Industry Report: Documentary
Mark Wild • National Geographic Television
- You are looking for projects in Europe for National Geographic Television; could you tell me more about your role as a representative of the channel in Europe?
The idea is to bring back cultural diversity to National Geographic TV, which is predominantly based in Washington. My role involves working with independent producers outside the USA to make stories for National Geographic as well as the rest of the world. There will be commissions involving people from Europe in London, Spain, France.
Which countries would you coproduce with?
It doesn’t really matter; it’s completely story-driven; if there are good stories in Poland, France or in Spain we will be working with those people. There has to be a synergy, a symbiotic relationship. Hopefully, the experience of National Geographic TV can help the independent producers to tell their story. It is a mutual beneficial relationship. I don’t want their idea to make it for the US; it is going to be the other way around; working with them will help to make a better story.
How many films do you produce per year?
There is no rush; I’m just looking to find really good films, so it is ‘slower, better’, rather than ‘faster, leaner, meaner’, although you obviously have to be the latter too.
Is there an annual budget you are working with?
There is no budget as per se, or a limit; the ideas have to fit within the kind of a basic brand of National Geographic and the channel. I think a really good story will find the money. It’s the same with film; a really good script will eventually find the money to make it into a movie. I always believed that, and I come from film. It does take time, and it’s incredible difficult in these times but good stories will come out.
How does being based in London help your job?
It is a good step stone into Europe, and it is also a friendly part, it is so simpatico to the rest of Europe.
Documentary Campus, 23 & 24 May 2009
Faster, Keener, Leaner, Meaner: Survival of the Fittest in Factual