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Theme Festival - Documentary Television

About this Festival

We uncover the most compelling documentary television available from global suppliers to help channels keep it real.

Programming Profile

Golden age of docs


Clive Whittingham examines what’s trending in documentaries, whether Covid-themed projects are in or out and what the big concerns are for distributors heading into 2021.


Once the doyen of independent cinemas, film festivals and premium US cablenets, documentaries have been having a bit of a moment for a while now since Netflix reawakened broadcasters to their popularity. Linear channels and streamers alike have been rushing to snap up the high-profile projects, such as Knock Down The House and Leaving Neverland, often paying big money into the bargain.


With the Covid-19 outbreak have come fresh challenges but also new trends. Stefanie Fischer, MD of sales at European producer and distributor Off The Fence, was one of several distribution executives who told us that “upbeat projects that offer escapism” are in high demand at the moment. “We get a lot of feedback about needing positive, lighter docs, nothing too hard at the moment,” she says. “There is also interest in sustainability and nutrition.”


That’s echoed by Edel Edwards, head of sales at the distribution arm of Irish pubcaster RTÉ, who says: “Feelgood, light-hearted, escapist and comforting programming is in demand as well as a lot of self-care and wellness content. Audiences are becoming more conscious of the environment they live in and wellbeing.”