Documentaries In Cannes

by Sydney Levine
June 2, 2010 6:00 AM
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The next three blogs concern documentaries which I hope helps those documentary filmmakers looking for financing.

The Documentary Brunch in its 3rd edition had 18 tables filled to capacity with guests of honor at each reading like a Whos' Who in Documentaries Today. People moved around as quickly possible to speak to as many people as possible. The food was superb at the Majestic and all in all it was such a great success that it will probably expand its activities next Cannes as a result. Organized by Jerome Paillard, the head of the Cannes Marche and Nicole Guillemet, it is a unique gathering place of filmmakers, producers, financiers, festivals and distributors internationally renowned in the documentary world. This event is a privileged moment during the Festival de Cannes celebrating documentary film. It offers a golden opportunity to network and share experience, expertise, craft and new creative ideas.

This year was particularly strong for documentaries, in the festival and in the market where many if not most international sales agents have added docs to their lineups.

The festival itself featured 11 documentaries and each of their producers and/ or directors had a place of honor at one of the 18 tables. On the financial crisis: Charles Ferguson's INSIDE JOB, Jean-Stephane Bron's CLEVELAND VERSUS WALL STREET, Lucy Walker's COUNTDOWN TO ZERO♀ in Official Selection about the escalating nuclear arms race; Janus Metz Pedersen's ARMARDILLO, named after a base in Afghanistan where soldiers from Denmark are fighting against the Taliban; and Sabina Guzzanti's DRAQUILA - ITALY TREMBLES (DRAQUILA - L'ITALIA CHE TREMA), ♀ which investigates the management of 2009 Aquila earthquake by the Berlusconi government, Patricio Guzmán's NOSTALGIA DE LA LUZ in Official Selection, Sophie Fiennes' OVER YOUR CITIES GRASS WILL GROW, ♀ Official Selection and the Rolling Stones THE STONES IN EXILE in Directors' Fortnight, Stig Björkman's BUT FILM IS MY MISTRESS, Cannes Classic. He is a filmmaker and film critic and this is Ingmar Bergman Foundation’s first documentary based on Bergman’s archive footage (Cannes Classics 2009), Frederick Wiseman's BOXING GYM, Directors’ Fortnight, Yves Chanvillard and Nadim Cheikhrouha, producers of BENDA BILLILI!, Directors’ Fortnight.

Here is the Who's Who. Apologies for my taking this verbatim from the Cannes Documentary Brunch brochure, but any documentary filmmaker, programmer, financier should know these people and the groups they represent.

Table 1

Dan Cogan is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Impact Partners, a fund and advisory service for investors and philanthropists who seek to promote social change through film. Since its inception less than three years ago, IP has been involved in the financing of over 25 films, including: The Cove, (2010 Oscars®), Freeheld, (2008 Oscars®) and The Garden (2009 Academy Award® nomination) and The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib (2007 Emmy Award). | USA |

Table 2

Patricio Guzmán | director, NOSTALGIA DE LA LUZ, Official Selection | He has dedicated his career to documentary film. In 1973-1979, he directed La Bataille du Chili, about Allende’s government. After Pinochet’s coup d’état, he was imprisoned and threatened with mock executions. In 1970’s, he moved to France where he made award-winning films, such as: La Mémoire obstinée, Le Cas Pinochet, Salvador Allende. In 2006-2010, he developed Nostalgia de la Luz, and 5 shorts about astronomy and historical memory. | Chile |

Table 3

Stig Björkman | director, BUT FILM IS MY MISTRESS, Cannes Classic | He is a filmmaker and filmcritic, directed Images from the Playground, Ingmar Bergman Foundation’s first documentary based on Bergman’s archive footage (Cannes Classics 2009). During his career, he has also been editor-in-chief of the Swedish film magazine Chaplin and has collaborated in Swedish daily papers and foreign film magazines. He has translated and subtitled about 300 films and published books on film. | Sweden |


Claude Joli-Coeur is Assistant Commissioner, Director of Business Affairs / Legal Services and Secretary to the Board at the National Film Board of Canada. As a public producer and distributor, the NFB has been breaking ground, for over 70 years, in socially engaged documentary and more. Having crafted over 12,000 productions, it won more than 5000 awards, including 12 Oscars® and over 90 Genies. Now, it is at the crossroads of innovation, bringing the NFB’s tradition of trailblazing to the multi-platform digital universe. | Canada |

