Happy Holidays!

Dear Friends & Colleagues, It’s been a fascinating year to report on the online video tsunami that is restructuring our industry. As the New Year approaches, we often feel that Netflix and Amazon Prime in particular are changing everything, and at an accelerating rate… I hope that my analysis of the emerging ecosystem for documentary and unscripted programs helps you …

Distributing Documentaries & Non-fiction Programs. A Podcast with Ludo Dufour, Off The Fence’s MD for Sales & Copro’s

Ludo Dufour is the Managing Director, Sales & Co-Productions for OFF THE FENCE, the leading independent non-fiction specialist based in Amsterdam. We connected last June in Durban at NEWF, that super-exciting African conference linking Conservation and Filmmaking. I was taken by Ludo’s presentation on the nuts and bolts of financing and distributing quality documentaries and unscripted programs. …


Letters from Baghdad: A Case Study of an Archive-based Documentary With a $1.2 Mn Budget

Letters From Baghdad is a beautiful documentary that uncovers the story of British adventurer, diplomat and Arabist, Gertrude Bell. (Republished December 11, 2018 to mark the PBS premiere. Original publication: 6/6/2017) Filmmakers Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbühl reveal the struggles of a brilliant, lone woman in an all-male world. Their research uncovered a largely forgotten but mesmerizing film …

NEWF: Peter’s Takeaways from an Excellent Week in Durban

The 2nd addition of the Nature, Environment & Wildlife Film Congress was definitely a peak experience among the scores of conferences that I have attended over five decades. Africa! In Durban, we felt Africa’s resurgence. Big time. Amazing, youthful talent. Exciting projects. Eagerness to learn from industry veterans including Off The Fence, Earth Touch, Scorpion TV, Wild Bear and …

THE CLEANERS An Anti-Case Study From Berlin: UPDATE

A letter from Christian Beetz: Dear Peter, Thank you very much for your Case Study and your moderation at Sunny Side. Before you go into the well deserved summer break, I would like to give you a brief update on THE CLEANERS. Christian Beetz with ARD/WDR’s Christiane Hinz. Credit : Jean-François Augé / studio-ouest.com Oscar …

THE CLEANERS An Anti-Case Study from Berlin: A $1.3 Mn Investigative Documentary Premieres at Sundance. Faces Deep Deficit

THE CLEANERS ticked all the boxes. Despite Sundance selection and sales to prestigious broadcasters worldwide, the producers are digging out from a deep deficit. The business model for investigative documentaries has always been risky. It is now under siege… and needs new solutions. That’s the message presented by Christian Beetz, co-CEO of Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion …