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Documentary Business

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In Memory

At Risk in Russia: Soviet-Era Nuclear Icebreaker Smashes Arctic Floes… and the Budget! (Case Study)

The Siberian Nuclear Icebreaker Case Study (April, 2011) reveals how producer Vinnie Kraylevich risked his life and finances when he hitched a ride on a Soviet-Era icebreaker. It is my all-time favorite post about the risk that producers take on when they pursue the jeopardy-filled stories sought by platforms, channels and viewers.   His Nuclear …

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Polio Virus Documentary: A Case Study in the Defeat of a Raging Epidemic

A SHOT TO SAVE THE WORLD is a special about Jonas Salk’s race to defeat the dreaded polio virus. It captures how strong, unifying leadership and Science-based government can overcome a terrible global epidemic. I became committed as an Executive Producer. Bill Gates kindly agreed to serve as the narrator of our film, and his foundation supported …

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Documentaries in the Streaming Era: 2020 predictions, Apple TV+’s The Elephant Queen, and much more in our Monthly News Highlights

Here are our top stories for December ’19, curated with our friends at Sunny Side of the Doc. Losing Yves Jeanneau: Read a selection of tributes to Yves Jeanneau, Sunny Side of the Doc co-founder, executive director and our friend, who passed away on November 14 // Sunny Side’s Official Announcement // Peter Hamilton // Realscreen // TV France International // Telerama and many more. Development …

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Netflix 2023 What You Need To Know Now


Steve Burns, veteran programming executive reflects on the changing documentary landscape. Podcast

STEVE BURNS has enjoyed senior management roles at Nat Geo, Discovery Networks and CuriosityStream. Our podcast topic: HOW THE DOCUMENTARY LANDSCAPE HAS CHANGED SINCE THE ‘EIGHTIES. First, Steve shares his shock and loss on hearing that Sunny Side’s Yves Jeanneau had passed away. We discuss the rise of big budget international co-productions, “Occu-soaps”, character-led Reality, and …

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Russell Kagan, the “Mayor of Cannes” — International Television Pioneer, and an Always Generous Cheerleader and Inspiration

Today I learned that Russ Kagan had passed away after a brief illness. Russell played an outsize role in Discovery’s journey from struggling new channel to factual behemoth by introducing promising new sources of programs. He tutored Discovery’s fledgling programmers (and consultants) on how to execute numerous deal types that weren’t then considered possible for …

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