Daniel Leconte | producer, CARLOS, Official Selection | He is the manager of Doc en Stock and Film en Stock. Among others, he has won the Albert Londres award. In the last 15 years, he produced 400 documentaries and also directed many major news stories and documentaries. As a producer of feature films, he is well known for Princesse Marie by Benoit Jacquot featuring Catherine Deneuve. Also he produced and directed C’est dur d’être aimé par des cons (Official Selection – Cannes 2007). | France |

Michel Reilhac is executive director of ARTE France Cinéma and head of film acquisitions at ARTE France. In 1998 he directed All Alike, his first documentary. With his French production company Mélange he produced Cry Woman by Chinese director Liu Bing Jian (Un Certain Regard), 7 days, 7 nights by Cuban director Joel Cano, and The Good Old Naughty Days (Directors’ Fortnight) which he also directed. Arte is involved in 23 films at Cannes 2010. | France |

Table 4

Sophie Fiennes ♀ | director, OVER YOUR CITIES GRASS WILL GROW, Official Selection | She started to work with Peter Greenaway, then with choreographer Michael Clark. She has directed The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema and is developing The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology in collaboration with radical thinker Slavoj Zizek. Her next projects include Grace Jones, the Musical of my Life, a marathon digital-video feature. She won a NESTA fellowship in 2000 and ARTE France Award (Rotterdam Cinemart 2008). | United Kingdom |

Emilie Blézat ♀ | producer, OVER YOUR CITIES GRASS WILL GROW, Official Selection | She founded SCIAPODE in 2003 to produce films by European artists and to bring to cinema new skills in dramaturgy, narrative and visual story telling. Latest productions include Over your Cities Grass will Grow by Sophie Fiennes ♀ and Fleurs du Mal by David Dusa (Acid 2010). | France |

Table 5

Stephen Kijak | director, STONES IN EXILE, Directors’ Fortnight | He wrote, directed and produced his debut feature film Never Met Picasso in 1996. The acclaimed documentary Cinemania followed in 2002 (co-directed and produced with Angela Christlieb). In 2007, his documentary Scott Walker – 30 Century Man became one of the most critically acclaimed documentaries released in the UK that year. Executive produced by David Bowie, the film has been released and broadcast internationally. | United Kingdom |

Javiera Undurraga ♀ is the co-founder and director of 7th In-Edit Chile International Music Documentary Film Festival in Santiago. She is also a co-founder of Catchil Productions, which promotes independent Chilean films in Europe and vice-versa. Javiera started her career in MTV Latino in Miami, Florida, in the department of artistic relations and acquisition of videos. Therefore, she has experience in show business, multimedia and audiovisual production. | Chile |

Table 6

John Battsek | producer, STONES IN EXILE, Directors’ Fortnight | He conceived and produced Passion Pictures’ first feature documentary, One Day in September (Oscars® and Emmy in 2000). John has since accrued a slate of over twenty acclaimed documentary films such as Once in a Lifetime, Black Sun, In the Shadow of the Moon, My Kid Could Paint and Sergio. Sundance 2010 saw the premiere of two new films: Restrepo (Grand Jury Prize) and The Tillman Story, acquired by The Weinstein Company. | United Kingdom |


Tine Fischer ♀ founded and is managing CPH:DOX – one of Europe’s leading documentary film events. In 2006, she created the distribution company DOX-ON-WHEELS and in 2008, she launched a new European documentary VoD-platform Doc Alliance, together with four key European film festivals. For the last 10 years, she is co-owner of the leading Scandinavian art gallery Andersen’s Contemporary. In 2009 she graduated from EAVE and is currently developing a number of feature documentaries.

| Denmark |

Victoria Pearman ♀ | producer, STONES IN EXILE, Directors’ Fortnight | She formed Jagged Films with Mick Jagger, and has produced Enigma, the remake of The Women and Shine A Light by Martin Scorsese. She has also produced the documentary Being Mick, the Rolling Stones documentary Tip Of The Tongue, and Executive Produced Knights of Prosperity. She is overseeing the development of Jagged Films’ highly original slate of projects including The Long Play to be directed by Martin Scorsese. | United Kingdom |

Patricia Boutinard-Rouelle ♀ is the General Director of Documentaries of the France Télévisions Group (France 2 – France 3 – France 4 – France 5) since 2009. She has been working at France Télévisions since 1994 in various high-level positions within the documentary units of the Group. | France |

