Our latest edition of the TV Real Screenings Festival delivers stunning wildlife, epic travel adventures, enduring mysteries and insightful takes on historical events.
In late 2021, a routine dig in the English countryside uncovered rare proof of a Roman crucifixion. ZDF Studios’ high-end special Anatomy of a Crucifixion takes a deep dive into the landmark discovery. “Bringing together renowned experts, including osteoarchaeologist Dr. Corinne Duhig and biologist Professor Ben Garrod, Anatomy of a Crucifixion sets out to find out the identity of this person, how they lived and why they were sentenced to die a horrible death,” says Nikolas Hülbusch, Director Unscripted. “The film culminates with the first full forensic facial reconstruction of a Roman crucifixion victim, conducted by world-leading expert Joe Mullins.” Taking another insider’s view on history, The Lost Women Spies is a six-parter that delivers a new perspective on World War II. “In April 1942, Winston Churchill and his cabinet took the controversial decision to send female agents to the front line in France,” Hülbusch says. “This proved an immense challenge for Vera Atkins of the Secret Operations Executive (SOE), who had to find women who would pass as French, train them as spies and parachute them into occupied France. Many of them never came back.”
All3Media International is offering buyers an eclectic mix of new and returning brands, many of which take viewers to far-flung locations and deliver the insider access that viewers are clamoring for. Rachel Job, senior VP of non-scripted, highlights a second season of Martin Clunes: Island of the Pacific with the popular British actor. “Journeying across the beautiful natural worlds of the Pacific islands to explore the coral-rich waters, jungle-clad mountains and active volcanoes, he finds himself at the heart of rich lives, cultures and stories of the people who live there.” Malta: Jewel of the Mediterranean from Coming Up Roses is “a beautiful, vibrant series that captures what makes this island so special,” says Job. Wild Caribbean with Liz Bonnin, meanwhile, from Lion TV, follows the award-winning presenter as she “reveals an insightful look at the extraordinary natural wonders of the Caribbean and explores nature’s role in the history, culture and identity of each island nation.” There’s also heartwarming factual entertainment in the mix with Fur Babies and Secret Life of the Safari Park, as well as the documentary Olivia Attwood: The Price of Perfection.
Factual entertainment is also a focus for BossaNova, which boasts a slate that includes Adventure Gold Diggers about mining teams in Australia. “‘Tough jobs’ is one of the most popular genres among buyers around the globe,” says Tatiana Grinkevich, the company’s head of sales. “Adventure Gold Diggers has it all: big ‘gold,’ big wins, big jeopardy and big characters; several confirmed presales prove it!” Ottoman Empire By Train, meanwhile, “reveals the turbulent history of the fascinating Ottoman Empire,” Grinkevich says. “Following the success of the huge Channel 4 hit Ancient Egypt By Train, Professor Alice Roberts takes the railways again to explore a more challenging and mysterious empire.”
A third season of Myths—The Great Mysteries of Humanity is on offer from ZDF Studios. “In each episode, scientists uncover ancient tombs, examine artifacts and go on expeditions in search of the origins of historical legends and myths,” says Margarita Garcia, Director Unscripted. “Archaeologists, historians and adventurers try to unravel the myths of inexplicable events and ancient legends.” Garcia also spotlights the two-part Smart Swarms, in which “internationally renowned scientists and experts from diverse research fields dispel prejudices and show the intelligence of swarms,” she says. “Using high-speed recordings and thermal images of various natural swarms, the researchers attempt to break down swarm codes, explain strange collective behavior and explore how we can learn from nature to bring about astounding technological advances.”
Albatross World Sales is rolling out Webs & Wings—Nature’s Tiny Ballet, which Lisa Anna Schelhas, sales director for Western Europe, the Americas and Australia, bills as “a tale about nature’s least loved animals. We follow ladybugs, flies and spiders on their journeys through nature. The footage, some of it mesmerizing macro photography, is something our buyers will have never seen before—combined with beautiful storytelling and wonderful music.”
ZDF Studios is also delivering new productions in its strong suit of wildlife and nature. Andrea Liebler, Director Unscripted, highlights Gift from the Ice—Japan’s Wild North about the Shiretoko National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its tremendous biodiversity. “With climate change altering the natural habitat of these creatures, what will become of Japan’s biodiversity hotspot?”
Wildlife is also a key pillar at Autentic, with the company showcasing the three-part Scotland—The New Wild from Terra Mater Studios, Maramedia, Skyland Productions, Doclights/NDR Naturfilm and BBC Scotland. “Scotland—The New Wild is all about green storytelling,” says Mirjam Strasser, head of sales and acquisitions at Autentic. “The film creates awareness by shining a light on the ecological issues of our time. Environmental topics affect people around the world. The documentary is especially interesting for global buyers as it highlights the resilience of wildlife. With all the negative news surrounding climate change and environmental crises, viewers always appreciate programs that also give us all a little hope.”
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