Who are the documentary buyers? What do they want? How many? Deal highlights and more

Twelve documentary buyers and producers reveal what drives their decisions. Each commissioner is driven by a particular strategy, pipeline and budget ‘sweet spot’. Each producer describes a unique path from concept through funding and production to distribution. Since 2010, the mission of my Documentary Business newsletter has been to reveal how these individual production pathways …

Humboldt: Epic Explorer – A €600,000 Drama Doc from ZDFE, Spiegel TV, Arte and Smithsonian Networks. A Case Study

Humboldt: Epic Explorer is a historical dramatized documentary about the scientist Alexander von Humboldt and his pioneering work in South America. The project was sparked by Andrea Wulf’s best-selling biography, and developed by veteran producer Tilman Remme. It was successfully pitched to European and American commissioning editors at the Science Producers’ Congress 2018 in Stockholm. by …


The Making of Netflix’s Hit Wildlife Documentary: MY OCTOPUS TEACHER

I’m pleased to write that My Octopus Teacher, just released by Netflix, went immediately on to my All-time Favorite Wildlife Documentaries list. Trailer https://youtu.be/3s0LTDhqe5A (copy/paste link). My Octopus Teacher is built on the foundations of any successful doc: Huge Characters, human and cephalopod. Unique Access. Risk… to life and limbs. Then there’s more: The original …

Making Discovery’s APOCALYPSE ’45: A podcast with director Erik Nelson

Director Erik Nelson describes Apocalypse ’45 as the “first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan meets Apollo 11.” He shares his original concept; how his almost casual pitch to Discovery‘s Howard Swartz led to a full commission; the archive research and transfer process; his veteran interviews; the pre-edit planning, editing and final delivery. Our informative …

Sunny Side Cyber Week Sale

APOCALYPSE ’45: Discovery’s powerful WW2 documentary in virtual theatrical release. A Case Study for the COVID Era

Discovery Channel and distributor Abramorama teamed for a virtual theatrical and broadcast rollout of Apocalypse ‘45. This powerful documentary from Oscar-nominee Erik Nelson recounts the harrowing end of WW2, using unseen archive and the eyewitness accounts of 24 veterans who lived through the Pacific campaign. My Apocalypse ‘45 Case Study and podcasts capture the development, …

Meet President Trump’s Rightwing Documentary Producers

Last week’s humiliating arrest of president Trump’s former strategist Stephen K Bannon called for an update of my profile of Trump’s inner circle of documentary producers and news platform operators. Gregory Crofton compiled these snapshots of the leading players, men whose influence far exceeds any quality found in their work. Since 2013, Gregory has been …