Quibi: Collapse was in its DNA!

Quibi was destined to fail. I was sure of that when I first read the presser announcing the business plan. There must be deep psychological reasons why retirement-age industry titans can even begin to fantasize about succeeding in mobile video — a medium that targets 10-20 yo’s with goofy dance videos shot in their Covid …

BBC STORYVILLE: Mandy Chang guides her legendary documentary strand through COVID turbulence. Our panel at virtual CCDF-CNEX

Mandy Chang, commissioning editor BBC-STORYVILLE recently joined my panel at Taiwan’s virtual CCDF-CNEX Documentary Conference. In this post, we recap Mandy’s valuable insights into the legendary STORYVILLE stand, and the impact of COVID on the BBC’s documentary commissioning process. Our fellow expert panelists were: Hong Kong-based, Phoenix TV exec Haibo Huang And from Washington DC, veteran …


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 …

News Roundup: BBC’s new vision meets hardcore opposition, and more…

Story of the Month BBC VISION MEETS FIERCE OPPOSITION BBC VISION: new director Tim Davie shares strategy // Worldscreen BBC BESIEGED: Under relentless fire from rightwing // London Review of Books GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS: Key to BBC’s future // TBI Vision BBC CHAIR: Ultra-conservative candidate is knocked // Deadline DISCOURS INAUGURAL choc pour le boss de la BBC …

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 …

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, …