Yves Jeanneau is the founder and General Commissioner of Sunny Side of the Doc, Asian and Latin Side of the Doc. He also created Sunny Lab dedicated to transmedia training. He cofounded and was General Director of Les Films d’Ici (1984-2000) and he headed the Documentary Unit of France 2 (2001-2005). Since 2006, he is producing documentaries within Telfrance Group. His producers’ credits include award-winning films such as Un Coupable Idéal by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade (Oscars® 2002). | France |


Table 7

Catherine Le Clef ♀ says, about the kind of docs CAT&Docs, is looking for: “Pertinent and impertinent documentaries is what I want”. She set up her new documentary sales company in Paris last autumn after leaving Fortissimo Films where she was head of TV and Ancillary Sales. Following stints at Films Transit and Doc & Co., she has already assembled a formidable slate of award winning docs. CAT&Docs is run by Le Clef along with her partner, Maelle Guenegues ♀. | France |

Table 8

Rithy Panh | director, GIBIER D’ELEVAGE, L’Atelier | He wrote and directed numerous award-winning documentaries and fiction films such as Site 2, Rice People and S-21, The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine. He has developed Bophana, with director Ieu Pannakar: an audiovisual center, in Cambodia, to preserve the country’s film, photographic and audio history. He is also the author of La Machine de mort Khmère Rouge, with Christine Chaumeau ♀ and Le Papier ne peut pas envelopper la braise. | France - Cambodia |

Catherine Dussart ♀ | producer, GIBIER D’ELEVAGE, L’Atelier | After studying management, she entered the film industry and worked actively as a publicist. In 1994, she founded her production company CDP. She has produced an array of short films, features, documentaries and television programs that won a host of prizes at international film festivals. Among others: Un barrage contre le Pacifique (Sea Wall) with Isabelle Huppert.
| France |

Table 9

Sergei Loznitsa | director, MY JOY, Official Selection | Born in USSR, he graduated from the Kiev Polytechnic with a degree in Applied Mathematics. In 1987-1991 he worked on artificial ligence research at the Kiev Institute of Cybernetics. He has been also translator from Japanese. In 1997, he graduated from the Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK). In 2000 – 2008, he worked at the St. Petersburg Documentary Film Studio. Since 2001, he lives in Germany with his family. | Ukraine |

Heino Deckert | producer, MY JOY, Official Selection | He is producer and managing director of ma. ja.de. Filmproduktion, holds a share in Blinker Filmproduktion and runs Deckert Distribution, specialized in documentaries. He produced more than 50 award-winning documentaries. His latest co-produced documentary Rabbit á la Berlin by Bartek Konopka got nominated for the Academy Awards 2010. He is producing the new film of Victor Kossakowsky Vivan Las Antipodes. | Germany |

Table 10

Jeff Deutchman recently directed 11/4/08 a feature documentary consisting of footage shot all over the world on the day Obama was elected. The film had its world premiere at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival. Also, as Acquisitions Manager for IFC Entertainment, he has acquired films by some of today’s most acclaimed young filmmakers, including Kim Ji-woon, Josh & Benny Safdie, Don Argott, Corneliu Porumboiu, Antonio Campos, Lee Chang-dong, Barry Jenkins, Lynn Shelton and Hong Sang-soo. | USA |

Ronnie Fridthjof | producer, ARMADILLO, Critic’s Week | He was recently named one of the most influential producers in Denmark under the age of 40 by the magazine ARENA. He founded Fridthjof Film in 2000 - a company that today engages more than 40 employees. He produced Take The Trash and The Christmas Party which were two of the most earning Danish features in 2008 & 2009. He has also produced multiple price winning documentaries. | Denmark |

Table 11

Philippa Kowarsky ♀ has worked in film and television since 1993, in production, development and sales. In 1997 she created Cinephil, a sales and co-production company, home to independent Israeli, Palestinian and international productions, and a contact for co-productions. Projects include Defamation by Yoav Shamir, A Film Unfinished by Yael Hersonski ♀, and Years of Blood by Dan Setton. Also, Cinephil exclusively represents the documentary films by Amos Gitai. | Israël |

Table 12

Frederick Wiseman | director, BOXING GYM, Directors’ Fortnight | He has made 36 documentaries and 2 fiction films. Among his documentaries are Titicut Follies, Welfare, Public Housing, Near Death, and La Danse—Le Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris. He has won numerous awards (Three Emmys, a MacArthur Prize Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship…). His films have been released and broadcast internationally. He has also directed theatre plays, notably at the Comédie Française. | USA |


