Sky Documentaries unveils documentary shorts fund
Sky Documentaries has launched its first documentary shorts fund, which aims to champion directors from underrepresented backgrounds.
The fund, in partnership with APX Content Ventures, will offer up to £500,000 for several doc shorts with a runtime of 10 to 30 minutes. Creative talent from underrepresented groups who face barriers to opportunities due to physical and mental health or disability, as well as people from the Black, Asian and minority ethnic or traveler communities, will all be eligible for the grants.
A secondary goal of the fund is to support artistically ambitious work from a variety of genres. Commissioners will be looking for filmmakers who craft shorts that prioritize the story, are specific, engaging, and driven by a clear and original vision.
APX Content Ventures’ investment in the fund includes covering the costs associated with the production process for the successful candidates.
Entries for the initial round of funding must be submitted by July 17. However, the initiative will be accessible throughout the year, with more opportunities to apply to be announced in the fall.
ESC, Rogan, MultiChoice partner for true-crime doc Original Sin
UK prodcos Electric Shadow Company and Rogan Productions are teaming with African media company MultiChoice Studios to produce a new documentary project, Original Sin, about alleged murderer Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren, who is currently standing trial in Johannesburg, South Africa for the 2011 murder of his girlfriend Andrea Venter.
Using interviews with key players in the events, extensive personal archival materials and contemporary news footage, the doc will explore the events leading up to and subsequent fallout from Venter’s murder, who van Vuuren allegedly stabbed to death in full view of her neighbors, nearby security guards and a CCTV camera that captured the entire crime. Days before going on trial for Venter’s murder, van Vuuren fled to Brazil, where he hid under a series of false identities until he was ultimately tracked down, recaptured and returned to South Africa.
Currently in production, the project has initially been framed as a miniseries, with an option to reshape it as a feature documentary. John Gutierrez is directing, while Sarah Laita and Jay Taylor serve as producers for ESC and Mark Hedgecoe, James Rogan and Soleta Rogan for Rogan Productions. The doc is coproduced by ESC, Rogan and MultiChoice in association with Combined Artistic Productions and Red Earth.
Woodcut confirms international sales for standalone doc Fukushima: Nature in the Danger Zone
UK distributor Woodcut International has closed a number of international deals for Fukushima: Nature in the Danger Zone (1 x 60 min.), about the aftermath of the 2011 explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant that stands as the second-biggest nuclear accident in history.
Shot on location at the site of the explosion, the doc (pictured) explores how nature has staged a comeback in this now human-free zone, and studies how wildlife has learned to not only adapt, but thrive in this highly toxic environment.
Woodcut has confirmed sales of the doc to Discovery for both the U.S. and Southeast Asia; TG4 for Ireland; UKTV for the UK; and SBS for Australia.
“Our natural world always reminds us of its unpredictability and the devastating 2011 tsunami was no exception,” said Koulla Anastasi, commercial director of Woodcut International. “But despite the horrific destruction that took place, Mother Nature and wildlife always seem to find an incredible way to fight back. We are so pleased these high-profile broadcasters have acquired this unique special, and look forward to further announcements over the coming months.”
With files from Andrew Jeffrey