June 13 – 17, 2012
Most of the delegates met on Wednesday afternoon during the opening session Who’s Who: What’s New? The session, moderated by Barbara Truyen (VPRO) and Greg Sanderson (BBC), introduced the key decision makers who shared their views on current documentary scene and possible future development.
Among the speakers were Nick Fraser (BBC Storyville), Mette Hoffmann Meyer (DR TV), Barbara Biemann (ARD/NDR), Jenny Westergard (YLE), Esther van Messel (First Hand Films), Claire Aguilar (ITVS), Ryan Harrington (Tribeca Film Institute) and Debra Zimmermann (Women Make Movies), many of them included on the meeting wishlist of the delegation participants.
In order not to miss any decision makers, we seized a small table opposite the entrance to the MeetMarket which took place in one of the city's most iconic buildings – the Hubs houses. The Hubs are a great place to meet people – everyone is around and easy to approach. It takes a bit of courage to arrange a meeting but it works!
The members of the delegation were very successful in contacting the selected commissioning editors and other decision makers. A number of meetings took place and many cards and DVDs with visual material were handed out to Jenny Westergard (YLE), Claudia Bucher (ARTE G.E.I.E.), Lorraine Hess (Link TV), Flora Gregory (Al Jazeera), Simon Kilmurry (American Documentary/POV) and many others.
The festival programme introduced not only a large number of screenings, but also a rich industry programme, including various pitching sessions, presentations and master classes. One of the sessions – a meeting with a Chinese delegation of commissioning editors on Thursday afternoon – had to be cancelled. The unofficial reason was the screening of Alison Klayman’s film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry in the festival programme. The film deals with freedom of speech in China. Instead, Nick Fraser (BBC Storyville) together with Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism presented his new book (“pamphlet” in his own words) Why Documentaries Matter. For most of us, it wasn’t a bad deal: the Chinese delegation stayed at home, the screening went well, the film was followed by a Skype conference with the director about the filmmaking process, and Nick Fraser topped his talk off with handing out his newest publication.
It was our pleasure to take part in celebration of 40th anniversary of Women Make Movies and 30th of Films Transit International hosted by Debra Zimmerman and Diana Holtzberg on Friday.
Institute of Documentary Film continuously supports documentary filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe. Its activities focus on various stages: starting from development and production (Ex Oriente Film workshop and East European Forum), through the post-production (Doc Launch) till completed films (East Silver). Each year we bring a delegation of producers from the region to Sheffield Doc/Fest and thus offer the possibility to network with key decision makers. The Institute helps with the application for the MeetMarket, which has its deadline usually in March; but even if your project wouldn’t be selected – this year, there were 571 submissions and only 65 projects were selected – it might be still worth to come to Sheffield and try to present the project to selected decision makers. As this year and the years before, IDF representatives will be there to support you on the spot.
Looking forward to meeting you next year!