John Cooper is the Director of the Sundance Film Festival. He has been a member of the programming staff since 1989 and has served as the Director of Creative Development for Sundance Institute and the Director of Programming of the Sundance Film Festival since 2003. In the early years, Cooper created the short film program at the festival and has worked extensively with the Sundance Institute’s Online projects, Sundance Institute at BAM, as well as the Sundance Film Festival in Tokyo. | USA |

Amir Labaki is a Brazilian film critic and curator based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is the founder and director of Its All True International Documentary Film Festival, a leading event exclusively devoted to non-fictional cinema in South America. He is the author of 11 books on Cinema and History and the director of the feature documentary 27 Scenes About Jorgen Leth (2009). His first play, Lenya, premiered in 2007. Since 2002, he is also a member of the board of IDFA. | Brazil |

Nino Kirtadze ♀, born in Georgia, director and actress, was a consultant to the Georgian president and as a journalist covered armed conflicts in the Caucasus. She was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Chief in Love by Nana Djordjadze. Living in France since 1997, she worked with Peter Brook, Josée Dayan...Her documentaries have won prestigious prizes and brought her worldwide recognition (Chechen Lullaby, Un dragon dans les eaux pures du Caucase, ...). Her latest film Something about Georgia won Idée Suisse Prize in Visions du Réel 2010. | Georgia - France |

Joslyn Barnes ♀ founded Louverture Films with actor Danny Glover and has produced or executive produced many films such as the award-winning Bamako, Salt of this Sea, Trouble the Water (Academy Award® nominated), Soundtrack for a Revolution (Academy Award® shortlisted) and the forthcoming Dum Maro Dum. She associate produced Elia Suleiman’s The Time That Remains (Official Selection 2009) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives in competition in Cannes 2010. | USA |

Daniela Elstner ♀ | world sales, BOXING GYM, Directors’ Fortnight | She is the Managing Director of Doc & Film International, founded in 1996, to handle international sales for documentaries and feature films, guaranteeing the highest possible international visibility, by calling on an extensive worldwide network of movie distributors, TV channels, DVD publishers and VOD operators. The company’s catalogue includes its shareholders’ productions and those of outside producers. | France |

Yves Chanvillard and Nadim Cheikhrouha | producers, BENDA BILLILI!, Directors’ Fortnight | They head MEDIA DEVELOPPEMENT, an independent audiovisual group encompassing three production companies: Screenrunner (film), Doc & Doc (TV documentaries) and JADE (TV fiction). After Benda Bilili!, which is opening the Directors’ Fortnight, they are in pre-production of Would you ?, the next documentary by Yolande Zauberman ♀. | France |

Thom Powers is the documentary programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival. He is also the Artistic Director of the new festival DOC NYC and the Stranger Than Fiction series in New York City. He has directed documentaries for HBO, PBS and other outlets. He co-founded the Cinema Eye Honors and the Garrett Scott Development Grant. | USA - Canada |


Table 13

Elena Subirà i Roca ♀, is the Head of the Audiovisual Management Area of Parallel 40, an area formed by the departments of Documentary Distribution, of Festival Management and of the Film Commission management. She’s also the Executive Producer of the DocsBarcelona Film Festival, its Pitching Forum and Memorimage 2009, an international festival devoted to films with archival footage. | Spain |

Anaïs Clanet ♀ is the Head of Sales and Acquisitions at Wide Management where she oversees the sales department for fiction and documentaries. Documentaries are an important part of Wide’s catalogue which includes acclaimed titles such as Her Name is Sabine sold in more than 20 territories. With Loïc Magneron, she opened this spring an independent documentary structure called Wide House which will be focused on the sales of documentaries. | France |

Table 14

Renaud Barret and Florent de La Tullaye | directors, BENDA BILLILI! , Directors’ Fortnight | Renaud Barret began his career as a graphic designer and Florent de La Tullaye as a photographer. They decided to make documentaries together, with a special interest in the urban cultures of African capitals. They also produced some musicians they met, to reveal new talents and develop sponsorships with African producers. They are now preparing Pygmy Blues produced by Doc & Doc. | France |

Table 15

Peter Jäger, together with Austrian production companies, has founded and became Managing Director of Autlook Filmsales, a sales agent based in Vienna, Austria. Feature documentaries like The Sound of Insects – Record of a Mummy, Our Daily Bread, Echoes Of Home and Blind Loves were sold worldwide to theatrical distributors. Selecting around 25 TVdocs a year and up to six feature documentaries with international theatrical/DVD potential. | Austria |

