Sunny Side Science pitch: Unconventional Gardeners by Alessandro Bernard and Paolo Ceretto

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BDE takes a closer look at one of the buzziest projects pitched in the Science section of Sunny Side of the Doc 2024 as seasoned producer Massimo Arvat unpacks the core themes and features of his new project Unconventional Gardeners, helmed by Alessandro Bernard and Paolo Ceretto. The feature is being produced by Italy’s Zenit Arti Audiovisive and Germany’s Dirk Manthey Film with backing from Italy’s Ministry of Culture, the Piemonte Doc Film Fund and the Trentino Film Commission.

Sunny Side History pitch: How to Stop a War by Frankie Fenton

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At Sunny Side of the Doc 2024, Business Doc Europe caught up with Frankie Fenton, director of the feature-length project How to Stop a War. Fenton’s latest effort will be pitched in the History strand of the French industry event on June 27. During our chat, Fenton touched on the project’s inception, its visual look and style and the timely themes it tackles.

Sunny Side Arts pitch: Edgar Hilsenrath – The Masturbator by François-Xavier Destors

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Business Doc Europe speaks to Clara Vuillermoz, producer at Paris-based outfit Solent Production about François-Xavier Destors’ bold feature-length doc project Edgar Hilsenrath – The Masturbator, which showcases June 25. “At La Rochelle, we expect to put the project on the map for securing co-producers, broadcasters and a sales agent,” says Vuillermoz.

Sunny Side interview: Liz Gibbons, Exec Editor, BBC World Service Long Form Docs

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Liz Gibbons will sit alongside fellow Beeb commissioners in La Rochelle on a panel named Meet the Execs (Tues 25 June 4pm), during which the BBC toppers will give Sunny Side delegates an insight into just how and why they greenlight films and programmes. The execs will also talk about their perspectives on co-production and acquisitions. Gibbons explains more to BDE.

Sunny Side interview: Richard Huddleston, Head of Doc at Screen Australia 

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Since his appointment as Head of Documentary at Screen Australia in January, Richard Huddleston has been relishing the opportunity to act as “chief cheerleader” for the sector. “It has been fascinating; it has been rewarding; it has been challenging. Above all, being head of documentary filmmaking at a national funding agency, it’s an absolute privilege,” he tells BDE.

Second year of Ex Oriente Series kick-off at Sunny Side

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For the second year the 3-part Ex Oriente Series programme, dedicated to developing and supporting innovative docuseries projects from Central and Eastern Europe, kicks off at Sunny Side of the Doc. Six projects are selected. The programme continues in October 2024 at DOK Leipzig and in March 2025 at the East Doc Platform in Prague. The lead tutor is Ruth Reid, who is joined by Chris Westendorp, Catherine Chevassu, Malin Hüber, and Samuel Joyce.

Sunny Side interview: Elizabeth Klinck, Archive Producer

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It’s a decade now since Elizabeth Klinck, the renowned archive producer and copyright clearance specialist, approached Sunny Side of the Doc together with a small team of history producers to suggest that “history and archive” should be included as a key part of the festival alongside its other strands. This year, as she tells BDE, she will host two debates; on ‘Archives, AI and Ethics,’ and ‘Archives at Risk.’

ShareDoc at Sunny Side to deliver immediate Impact

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ShareDoc founder Anne Marie Borsboom talks to Business Doc Europe about her QR code initiative that enables immediate financial engagement by audiences as soon as the credits roll. “We exist to amplify the social impact of documentaries for the protagonists/charities involved in the project,” she says. “We believe in guiding the audience towards immediate action while bridging the gap between the documentary industry and documentary lovers.”

Sunny Side 2024: Java Films to present new Roch Bozino Engagement Prize 

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The new Sunny Side of the Doc award bears the name of the Java Films founder, who passed away in 2023 and “who always loved coming to La Rochelle.” The €3,000 prize will be awarded to a project in the Global Issues or New Voices pitch that "best engages with the humanitarian issues of today or inspires us to make a difference."

Sunny Side of the Doc 2024: Chile back in La Rochelle with four projects

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“The migration crisis, feminism in Latin America, ancient cultures and political conspiracies” are the themes explored in the Chilean projects presented at La Rochelle this year. The project Unwelcomed by Amilcar Infante and Sebastián González is selected for the Impact Campaigns Pitch section. Meanwhile, María Wood Producciones and Cábala Films attend with some their latest projects, with both seeking co-production and sales.