A recorded message from Ken Loach, and in-person presentations from investigative journalist Paul Moreira and deep sea diver Laurent Ballesta galvanized Arte Distribution’s recent broadcaster pitch, giving buyers an extra jolt and leaving the doc specialized distributer grinning from ear to ear.
While the particulars of individual deals are still being worked out, Arte Distribution noticed a pronounced uptick in buyer interest and commitment at this year’s Unifrance Rendez-Vous in Paris – the first edition to feature a dedicated, two-day showcase for French TV. There, the doc-specialized distributor began negotiations in eight territories, fielding free-to-air and pay-TV offers from broadcasters in Portugal, U.K., Spain, Italy, Poland, Greece, Latvia and Germany.
Arte Distribution chief Florence Sala credits the uptick to the French TV Screenings’ loose presentation structure, which allotted nine audiovisual distributers a block of stage time before an industry audience, and allowed each outfit fill that stage time as best they saw fit.
For Arte, that meant welcoming onstage the very talent behind the films presented, with director Paul Moreira presenting his investigation into the surveillance state “In the Name of Law & Order,” renowned diver and subnautical photographer Laurent Ballesta presenting the deep sea exploration “The Mystery of the Med Rings” and a special video from Ken Loach – direct from the set of his own latest film – introducing the documentary “Ken Loach, the Art of Activism.”
“The people who actually create the films so rarely have the opportunity to present their work before buyers and international broadcasters,” says Florence Sala. “Our French TV Screening was a real success that has generated a lot of interest, and for me, the best part was to welcome the talents.”
Sala and team also presented “Nicole Kidman, Eyes Wide Open,” a documentary made with the participation of Lars von Trier, and screened excerpts from the contemporary history portrait “Thatcher’s Not Dead.” As much a biography as an evocation of Thatcherism, the film explores music and art from the period to better emphasize the turbulent social climate of the U.K. in the 1980s.
Rounding out their presentation slate, Arte also premiered 3D footage from the animated historical epic “The Joan of Arc Case” and walked attendees through “The Messenger RNA Revolutions,” a science title that tracks the single-stranded molecule of RNA from its discovery sixty years ago to recent use in a number of COVID vaccines.