Sunny Side of the Doc Wraps 35th Edition, Eyes Global Expansion

Sunny Side of the Doc Wraps 35th Edition, Eyes Global Expansion

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The international documentary market Sunny Side of the Doc concluded its 35th edition in La Rochelle, France on June 27, drawing 2,100 participants from 68 countries. The four-day event, themed “Mapping the Future,” showcased 90 exhibitors and hosted 250 international decision-makers.

The program featured keynotes from PBS, an XR artist, and First Nations Australian voices, as well as the first showcase of Nigerian documentaries and the lineups from French channels and groups like France Télévisions, Arte, Canal+, TF1, M6 and Altice Media.

Seven pitch sessions highlighted international co-production opportunities, with winners hailing from Australia, Iran, France, Ireland, Canada, Malaysia, Kenya, Germany and the U.S. Notably, five women were among the award recipients, and three winners presented debut projects.

Mathieu Béjot, director of strategy and development, said: “In the current context marked by societal polarization, the rise of extremism, and international geopolitical tensions, Sunny Side supports the powerful and impactful documentary genre more than ever.”

Looking ahead, managing director Aurélie Reman outlined plans to expand the event’s global reach. “Our goal is to bring together documentary talents from five continents within an ever more resilient and determined community,” Reman stated.

The organization announced the development of Sunny Academy, aimed at nurturing new generations of storytellers worldwide. As part of this initiative, Sunny Side will organize pitch sessions at the inaugural LatAm Content Market in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from March 10-13, 2025.

Upcoming events include the eighth edition of PiXii Festival in La Rochelle and Rochefort from October 17-20, 2024, and the 36th edition of Sunny Side of the Doc in La Rochelle from June 23-26, 2025.

The market continues to diversify, incorporating various elements of the documentary value chain, including impact actors, archives, and distributors playing an increasing role in pre-financing projects.

Sunny Side of the Doc 2024 Award Winners

PITCH SESSION WINNERS

Best Science Pitch (Sponsored by PBS Distribution) “The Brain Garden” Storyland PTY LTD. (Australia) Director: Randall Wood

Best New Voices Pitch (Sponsored by Al Jazeera & AJB DOC Film Festival) “Dream of the Wild Oaks” Seven Spring Pictures (Iran) Director: Marjan Khosravi

Best Global Issues Pitch (Sponsored by RTBF) “Inside Gaza” Factstory, AFP – Agence France Presse (France) Director: Hélène Lam Trong

Special Jury Mention: “Silence of the Lams” EZ Films (Ireland) Director: Ciaran Deeney

Best Arts & Culture Pitch (Sponsored by Al Jazeera Documentary Channel & AJB DOC Film Festival) “The Shape of Blue” Intuitive Pictures inc. (Canada) Director: Sybilla Patrizia

Best Impact Campaigns Pitch “The Myth of Monsters” Gather Together (Malaysia) Director: Beatrice Leong

Best Nature & Conservation Pitch (Sponsored by Blue Ant Media & Love Nature) “Empalikino” Ripple Productions Ltd (Kenya) Director: Eric Mwangi

Best History Pitch “Our Sister Angela: Black Power in the GDR” Florianfilm GmbH (Germany), Dare Pictures (United States), La Lutta (United States) Directors: Jascha Hannover & Katharina Warda

Special Jury Mention: “The Curse of Sugar” Hauteville Productions (France) Director: Mathilde Damoisel

SPECIAL AWARDS

AIDC Award: “Dream of the Wild Oaks” (Iran)
Pitch the Doc Award: “A Satellite for Buru Laï” (France)
Student Choice Award: “Ba’s Book” (Canada)
IMZ Award: “Niemeyer 4Ever” (France)
Roch Bozino de l’engagement Award: “Tales and Sentences” (France)
Impact Social Club Award: “Every Other Girl” (Gambia)
Best Impact Movie Award: “Unwelcomed” (Chile)
Institute of Documentary Film Award: “A Satellite for Buru Laï” (France)
DocEdge Award: “Yurlu | Country” (Australia)
Movies That Matter Award: “Yurlu | Country” (Australia)
Al Jazeera Documentary Industry Days Award: “Inside Gaza” (France)

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