For the first time ever, Docs for Sale starts its activities in the summer. The Docs for Sale Summer Showcase, including 29 new films, a number of older titles, and the entire 2019 catalogue, was launched to support filmmakers and sales agents. Participating sales agents include Deckert Distribution, Dogwoof, First Hand Films, Java Films, Dutch CORE, Magnetfilm, and Go2Films.
Uncertain times demand extraordinary measures, and Docs for Sale has decided to meet this challenge, starting with this Summer Showcase.
"With a lot of documentary productions being delayed during the recent months, we’ve noticed that several broadcasters are looking for titles to fill the gaps in programming," says Liselot Verbrugge of Deckert Distribution. "That's why we have made a selection of several gems from our catalogue that might have been previously overlooked by some buyers, all great films that have toured the world of festivals with success. Plus, of course, more recent titles like our Berlinale-premiered Walchensee Forever and Oeconomia, that have found their way to a great line-up of online festivals since."
Carmen Losmann's Oeconomia, a layered exploration of the capitalist system and the elusive concept of economic growth, is a good example of a high number of films in the catalogue that tackle social, political and economic themes.
Older Deckert documentaries that fit the bill include Vitaly Mansky's Putin's Witnesses, Karen Winter's exploration of extremist movements Exit, and the colorful story of a group of young friends who use creativity to escape the reality of life in a refugee camp in the Sahara, in Eloy Domínguez Serén's Hamada.
Topical titles from First Hand Films include Dmitry Bogolubov's Town of Glory about children being raised to become good patriots in the militarized Russian society, and Hans-Jürgen Schmölzer's Riot in the Matrix, which deals with a community of data protection activists. In addition, the company has highlighted some older titles.
"The reason we have submitted not only brand-new films this time is because the films are still current and available,” says the sales agency’s Deputy Director Gitte Hansen. "We are very proud of representing the films and believe that one season is not enough to cover the potential of the films."
Among them are Arthur Pratt's Survivors, a portrait of Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak presented through the eyes of local filmmakers, Nils Bökamp's 43-minute climate change picture Day Zero, David Aronowitsch's refugee camp film Idomeni and Karen Stokkendal Poulsen's Myanmar story On the Inside of a Military Dictatorship.
From Dogwoof come several new, remarkable titles. Examples are Nanette Burstein's 4x60' biopic series Hillary, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering's On the Record on music industry giant Russell Simmons' history of sexual abuse, and CPH:DOX prizewinner Mayor by David Osit, about the Christian mayor of Ramallah. Political themes are tackled in a more distanced approach in Elizabeth Lo's Hot Docs winner Stray and Maite Alberdi's IBF-supported The Mole Agent (pictured), which world-premiered at Sundance.
The company's older titles in the Docs for Sale catalogue include powerful political films such as Bing Liu's Oscar-nominated Minding the Gap, Sab Hobkinson and Havana Marking's The Kleptocrats, and Alba Sotorra Clua's Commander Arian: A Story of Women, War & Freedom. Also on offer are vibrant biopics The Eyes of Orson Welles by Mark Cousins, Westwood: Punk Icon Activist by Lorna Tucker, and Kusama - Infinity by Heather Lenz.
Biopic meets current affairs in Dutch CORE's 2018 title Dance or Die by Roozbeh Kaboly, about a Syrian dancer who had to escape his country and now performs with the National Ballet in the Netherlands. But the Amsterdam-based sales agent also offers three new, urgent episodes of VPRO's investigative Backlight series: Corona Crash, on the financial world during the COVID-19 crisis; Tomorrow's Virus, on what future epidemics we can expect, and Manosphere, about an online community's backlash to what they consider an "over-feminization" of the world.
Java Films, on the other hand, brings Florian Opitz's System Error, which gives a fresh perspective on capitalism around the world, and Renato Martins' intense Favela Frontlines, on the battle between police and drug traffickers in Brazil.
Another South American political film, Tuki Jencquel's It's All Good, on severe medicine shortages in Venezuela, comes from Magnetfilm, whose slate also includes Marc Wiese's explosive documentary We Hold the Line about the battle for democracy fought by journalists in Duterte's Philippines.
Finally, Go2Films offers Ofir Trainin's surprising Family in Transition about an Israeli family dealing with its patriarch's decision to become a woman, and Iris Zaki's Unsettling, in which the Grierson Award-winning director, an outspoken leftist, comes to an Israeli settlement in the West Bank to talk to the locals.
The older Docs for Sale films will be accessible to subscribers until November this year. More new titles will be added to the 2020 catalogue in August and November, and will be available until November 2021.
You can find a continually updated list of participating sales agents here.