Arte France looks for environmental docs, renews PBS agreement

Arte France and PBS in the US have renewed their co-production agreement, the former’s head of society and culture unit, Fabrice Puchault, told TBI at Sunny Side of the Doc.

Previously speaking at Fipadoc in January, Puchault regretted that the agreement renewal was not moving forward as quickly as hoped due to the pandemic.

“More precisely it is a co-development agreement, it is about finding stories that can work both sides of the Atlantic. It forces us to have a permanent dialogue,” he commented further.

In related news, during the channel’s presentation in La Rochelle, Arte France announced it is putting more emphasis on environmental documentaries, looking to acquire and co-produce more of them, as they will have a special corner on the platform. Some will also be broadcast on the channel, such as in the Arte Decouverte daily access prime time strand, explained further Héléne Coldefy, head of specialist factual. As the broadcaster looks to be everywhere on the digital space, Coldefy’s unit is also developing a TV show about sciences to be broadcast on Twitch.

The channel is looking to build its online offering, with it’s on-demand platform becoming its priority point of focus. “Arte is not a TV channel anymore, it is a platform that has the chance to own a TV channel,” Arte France editorial director Boris Razon said when introducing the session.

During the presentation, Arte highlighted it was one of the co-production partners of major 25 documentaries project, Generation Africa, where African filmmakers share their vision. The series will have a special corner on as well, while some of the docs will be broadcast. “There would have been no strand for 25 documentaries. Fortunately we also are a platform,” Puchault said to illustrate the new paradigm.

Puchault also announced Arte has started talks with a collective of Ukrainian filmmakers with plans to produce a number of documentaries about their vision of the war in Ukraine.

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