on the move. From social issues ...
September 30, 2021

While travel is hampered by the pandemic, programming is still traveling globally, and the annual MIPCOM conference is a prime opportunity to see content on the move. From social issues to true crime, and from blue-chip natural history to archive-led documentary, there’s a wealth of great stuff in the mix this spring, as seen here. As usual, our editorial team screened scores of programming clips to arrive at this list, which will appear here throughout this week, as well as in our September/October print issue, available now. Here’s Part 3 of this year’s selections — for Part 1, click here, and for Part 2, click here.

LAST WINTER OF THE TSAATAN
Partners: Sable Rouge for ARTE France; distributed by Zed
Length: 52 minutes
Airing: October 2021
Rights available: Worldwide
In Northern Mongolia, an Indigenous tribe faces an unprecedented challenge to its way of life, established over thousands of years. This nomadic, reindeer herding community is under pressure from the Mongolian government to send its children to school from the age of six. Parents, therefore, face the decision of retaining their livelihood and traditions, or gambling on steering their children into a new, different future. This film, directed by Pierre Da Silva & Hervé Bouchaud, follows one family as it grapples with this new reality, as well as the challenges ever-present in their current world.

RED ELVIS
Partners: Talos Films and Sky Studios in association with Curiosity Studios for Sky Documentaries and NOW
Length: 90 minutes
Premiering: November 2021
Rights available: EMEA/Asia excl. Sky territories (UK, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria)
While he might not have been a household name in North America, in the Soviet Bloc during the Cold War, singer-actor Dean Reed was an icon. Growing more disillusioned with American foreign policy and by a career that was stalling Stateside, the handsome would-be pop star from Denver, Colorado found an audience in South America, and spent considerable time in Chile and Argentina, hobnobbing with such cultural giants as Pablo Neruda and Victor Jara. Eventually, he made his way to East Germany, and became the biggest pop star behind the Iron Curtain. His death under mysterious circumstances in 1986 added a tragic twist to an already fascinating story. This project features exclusive access to Reed’s friends and family, as well as a trove of archive.

THERE ARE NO FAKES
Partners: Cave 7 Productions, distributed internationally by CBC and Radio Canada Distribution
Length: 1 x 114 minutes
Premiered: April 2019 (Hot Docs)
Rights available: World excluding English Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK and U.S.
When internationally renowned musician Kevin Hearn purchased a painting by iconic Indigenous artist Norval Morrisseau, and subsequently was told it was a forgery, he sued the gallery from which he purchased it. But beyond the lawsuit, the experience prompted a wider investigation into the murky world of art fraud, and the troubling reality of exploitation and appropriation of Indigenous culture. From filmmaker Jamie Kastner, this doc offers up intriguing twists and turns as it explores these issues.
To see the trailer, click here.

CHANGING THE GAME
Partners: SuperFilms!; distributed by Hulu (U.S.), Principal Media (International)
Length: 88 minutes
Premiered: 2019
Rights available: Worldwide excluding the U.S. and territories
From filmmaker Michael Barnett (Superheroes) comes this exploration of what has emerged as an explosive issue in sports and, to a larger degree, our society — inclusion for transgender athletes. Having run on the festival circuit for the last couple of years and now airing in the U.S. via Hulu, the film follows three teens as they navigate their sporting lives and their journeys as trans kids, illustrating the obstacles they’ve faced and the battles won in fighting for the right to compete.

MY CHILDHOOD, MY COUNTRY: 20 YEARS IN AFGHANISTAN
Partners: Seventh Art Productions in association with ARTE and WDR; distributed internationally for TV and digital by Bomanbridge Media
Length: 1 x 90 minutes; 1 x 60 minutes
Key channel premieres: ITV, SBS Australia
Rights available: All rights worldwide
In this timely documentary, filmmakers Phil Grabsky and Shoaib Sharifi encapsulate the experiences of a young male growing up in one of the most volatile places on Earth, Afghanistan. Filmed over 20 years, the project follows Mir, whom we are introduced to at the tender age of seven, and who grows up to become a news cameraman operating out of Kabul. Through his perspective, we are given a riveting personal window into two tumultuous decades of conflict, and gain a sense of the challenges that still lie ahead.

OSPREY: SEA RAPTOR
Partners: A Love Nature and The WNET Group production in association with CosmoVision; distributed by Blue Ant International
Length: 60 minutes
Premiering: PBS in the U.S., Love Nature linear and streaming outside of U.S. and UK, Sky Nature in the UK
Rights available: Outside of commissioning territories; contact Blue Ant Intl. for more information
Narrated with impressive gravitas by actor Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones), this cinematic, blue-chip doc follows a pair of osprey — a lifelong couple — as they reunite in an American wetland to raise their young after traversing continents. Cameras capture the action of their mind-boggling migrations, their return to reconstruct their nest, their awe-inspiring hunts and more.

CHERNOBYL 86
Partners: Top Hat, in association with Sky Studios; distributed by Sky Studios
Length: 1 x 90 minutes
Airing: February/March 2022
Rights available: Worldwide excl. Sky territories (UK, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria)
From director James Jones, helmer of acclaimed docs like On the President’s Orders and Mosul, comes this exhaustive account of the events of April 26, 1986 — the date of the most significant nuclear accident in history. On that Saturday, a safety test conducted on the No. 4 reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in what was then known as Soviet Ukraine, went badly wrong, resulting in the destruction of the reactor building and considerable radioactive contamination impacting the USSR and parts of Western Europe. Using newly discovered archive, Jones and his team paint a chilling picture of this historic disaster and its aftermath.

This story first appeared in the September/October 2021 issue of Realscreen Magazine, which is out now. Not a subscriber? Click here for more information.

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 HMV.com. 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.

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