Sundance: Buyers Bid $20 Million as the Feature Documentary Category Booms

The feature documentary is booming. That’s the message from Sundance 2019. Reported bids for rights approach $20 million. Topping the list is Knock Down the House, the Sundance Audience Award winner that captures the run for Congress in 2018 of the “AOC” superstar Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The SVOD giant reportedly bid $10 million for worldwide rights. That’s …

Getting Real at Realscreen: A Podcast with Michael Hoff, Veteran Producer

In this week’ podcast, veteran unscripted producer Michael Hoff shares his Takeaways on the Realscreen Summit. Realscreen was held in New Orleans for the first time this year. Michael is President & Executive Producer of Hoff Productions. Key Takeaways include: Michael says that network executives are regaining their footing after enduring the recent hard impacts of …


Sundance Takeaways: A Podcast with Peter Broderick, Veteran Distribution Strategist

Peter Broderick has just returned from the Sundance Film Festival. The quality of both the films and the deal-making in the Documentary category made a big impression on this veteran distribution strategist. Peter shares his Sundance Takeaways, including: 10-12 docs were at the “phenomenal” quality level; The impact of Netflix on the growing audience for …

Royal Wedding & Better Baking: Best British Factual, 2018. The Top 200

The “Best of British” is one of my more popular posts. I list the year’s highest-rated unscripted programs, usually to honor UK producers in time for their PACT party at Realscreen. For a different look at 2018, I combined the Documentary, Factual, Lifestyle & Current Affairs categories, showing the best single episode for series. It’s …

Sundance and the Single Documentary Economy: The $1.3 Billion Cost of Missing Out

The documentary niche has remarkable financial scale, as measured by the films seeking selection at Sundance. Let’s assume that the average production cost of all 2,649 Sundance submissions for 2019 is $500,000. Actual budgets range from around $200,000 up to $5+ million. $500K is a conservative average. Production Cost: 2,600 documentaries were “Not Accepted” in 2019. The …

Sundance Film Festival Selections 2019: What are the Odds for Documentaries?

A Sundance Film Festival award lags only behind an Oscar nomination as a measure of success for documentarians. But what are the odds that a U.S. or international documentary will earn a slot on the program? Submissions 2,649 Documentary Features were submitted to the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, which opens on January 24: 767 were from the …

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. …