MIP blog by Argonon CEO James Burstall
MIP was sunny this year, in all senses of the word. The sun shone and the Mediterranean glittered. The mahogany ladies in Chanel were out in force on the Croisette, followed closely by their tripping primped pooches. The festival itself was not as busy as some years, but that was a plus because it meant there was more time to spend quality time with good people.
We started on the Friday, which was a change, with MipCube. This was its first outing, designed as a forum for people who are embracing new media, interactivity and transmedia story-telling. It could have been a nerds’ talking shop, but actually it was a series of powwows and debates about the opportunities of the multi-screen world. I spotted an innovative new interactive drama called Treasures from Shaftesbury, which I am looking forward to hearing more about. We’ve had Kate Modern on Bebo and now it’s time for an interactive drama that crosses both TV and online. MipCube was a fruitful event for British TV as Maverick was awarded Best International Emmy for their series Live from the Clinic, firmly placing Channel 4 at the forefront of interactive factual programming.
On Sunday, MIP proper kicked off and we launched into a round of meetings. I’m glad to say that Argonon International had their best slate ever. Leopard UK have been cooking with gas in recent months and won twelve commissions. Their best formats were the highlight of Argonon’s catalogue. Robbed Raided Reunited, a follow up to Cash in the Attic, puts the cops into collectibles. It created a lot of international interest and has been optioned for France. Cash is being made there for M6 by an excellent prodco called MediaFisher and is up to its 75th episode, rating well above slot average. The show is a natural for a country that has an incredible history. But then I am a Francophile.
AI had a lot of interest in Leopard UK’s new user generated formats. We can’t announce them yet, but they tap into a rich seam of documentary footage created by real people on their mobile phones. As the Arab Spring demonstrated, the mobile phone is the new democracy and I’m passionate about the way people can record events as they happen, and even change them, change their future. It’s very empowering.
Another trend that I noticed was a real appetite in the market for high end documentary. There are plenty of good entertainment formats out there (although they are getting expensive to license internationally, which means we must originate more!) but not very many high end docs. AI have John Bridcut’s 90 minute Rostropovich film, for example, which sold well. It’s encouraging that although budgets are tight all over the world, there is still very definitely a hunger for thoughtful quality films from top talented film-makers.
MIP is always good at throwing up a few unexpected gems. I met a talented new outfit from Singapore called Hurrah Productions. They are positioning themselves as a gateway into Asia and are being offered grants by the Singaporean government to get projects off the ground, in co-pro. I also had a great meeting with Jamie Kastner, Canada’s answer to Louis Theroux. He’s a very witty author documentarian who was writing a feature story for the Toronto Star and also showcasing some of his new projects. He had a funny set of sizzle reels on his ubiquitous iPad. Everyone has their hot new project to sell at MIP, and that’s the point.
I went to various parties, of course, the best this year being the DRG party on the Carlton Beach. It was a big crowd of commissioners from the UK and US, a lot of producers and various distributors. I met up with Rob and John from Force Four in Vancouver. They have an excellent new format called Million Dollar Neighbourhood, which has been commissioned for a second season in Canada and optioned by OWN, Oprah’s US channel. It does not have a home in the UK yet and we are considering whether we can place it. It’s a clever idea as a whole crowd of people are challenged to raise a million dollars in one month by working together. A timely idea in these cash-challenged times.
Apart from that, I had a breakfast meeting with Leopard US agent Rob Miller, who is doing a great job pushing our US development into new territories, and ICM’s Pippa Lambert to talk about various co-productions we have on the slate. We sat by the pool at the Majestic hotel, surrounded by the industry’s great and the good. It was a fun atmosphere.
On my last afternoon, there was a giant strike by French air traffic control (yeurch) so I managed a quick swim in the sea. It was a brisk 14 degrees Centigrade and crystal clear. It felt like the start of the new season. Bring it on!
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- Fifteen to One Christmas Special
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- Happy Thanksgiving
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- Broadcast Magazine reports: The Bridge hunts indies for Asian Market
- Windfall Films' new series launches on The National Geographic Channel
- Britcam: Emergency on our Streets. Weekly for ten weeks, starting on Tuesday, 11th November 2014 on Sky1 at 10pm.
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- And the winners are... This year's Remedy's BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards results
- Remedy produces BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards 2014
- Argonon International has depth and breadth #Mipcom 2014
- Remedy's Fifteen to One returns to Channel 4 for season three
- Realscreen reports; The terms of negotiation, Argonon CEO James Burstall comments
- Leopard Films USA new show premieres tonight on CNBC Prime
- TBI Magazine profiles Leopard Drama's EVE in their Kids Hot Picks 2014
- C21 reports on K-Drama Week, co-pro opportunities via The Bridge
- The Bridge's MD, Amanda Groom hosts the first K-Drama summit in London
- Fun and fundraising at Argonon
- Real Screen reports; Nat Geo orders master illusionist show from Argonon's Windfall Films
- Windfall Film's Operation Maneater premieres on C4
- Broadcast Magazine's AND FINALLY meets Remedy's Sophie Wurzer-Williams
- At a Glance; Televisual Magazine's Producers Peer Poll and Top 100 Superindies list results 2014 - Argonon
- Argonon Scores First International Sale For CBBC Series "EVE"
- Raising The Costa Concordia
- Argonon opens Scottish arm
- Hot Shots 2014
- Super Indie Argonon launch Scottish office
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- World Eye Reports United Kingdom special
- ITV1 *THURSDAY 24th JULY @ 9PM* - DIAMOND GEEZERS & GOLD DEALERS
- Fifteen to One starts filming in Glasgow
- TV Biz: 15 to Wan - Quiz show moves to Glasgow
- BBC London (TV News) - The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway
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- Diamond Geezers TV Magazine Coverage
- Windfall's Fifteen Billion Pound Railway on BBC Breakfast
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- BriteSpark Films are proud to announce the premiere of ‘Handsome Devils’
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- C21 reports; BBC2 orders Windfall wildlife special
- Broadcast reports; C4 gets graphic with Windfall's animal mating doc
- C4 and PBS orders SEX IN THE WILD from Windfall - TBI reports
- Broadcast nominates two Windfall Shows for their Digi Awards 2014
- WINDFALL FILMS WIN A BAFTA TV AWARD for The Murder Trial
- Televisual reports; Senior TV Exec Sophie Wurzer-Williams joins Argonon's Remedy Productions
- ARGONON CEO BLOGS FOR BROADCAST ON LAUNCHING IN CHINA
- Broadcast reports; Remedy hires fact net boss
- C21 reports; Argonon's Remedy Productions launches New Fact Ent Dept
- Merger Markets talks to Argonon Group COO Laura Bessell-Martin.
- TBI reports - Argonon, Amanda Groom create Bridge to Korean co-pros
- Broadcast Reports; Argonon aids indies in Asia