Sheffield DocFest this year will feature commissioning panels from Paramount+, Nat Geo and a Question Time format panel with commissioners from various broadcasters.

In a departure from pre-pandemic years, there will not be sessions dedicated to specialist factual, documentary and factual entertainment.

The commissioner panel, moderated by Patrick Holland, executive chair of Banijay UK, taking place on 28th June, will hear from Guy Davies, vp, commissioning editor, Factual, Channel 5 / Paramount+, Poppy Dixon Documentaries & Factual, Sky Documentaries, Alisa Pomeroy, head of Documentaries, Channel 4, Jo Clinton-Davis, controller of Factual, ITV and Clare Sillery head of Documentary Commissioning, Content, BBC.

They will talk about commissioning opportunities, comment on recent successes and discuss the changing landscape and how producers can keep innovating for their channels.

As global streamer Paramount+ goes live in the UK, a session supported by the streamer will offer a chance to explore how it works, who commissions what, and what are their factual needs when it comes to commissioning. With a focus on high-end content, commissions for Paramount+, including box sets and feature length documentaries, the session features a mix of commissioning editors and heads of leading indies.

Guy Davies will be joined by  Lucy Willis, vp, commissioning editor Non Scripted UK Originals, Channel 5 / Paramount+, Daniel Pearl vp, Unscripted Originals, Paramount +, Fatima Salaria, md, Naked, Camilla Lewis, founder, Curve Media, Bridget Bosely, creative director, Wag Entertainment and Adam Hopkins Story Films.

A panel entitled Working with Nat Geo, will hear from the UK-based commissioning team sharing insights into the development and production of content that supports the National Geographic Society’s core mission of science, exploration, conservation and education. The session will focus on two series currently in production. Moderated by  Dinah Lord, from Caravan Films, speakers include Carolyn Payne , Simon Raikes, Ben Noot, Tim Beudel, all from Nat Geo, and joined by Carlo Massarella, from Windfall Films.

Elsewhere UKTV’s deputy director of Commissioning Hilary Rosen and senior commissioning editor Helen Nightingale  share their insight on the link between star power and ratings success for factual content.





Pippa Considine

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