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C21 DIGITAL SCREENINGS

HG Distribution

Programming Profile

HG Distribution goes global

02-09-2020

Canadian distributor HG Distribution has scoured the globe to bring a new slate of content to showcase this week via the C21 Digital Screenings.

 

Quebec-based HG Distribution traditionally only distributes programming that was produced in Canada, specifically from the Francophone province, but has recently widened its net to include content from outside the country.

 

“We have focused for many years on distributing Canadian content, but more and more of the producers we work with have built coproduction deals all over the world, which has brought us many referrals,” CEO Henry Gagnon explains.

 

“So now we have content from Vietnam, Italy, Poland, France, Germany – from all over the world. The majority of our content is still Canadian, but we’re picking up more and more international content to distribute internationally.”

 

In line with this, three of the shows on HG Distribution’s playlist in C21’s Digital Screenings this week are from outside Canada. The first, Monta in the Odd Galaxy (10×30’/40×7.5’), is a children’s action comedy series from Vintata Animation Studio in Vietnam, in which Monta has to gather his friends to travel to odd planets and fix the oddest problems.

 

Gagnon
Henry Gagnon,
HGagnon Distribution

The second, Four Paws Educator (4×60’), is a docuseries from Nico Productions TV in France that follows teenagers as they spend 10 days at a specialised equestrian farm. The third show, Polpetta & Friends (39×5’), is an animated adventure series for kids from Grugnostudios Animation in Italy, about a sweet, friendly little alien who crash-lands on Earth.

 

The remaining nine programmes on HG Distribution’s playlist, which are also either factual or kids’ shows, come from Canadian producers. According to Gagnon, each of the shows were picked “because of their originality and quality” and due to the fact they are “mostly all new.”

 

Monta in the Odd Galaxy
Monta in the Odd Galaxy

One of the programmes, Wild Game (9×30’), was filming just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, which resulted in the final three episodes being cut. Rather than putting filming on hold and resuming once lockdown restrictions lifted, it was decided to reduce the number of episodes from the 12 that had been originally planned to nine.

 

Produced by Wild Game Productions, the docuseries follows Top Chef Canada finalist Rich Francis as he journeys through the Canadian countryside, where he joins hunters and gatherers, farmers and fishermen to learn, catch and cook indigenous meals using natural, wild ingredients.

 

Skate the World
Skate the World

Docuseries Skate the World (13×60’), meanwhile, wrapped filming just before lockdown measures were enforced, leaving the production teams to finish post-production in isolation. The show, which explores various countries through their skateboarding communities, is produced by L’Équipage and Quiet Motion.

 

Both Skate the World and Wild Game represent a trend in audience demand for travel-themed shows, according to Gagnon, who says they have become popular since Covid-related travel bans were enforced.

 

“Travel within documentaries has seen an increase in viewership and interest. If people can’t do it themselves, they might as well dream about it and watch programmes about it. As part of our strategy, we’re going towards that kind of content,” he says.

 

Celebrating Together
Celebrating Together

Also in the travel and culture genres is youth docuseries Celebrating Together (33×12’), produced by Balestra Productions. The show, for which two seasons are available, features children who have emigrated to Canada with their families as they enjoy cultural celebrations from their countries of origin.

 

All of the programmes in HG Distribution’s playlist are ready and immediately available to buy, and four of them have travelled particularly well so far, according to the CEO.

 

Parconaute, The Best Markets on Earth, World Laughs and Schools Like No Others, which are a little bit older, are still top of the list,” he says. “They’ve been selling in Asia and Europe with all four of them sold into between five and 12 countries each.”

 

Parconaute
Parconaute

Produced by Quiet Motion, Parconaute (16×60’) is a docuseries that explores the wonderful world of theme parks around the globe, while World Laughs (20×60’), also a Quiet Motion production, takes viewers on a journey to find out where, why and how people laugh the most.

 

The Best Markets on Earth (21×60’), meanwhile, visits some of the most fascinating markets around the world, while Schools Like No Others (26×60’) looks into the lives of the pupils of two schools. Both docuseries come from Eurêka! Productions.

 

The final two shows in HG Distribution’s playlist are one-off docs Titans (1×52’) and The Royal Roads of the Incas (1×60’). The former, produced by William Kraushaar, explores the universe of seven indigenous species of large and exotic-looking bugs that inhabit gardens and parks. The latter, produced by Jean-Pierre Lavigne, documents the fascinating rise of the Inca Empire.

 

The Royal Roads of the Incas
The Royal Roads of the Incas

According to Gagnon, each of the shows are flexible with regards to the platforms or channels they would suit, but are mostly targeted at mainstream broadcasters. The exec’s ambition is to sell each programme “into every country with one major broadcaster.”

 

“That’s my goal,” he says. “Most of them are already in Canada because that’s where they originated, while some others are at the major broadcasters of their countries, like Italy or Vietnam, and I’m trying to do the same all over the world, repeating that for different territories.”



More programming profiles

  • 11-11-2021

    Henry Gagnon, CEO of Quebec’s HG Distribution, talks us through the teen-friendly shows his company is focusing on via its presence on C21’s Digital Screenings this week.

     

    Quebec-based HG Distribution has a programme catalogue focused on the three key areas of docuseries, children’s shows and web series. For its playlist on C21’s Digital Screenings, the distributor has selected three titles from its scripted slate, catering to the increased demand for drama the company has experienced in recent months.

     

    “The drama part is growing a lot,” says CEO Henry Gagnon. “Does it have something to do with cinemas being closed for the last year-and-a-half, when we’ve all been looking for entertaining content? Most of the world has now finished watching the Netflix catalogue, so everybody’s looking outside of that and trying to find some new stuff.”
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  • 15-06-2020

    Henry Gagnon, CEO at HGagnon Distribution, talks us through his C21 Digital Screenings playlist and explains why his company is different from other Quebecois distributors.

     

    Montreal-based HGagnon Distribution prides itself on only distributing third-party programming and not producing any of its own to compete with that supplied by its content partners.

     

    “I’m one of the very rare independent distributors in Canada, meaning I’m not producing. I don’t think there are any others in French-Canada, they are all either associated with a production company or part of one,” says CEO Henry Gagnon.

     

    “We represent more than 106 producers but we make nothing ourselves. I wake up each morning thinking about the next buyer and I go to bed in the evening thinking about the next buyer for tomorrow, so I don’t develop or produce. I’m pretty much all about hunting buyers for the readymade content we represent.”
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