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What's hot in docs? Good stories

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CANNES: What's hot in docs? The same as is to be expected if truth be told.

Good content allied to the creative use of the latest technologies (which are getting easier to access because of equipment costs continuously coming down) is the ultimate killer application.

Storyboards need to have universal appeal if they're to have global outreach. But more often than not, a documentary TV and film makers has to have stories rooted in his/her cultural milieu uppermost in mind if he is to make an immediate impact.

These were some of the points highlighted during a Saturday evening session at the Noga Hilton in Cannes where MIPDOC screenings and discussions are being conducted. Moderated by Debra Zimmerman, executive director, Women Make Movies Inc, speakers included Boreales' Frederic Fougea, Paperny Films president David Paperny, Canadian Film Board film programs director-general Tom Perlmutter and First hand Films' CEO Esther Van Messel.

A point that was made during the session was that the 'downflow' of newer techniques and equipment was allowing for a 'real opening of new creative expression' in art.

Fougea inserted a cautionary note into the optimistic picture, however, when he pointed out that due to the increasing clutter of 'media noise' it was increasingly more difficult to 'get heard.' This meant that huge outlays were needed towards marketing efforts if documentaries were to have a serious shot at making a mark.

The increasing demand of big broadcasters like Discovery and National Geographic for producers to switch to high definition (HD) TV formats were also mentioned as a cost escalator, though there was agreement that this was the future as far as television was concerned.

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