Krakow Film Festival 2024

Sunny Side of the Doc 2024: Shaping the Future of Documentary Filmmaking

Sunny Side of the Doc is set to return to La Rochelle from 24 to 27 June, 2024, celebrating its 35th edition with a renewed ambition to shape the future of documentary filmmaking. This year’s event promises to be a milestone, showcasing innovative ideas and fostering global collaboration in the documentary genre. The four-day event will bring together creators, producers, buyers, and broadcasters from around the world to engage in discussions, networking, and pitching sessions, with a particular focus on women in the industry, contributions from African and South American countries, and emerging technologies.

Key highlights of the 2024 edition

Visionary Keynotes

For the first time, the festival will feature four exceptional keynotes delivered by prominent figures in the documentary world. These sessions will delve into the industry’s challenges and opportunities, especially in the context of technological advancements and new creative trends. Attendees will gain insights on how to turn industry changes into opportunities and anticipate the future trajectory of documentary filmmaking.

  • Mapping the Future: Visionaries will discuss the evolving landscape of documentaries and the role of emerging technologies.
  • Innovative Storytelling: Exploring new creative trends and their impact on documentary narratives.

Competitive Pitching Sessions

A hallmark of Sunny Side of the Doc, the pitching sessions are designed to help promising projects find international co-production partners. This year, 42 standout documentary projects, selected from 320 submissions across 60 countries, will be pitched to key industry decision-makers.

  • Daily Pitch Sessions: Featuring top projects aimed at securing co-production deals and distribution agreements.

Focus on Australia: Act 2

Continuing the emphasis on Australian documentary production, this year’s edition will highlight the works of Aboriginal and First Nations professionals. Their participation aims to showcase the rich and diverse storytelling traditions of Australia.

  • Australian Documentaries: Presentations and discussions on the unique contributions of Australian filmmakers.

Prominent African and South American Presence

Sunny Side of the Doc 2024 will see a significant representation from Nigeria, Brazil, and other African and South American countries. This enhanced presence is intended to foster collaborations and increase the visibility of their stories on the global stage.

  • Collaborative Opportunities: Networking events and sessions to build connections with African and South American filmmakers.

Celebrating Chinese Contributions

In celebration of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China, a substantial Chinese delegation will participate. This includes representatives from ten regional channels and fifteen companies, all contributing to a diverse array of co-production stories.

  • Chinese Pavilion: A showcase of China’s documentary projects and opportunities for international collaboration.

Women in Documentary

A special focus on women in the documentary industry will be a major highlight. In collaboration with MediaClub’Elles and the DocSafe initiative, sessions will address critical issues such as abuse, harassment, and the unique challenges faced by women in the field.

  • Empowering Women: Discussions led by Caroline Béhar from France Télévisions, focusing on the experiences and contributions of women in documentary filmmaking.

Embracing Innovation

This year’s festival places a strong emphasis on cutting-edge technologies and non-linear formats, including Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), podcasts, and video games. An «Innovation WIP» (Work in Progress) call for applications will support creative teams working in these areas, with selected projects showcased in the Studio, a space dedicated to innovation and experimentation.

  • Tech Showcase: Demonstrations and discussions on the latest technological advancements impacting documentary production.

Exclusive Showcases and Strategic Insights

Participants will have access to exclusive presentations from French channels and the Japanese public broadcaster NHK. Additionally, ‘Meet the Executives’ sessions will highlight strategies from leading broadcasters like the BBC, SVT, National Geographic, and Love Nature / Blue Ant.

  • Industry Insights: Panels and presentations on current strategies and future directions from top industry executives.

Supporting New Talent

Sunny Side of the Doc continues to strengthen its support for high-potential co-production projects through initiatives like the Pitch Observatory and Sunny Academy. These programs aim to nurture new generations of documentary talent and foster successful industry careers.

  • Mentoring Programs: Workshops and mentorship opportunities for emerging filmmakers.

35th Anniversary Celebration

To mark its 35th anniversary, Sunny Side of the Doc will host a special evening at La Rochelle’s iconic Marcel Deflandre stadium. This event will feature the screening of Skin in the Game, a documentary produced by Southern Pictures for National Indigenous Television, chronicling the journey of Marlee Silva, an Aboriginal sports journalist specialising in rugby league.

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