French producer and distributor ZED was part of Unifrance Rendez-Vous in Biarritz, to present its highlight titles to global buyers. "It's a great opportunity to showcase all our new releases, and to build coproductions around our projects in a favorable environment", said Charlotte Tachet, Head of Distribution and Acquisitions.
This year, ZED is promoting investigative films revolving around current burning issues. Among them, a film about the looming succession battle over the 14th Dalai Lama, produced for ARTE and an historical investigation from Tohubohu about Pakistani historical background over the last 30 years, thats heds light on what is at stake today in the region. “Elections are planned for early 2024,” commented Tachet.
For the upcoming anniversary of WWII D-Day, ZED also announced an ambitious history doc “D-Day: 100 days to beat the Third Reich”, a big co-production with TF1 Group, directed by David Korn-Brzoza, for the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings. ZED’s executive also mentioned another upcoming 2024 film, “Viking Women, the Untold Saga” in partnership with Ubisoft, for France TV, Histoire and SVT, highlighting the role of women in the frozen lands while offering a nuanced, precise portrait of Viking society. “We’re using 3D images from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and it will be a highly visual, appealing film,” said Tachet.
As for environmental issues, ZED also has several projects underway. “We’re very proud to be launching the 5x52’ upcoming series ‘Our Forests’ produced by Lato Sensu/Wide Studios for ARTE, with the support of UNESCO. A big impact campaign worldwide is coming up” anticipated ZED’s executive. The series will propel audiences through five primary forests around the world to meet their guardians and their peoples, discover their precious biodiversity and explore solutions for safeguarding these unique, threatened natural spaces. “The series will both be very character-driven and deeply universal,” Tachet said. Still in nature and ecology documentaries, ZED currently boasts “Animals, Drugs, Sex & Fun”, an original program to reveal the complexity of animal pleasure. “It’s a very entertaining film that will speak to a large audience,” she added.
Unifrance and CNC report has announced a post-pandemic recovery in the documentary sector, but is now coming up against new obstacles. “Our main challenge is to adapt to the multiple editorial needs of the broadcasters and non linear platforms and navigate through their demands, the rights’ availability increasing complexity to work towards a form of harmony” commented Tachet. She then explained that Anglo-saxon partners are for instance increasingly asking for long-running series now whereas in Europe, it’s not very common to have this kind of slots. “As a distributor, and also as a producer, you often have to think about how to produce different formats to meet sometimes very different needs,” she concluded.