Munich DOK.Fest: The Master’s Pitch produced by Documentary Campus

Participating in the Master’s Pitch at DOK.Fest Munich was a highlight of my year.

Documentary Campus and DOK.fest have developed a unique format that combines compelling pitches, feedback from a jury of international commissioners and experts, and valuable practical training.

Case Study: 

  • Richard Ladkani (Director / DOP) opened with an inspiring Case Study of the conservation drama doc Sea of Shadows.
  • Executive produced by Leo DiCaprio with Terra Mater, his film was a hit at this year’s Sundance.
  • Richard emphasized:
    • The very high stakes of covering a subject that involves violent crime syndicates.
    • The doors opened by DiCaprio.
    • How conservation films need heroes, strong stories and positive solutions to engage audiences.
    • The filmmakers and Nat Geo are committed to an Impact campaign, particularly aimed at Mexican lawmakers.
  • I reported after Sundance that Sea of Shadows was acquired by Nat Geo for $3 million, and is an early candidate for the 2020 documentary Oscar.

Context

  • Ruth Berry curated the day’s theme of audience engagement and was our ever-motivating moderator.
  • Jury members provided compelling analyses of the documentary landscape where the pitchers hope to find their audience.
  • This format nicely relieves the high-pressure atmosphere typical of marathon pitch sessions.
  • The event was flawlessly presented by the hosts, led by Friederike Bockman.

Takeaway

Projects

All the pitches were built around great stories:

COLOUR OF THE WIND
Director: Claire Sanford
Producer: Adam Pajot Gendron
Productions: Tortuga Film Inc
Coproducer: Sami Jahnukainen, Dagmar Jacobsen
Country: Canada

DO YOU LOVE ME
Director: Lana Daher
Producer: Jasper Mielke
Production Company: Wood Water Films
Country: Lebanon, Germany

GOBI PARADISE
Director: Iris Pakulla
Producer: Ira & Alex Tondowski
Production Company: Tondowski Films
Co-producer: Polar Star Films
Country: Germany

JOHATSU – DIE VERMISSTEN
Director: Andreas Hartmann, Arate Mori
Producer: Andreas Hartmann
Composition: Jana Irmert
Country: Germany

LAS LUCHADORAS
Director: Paola Calvo, Patrick Jasim
Production: Phillip Kaminiak
Production company: Tumult Film 
Country: Germany, Mexico

NIGHT TALKS
Director: Florian von Stetten
Producer: Marcelo Busse
Production Company: BUSSE
Country: Germany

SURF ON, EUROPE!
Director: Constantin Gross
Producer: Lukas Steinbrecher
Production Company: VeyVey Films GbR
Composition: Jan Benz & Steffen Lohrey
Country: Germany

THE FOREST AND ITS WARRIORS
Director: Frederik Subei
Producer: Kerstin Krieg
Production Company: TAG/TRAUM Filmproduktion GmbH & Co KG
Composer: Rossano Snel
Country: Germany, Brasil

The Jury

Kathrin Brinkmann, ZDF/Arte Germany
Alex Hryniewicz, Little Dot Studios UK
Grazyna Krupa, CBC Canada
Tomas Lindh, SVT Sweden
Peter Hamilton, DocumentaryBusiness.com
Esther van Messel, First Hand Films Switzerland
Ava Striker, MUBI USA

Where’s the Gold?

I can’t help but end this post with a pic of the magical double rainbow that crowned the beautiful city of Munich during the post-pitch party.