Asia’s acclaimed factual market and pitching arena will finally be held at Thailand, Bangkok this year. The 7th edition of Asian Side of the Doc will welcome producers, broadcasters, distributors and institutions to present, initiate and establish new coproduction opportunities. “Given the growing interest shown by the international documentary community in the dynamic Asian factual market, we had to be sure that Asian Side of the Doc keeps on providing a relaxed and friendly environment to foster valuable networking and business relationships with major players in the pan-Asian industry,” said Sunny Side Markets CEO Yves Jeanneau in a statement. Asian Side of the Doc is continuing its journey around Asia: after Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Chengdu & Xiamen in China, Bangkok will now be the platform for exchanges between Europe and Asia. The 2015 edition drew more than 700 documentary professionals, including 140 decision makers, from Asia and beyond (40 countries) to its industry-leading market, designed to maximise investment and international coproduction through a line-up of inspiring panels, unique networking events, a high-quality pitching forum and the added value of an exhibition space leading to real deal-making.
ASEAN: a land of opportunities
The ASEAN zone covers ten countries (650 million inhabitants): Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines, a number of which are rapidly growing. The documentary genre is now in development there; national productions do actually exist, for instance in Thailand, where 6 to 8 feature documentaries are released in theatres every year. Up until now, programmes from abroad come mainly from the UK, the US, Japan, and Korea. But broadcasters are open to broadening their sources of supply. “Coproductions are not commonplace yet,” said Yves Jeanneau, CEO of Sunny Side markets. “They are immediately feasible when there is shooting or spending in the country.”
Asian Side of the Doc 2016
Asian Side of the Doc 2016 is coorganised by SUNNY SIDE OF THE DOC and WISHTREND THAILAND, with the support of the MEDIA Programme of the European Union and in partnership with MCOT in Thailand. This Thai public broadcaster has several TV channels and radio stations throughout the territory. MCOT and its production structure PANORAMA produce and broadcast documentaries and would like to develop their international presence. “Apart from the pitching sessions with prizes, Asian Side of the Doc will explore the ASEAN content boom market through several panels on coproduction opportunities, case studies, and synergies with OTT and SVOD platforms,” said Yves Jeanneau. The programme also includes oneto- one meetings and meets the executives’ sessions – important opportunities for exchanges with top TV execs. The ABU – the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union – will be present with many of its members and will show the first productions of the BIG CITIES project in collaboration with the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) and TALTV (Latin America). There will also be the launch in the ASEAN zone of the major project GENERATION WHAT, supported by UNESCO-ASIA, initiated by YAMI2 and UPIAN and supported by the EBU. Finally, Asian Side of the Doc will bring the e-gaming documentary GAME FEVER directed by Hervé Martin-Delpierre and co-produced by ZED (France), Dalian Wanda (China), Intuitive Pictures Inc, Radio Canada and Super Channel, to world premiere and open the Month of Documentary Film programme on November 2 at the Alliance Française Bangkok, in presence of Diego Buñuel, Head of documentaries of the French pay TV Canal Plus who commissioned the film. Shot over two and a half years in 4K, GAME FEVER depicts the ins and outs of the world of eSport, chronicling the lives of star players. It was pitched at Asian Side in 2015.
A new market, new perspectives
“There are many reasons why we chose Bangkok to host this 7th edition”, said Yves Jeanneau. “At the 69th Cannes Film Festival last May, a group of ASEAN film agencies and commissions, came together to introduce and showcase the best of ASEAN productions to the international film community. So, it is genuinely a new market, getting more and more structured and these days that is an opportunity not to be missed. Then, the diversification of channels and new on-line platforms, supported by local government policies, provides new opportunities to sell completed programmes. In short, Bangkok is the perfect hub for the whole ASEAN zone. We will be holding Asian Side of the Doc in a very auspicious and comfortable environment as we will be in the AVANI Riverside Hotel, which will be welcoming us in the best conditions to make this an exceptional event.”
A market of opportunities: Demand for factual is endless
What do documentaries represent for ASEAN?
Yves Jeanneau: You mustn’t forget that ASEAN covers ten countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines. This makes an overall total of some 650 million inhabitants, and these are rapidly developing countries. The documentary is a fairly new idea, although national productions do surprisingly exist, for instance in Thailand where 6 to 8 feature documentaries are released in theatres every year. Asian Side of the Doc will provide an opportunity for internationalisation for most of these countries.
What is the situation in terms of broadcasting and coproduction?
Yves Jeanneau: Supply in foreign programmes comes mainly from the British (BBC WorldWide among others) and the Americans, followed by the Japanese. Thailand is NHK’s leading customer in Asia – the Koreans, etc. But broadcasters are open to broadening their sources of supply in particular in Europe. It is interesting to stress that co-productions are still not an everyday occurrence. They are more immediately feasible when there are shoots or spending in the country. The professional fabric – technicians, technical facilities, studios, etc. – is top quality, as a number of international commercials are shot in Thailand. The cinema and audiovisual industry are up to international standards.
Tell us about MCOT, the main partner of Asian Side of the Doc 2016.
Yves Jeanneau: Our main Thai partner MCOT is a Public Service broadcaster with several TV channels and radio stations throughout the territory. MCOT and its production structure PANORAMA produce and broadcast documentaries and would like to develop their international presence. They attended the most recent Sunny Side of the Doc in June 2016, where they started several coproduction negotiations.
Why is it good for producers and broadcasters to take part in Asian Side of the Doc Bangkok?
Yves Jeanneau: The first point is that it is a new market. When new territories open up to documentaries like this, it is a real opportunity and mustn’t be missed. Then, the diversification of channels and new on-line platforms provides new opportunities to sell completed programmes. Finally, there is no shortage of subjects in this part of the world! There are many discoveries to be made. Social and political issues, historical events, archaeological discoveries and a vast cultural diversity provide a broad range of possibilities. In short, Bangkok is the perfect “hub” for the whole ASEAN zone.