January 29, 2023

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Art buyers love loach – variety

2 min read

A recorded message from Ken Loach, and personal presentations from investigative journalist Paul Moreira and deep-sea diver Laurent Ballesta galvanized Art Distribution’s latest broadcast pitch, giving buyers an extra jolt and doc special distributors grinning from ear to ear.

While the details of individual deals are still being worked out, Arte Distribution noticed a pronounced increase 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, the UK, Spain, Italy, Poland, Greece, Latvia and Germany.

Florence Sala, head of arts distribution, credits the improvement to the loose presentation structure of French TV screenings, which allocate nine audiovisual distributors a block of stage time in front of an art audience and allow each outfit to fill that stage time as they see fit.

For art, it means welcoming to the stage the very talent behind the films presented, director Paul Moreira presents his investigation in the surveillance state “in the name of law and order”, famous diver and subnautical photographer Laurent Ballesta presents deep sea exploration. Mystery of the Mad Rings” and a special video of Ken Loach – straight from the set of his own recent film – introducing the documentary “Ken Loach, The Art of Activism”.

“People who actually make films rarely get a chance to present their work to buyers and international broadcasters,” says Florence Sala. “Our French TV screening was a real success that generated a lot of interest, and for me, the best part was welcoming the talent.”

Sala and team also present excerpts from “Nicole Kidman, Eyes Wide Open,” a documentary starring Lars von Trier, and “Thatcher’s Not Dead,” a portrait of contemporary history. As much a biography of the origins of Thatcherism, the film explores music and art from the period to better emphasize the turbulent social climate of the UK 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. Recent use in several COVID vaccines years ago.

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