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!
- BriteSpark Films staffs up
- ITN’s Tshulak joins BriteSpark Films
- Inside Einstein's Mind - Award Nomination
- A Very British Brothel - Award Nomination
- HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY
- Windfall wins C4 property commission
- Super-indie Argonon vote to remain in the EU
- Our new DVD just in #EVE @LeopardDrama @Argonon
- Argonon honoured in this year’s Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200
- Leopard Drama wins TWO RTS awards for Eve
- The Boy Who Wants His Leg Cut Off nominated for Best Popular Factual Programme
- Penguin A&E starts May 10th
- Congratulations to Amanda Groom
- The Extraordinary People strand is to return to Channel 5...
- Hidden Britain By Drone airs 10th April 2016, 8pm, Channel 4
- Eve nominated for another award!
- The Bridge @Argonon scores
- Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords Series 2
- 1000 Companies To Inspire Britain 2016
- Congratulations to Rich Cook on the Oscar for 'Amy'
- Transparent TV targets daytime and digital push
- Sometimes a Leopard does change its spots
- The Pusher from BriteSpark generated a lot of media interest
- Manchester's Serial Killer? airs Tuesday 19th Jan 2016, 11pm on Channel 4
- Eve: WGGB Best Children's Drama - Winner!!
- Celebrity Botched Up Bodies continues tonight at 10pm on Channel 5
- Welcoming Simon McKeown as CCO of Leopard USA
- Celebrity Botched Up Bodies airs Thursday 7th January 2015 on Channel 5
- Eve Series 2 starts Monday 4th at 4:30pm on CBBC
- Happy New Year
- Merry Christmas from all of us at Argonon
- Darcey's Ballet Heroes airs Christmas Day at 8:50pm on BBC Two
- Inside Einstein's Mind: The Enigma of Space and Time airs Monday 14th December 2015 on BBC Four
- Xmas EVE! Monday 14th December 2015 at 5pm on CBBC
- EVE nomination for Writers’ Guild Awards 2016
- Channel 4 renews Fifteen to One
- Windfall Films explores the enigmatic with Inside Einstein’s Mind
- HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM ARGONON TO OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS, FAR AND WIDE!
- Windfall Films, PBS delve “Inside Einstein’s Mind”
- Leopard Drama's Eve nominated for the Broadcast Awards 2016
- ATV Railroad Alaska: Real Time Train Ride
- RealScreen: Rail Road Alaska
- Realscreen: Rich Cook joins Leopard USA as VP of Talent
- Rich Cook joins Leopard USA as the new VP of Talent
- BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards this Sunday (8th November 2015)
- BriteSpark's "The Wives Did It" airs tonight (6th Nov) at 10PM EST
- Making North America airs tonight on PBS
- Mobo: Paving The Way tonight at 7pm on ITV2 from TTV
- The Bridge's Amanda Groom interview in Broadcast
- Congratulations to Eve's Poppy Lee Friar
- Man Caves - 9pm, September 11th on the DIY Network
- House Hunters: Off The Grid
- Celebrity 15 to 1 Episode 4, airs Fri 28th August 2015 on Channel 4
- Welcome to the second half of 2015! Here's Argonon's new showreel - we hope you enjoy it.
- The Boy Who Wants His Leg Cut Off
- Incredible Engineering Blunders airs tonight at 8pm on the Discovery Channel UK
- Celebrity 15 to 1 airs 8pm, Friday 21st August on Channel 4
- Britespark lands a Channel 4 First Cut films commission
- Celebrity 15 to 1 TXs Friday 14th August 2015 at 8pm on Channel 4!
- Big Kitchens, Travel Channel UK
- TTV Summer of Great Programmes
- Celebrity Fifteen to One starts on Friday at 8pm on Channel 4
- Very British Brothel gets positive reviews and outperforms it's slot
- Fired By Mum & Dad! Airs tonight at 8pm on MTV
- BOTCHED UP BODIES - New Series starting TONIGHT at 10pm on CH5!
- Broadcasters feast on Windfall series
- Rise of the Machines
- The Bridge talks to C21
- Channel 4 have ordered 100 episodes of Fifteen to One
- C5 green light Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords from BriteSpark
- MTV commission first fact ent format from Remedy
- Amanda Groom strengthens The Bridge to Korea
- Argonon International News Flash: EVE!
- Amazing coverage of BriteSpark's Incredible Engineering Blunders
- Britespark unearths engineering blunders for Discovery
- Congratulations to Argonon team members for completing the London Marathon 2015!
- TTV Presents Gourmet Trains 2
- Blink lands Korean doc deal backed by Argonon's The Bridge
- Have a FUN DAY today!
- The Bridge links with Korea
- EBS, Bethel Global cross the Bridge (TBI)
- Top International Owners/Consolidators
- Top UK Owners/Consolidators
- A new legal showdown series for ID Channel from BriteSpark
- Botched Up Bodies tonight on MTV at 11pm
- Britain's Got The Builders In - TX
- Britain's Got The Builders In - Reviews and Highlights
- Eve gets recommissioned for CBBC
- The Hit List
- Argonon is one of the few companies committed to support and promote arts programming worldwide
- French Cash In The Attic on M6
- Remedy to remake First Dates in Canada
- Some great articles on Transparent Televisions new Botched Up Bodies series
- A new series of Botched Up Bodies airs tonight
- Eve in Broadcast
- EVE TX's today at 5:30pm on CBBC
- Our magic show in Singapore
- Here's to a GREAT 2015 from all of us @Argonon. HAPPY NEW YEAR.