Table 16

Lucy Walker ♀ | director, COUNTDOWN TO ZERO, Official Selection | She grew up in London and attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a Fulbright Scholarship. Her first documentary, Devil’s Playground, premiered at Sundance and was nominated for three Emmy Awards, including Best Directing. Her filmography includes Wasteland (Sundance 2010), Blindsight (Audience Award at Berlinale) and Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues, for which she was twice nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Direction in a Children’s Series. | United Kingdom |

Table 17

Jean-Stéphane Bron | director, CLEVELAND VS. WALL STREET, Directors’ Fortnight | Born in 1969, he graduated from the School of Fine and Applied Arts of Lausanne. After Known to Our Departments and The Way I Look at You, he directed for his first theatrical release Corn in Parliament, among the biggest hits in Swiss cinema. His documentaries have been awarded in Europe and the USA. In 2006, he made My Brother Is Getting Married, his first fiction film. | France |

Table 18

Ally Derks ♀ is the director of the International Documentary Film festival of Amsterdam (IDFA), which she started with help of the Netherlands film Institute, in 1988. She is also director and head of the selection committee of the Jan Vrijman Fund, a fund that supports documentary filmmakers in developing countries. She took and takes part in a lot of different congresses and seminars around the world that concern the documentary business. | The Netherlands |

Sara Stockmann ♀ | producer, ARMADILLO, Critic’s Week | She is producer and head of the newly launched documentary division Fridthjof Film Doc, which is focused on high end, director driven documentaries for a broad international audience. Sara is Producer on Armadillo (Critic’s Week, Cannes 2010) and Tankograd (In competition Hotdoc 2010). She comes from a background as Head of Distribution at Angel Films (1998-2005) and producer at Barok Film (2005-2009). | Denmark |


Alexandra Galvis ♀ is the head of Parallel 40 Sur, the Latin American branch based in Chile of Parallel 40. It is leading different initiatives for training, distribution, management, production and festivals, all in the documentary field. Notably, it is organizing “The Documentary of the Month for Latin America”, premiering theatrically and non theatrically 12 feature documentaries a year in over 40 cities in Spain, Chile and Argentina. | Chile |

Hussain Currimbhoy has been the film programmer of Sheffield Doc/Fest since 2008. It is the biggest international documentary event in the UK, hosting a market, film programme, cross-media summit and extensive session programme dedicated to promoting the art and business of documentary film. Doc/Fest screens over 120 documentary films each year and is accepting film submissions until June 2010. | United Kingdom |

Djo Tunda Wa Munga, born in Kinshasa, studied film in Belgium. After a few years in Europe, he went back to Congo to direct and produce documentaries. He created the first production company in the country, SUKA!. He directed the acclaimed documentary State of Mind and produced Congo in Four Acts. He is finishing Viva Riva, an international co-production with Canal Plus. At the 2010 MIPTV, he was selected as the African Trailblazer of the year. | Democratic Republic of Congo |

Peter Liechti, filmmaker and producer, also works as cameraman. Since 1984 he has directed more than 15 films, including fictions. All his films have been invited to international festivals and were released theatrically. His recent documentary The Sound of Insects – Record of a Mummy is a stunning film essay with a fictional text based upon a true event. Among seven awards and nominations, the film received the European Documentary Film Award, Prix ARTE. | Switzerland |

Diane Weyermann ♀ | producer, COUNTDOWN TO ZERO, Official Selection | She is the Executive Vice President of Documentary Films Production for Participant Media. Recent projects include Angels in the Dust, Darfur Now, Food, Inc and the Oscar®winning An Inconvenient Truth. Before, she was the Director of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program where she was responsible for the Sundance Documentary Fund and involved with the production of over 300 documentaries. | USA |

Jason Kliot is an Academy Award® nominated producer with credits for over 40 feature films by such acclaimed directors as Jim Jarmusch, Brian De Palma, Steven Soderbergh... He has produced innovative works by first time filmmakers while championing the distinctive visions of established directors, as well as award-winning theatrical documentaries. He is the co-founder of Open City Films, Blow Up Pictures and HDNetFilms which he co-founded with Joana Vicente, Marc Cuban and Todd Wagner. | USA |

Janus Metz | director, ARMADILLO, Critic’s Week | He had his breakthrough as a director with his two films: Love on Delivery and Ticket to Paradise. He won numerous awards including Silver Wolf Nominee at IDFA, HBO emerging filmmaker at Full Frame, Special mention at CPH:DOX. His films have been broadcast all over Europe. Graduated in Communications and International Development Studies, he regularly writes on documentary film and development issues. | Denmark |



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