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The documentary projects vying for the 2024 Sunny Side of the Doc Global Pitch for Global Change award examine a range of topics linked to the sustainable development goals defined by the United Nations.

On Feb. 6 and 7, the 12 selected projects will be pitched to key international decision makers from NRTVE, IDA, S4C, BBC, PBS, TG4, NHK, Arte, German Films, Channel 4, RAI, ZDF, Mediawan, Sky Deutschland, Canal Curta, Little Dot Studios and France 24, amongst others.

The two-day online event, sponsored by AJB DOC Film Festival, Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, precedes the 35th anniversary edition of in-person international documentary marketplace Sunny Side of the Doc (24-27 June, La Rochelle – France), which will be focused on the future of the ecosystem and the documentary genre itself.

Ahmed Mahfouz Nouh, managing director, Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, said: “We understand the crucial urgency of documenting the journey towards sustainable development and a better life. Let’s collectively appreciate our planet through this platform provided by Global Pitch, understand its challenges, and explore the paths where progress meets sustainability. Join us, make a difference, and become a part of the solution.”

This year, the Global Pitch attracted more than 130 projects from 45 countries, including from across Africa and Asia Pacific, with two-thirds of the selected projects originating from first or second time filmmakers.

Mathieu Béjot, director of strategy and development at Sunny Side of the Doc, said: “The deliberately broad theme of the sustainable development goals has enabled us to receive an incredible diversity of high-quality projects from all continents. In their own way, all the projects, whether selected or not, illustrate the acute awareness that people around the world have of the major issues facing the world today. Almost all the objectives are addressed in the projects, which is hardly surprising given that they are known to be highly interdependent, to the point where they may result in conflicting goals and achievements, as illustrated by several projects in the selection. And yet, only 15% of these objectives, which are essential to our very survival, are on the right track. It is therefore our responsibility to continue to provide a platform, such as the Global Pitch, for these impactful stories to find partners, so that the messages of the activists and whistleblowers they highlight can ultimately reach the public.”

The jury of industry experts who will select the winning project includes Jane Mote (The Whickers), Patricia Finneran (The StoryBoard Collective) and Mohammed Saïd Ouma (Documentary Africa Fund). The award-winning project will receive a cash prize of €3,000 ($3,280) as well as two free market passes for Sunny Side of the Doc.

2024 Global Pitch for Global Change Projects

“Camels of the Sea”
Produced by: Elefant Films (India)
Directed by: Vikram Singh
Logline: Swimming camels, traveling caravans and nomadic customs collide with extractive capitalism in this portrait of a pastoralist family on the front-lines of India’s brutal march towards becoming a global economic powerhouse.

“For Venida, For Kalief”
Produced by: Abstract Nomadic Media (U.S.)
Directed by: Sisa Bueno
Logline: Via the poetry of Venida Browder, whose transcendent son Kalief Browder became the face of a movement for incarceration reform, this film presents their humanizing story shifting their legacy from their tragic deaths to their lives and afterlives.

“Forgotten Land”
Produced by: Purple Mango Pictures Limited (Kenya)
Directed by: Karanja Ng’endo
Logline: In the aftermath of a devastating drought, a young Maasai student and their family must rebuild their lives while navigating the challenges of education and preserving their traditional way of life.

“Plastic Love!”
Produced by: Sybilla Patrizia (Japan)
Directed by: Sybilla Patrizia
Logline: From the hands of Tokyo’s trash collectors all the way to a rural Zero Waste village—we follow social trailblazers as they unravel decades of unsustainable practices that have led Japan to become one of the world’s worst, hidden plastic polluters, sparking a search for radical ideas that may save us, and our planet, from a plastic-wrapped future.”

“Radioactive Gold
Produced by: The Moving Visuals Co. PTE Ltd (Singapore), Deepak Bara (India)
Directed by: Deepak Bara
Logline: Chernobyl. Fukushima. Beyond war, the world has seen how the deadly effects of radiation can wreak havoc on people and the environment. But in a sleepy hamlet of India, we investigate a more insidious and overlooked issue that has affected the local population for decades. Is this a massive cover up or larger catastrophe in the making?

Produced by: Axel Rise Films (Australia), The Why Foundation (Denmark)
Directed by: Chouwa Liang
Logline: With the widespread use of AI chatbots, young urban women in China are trying out a ‘never-ending’ love affair with machines.

Produced by: In Films PTY Ltd (Australia)
Directed by: Nial Fulton
Logline: As the world desperately raced to contain the pandemic, scientists faced a critical shortage of monkeys on which to test potential vaccines. Sentient uncovers the dark secrets of the global trade in primates and the price we pay for our mistreatment of these animals.

“The New Climate Fairytale”
Produced by: Cinephage (France), Petra Pan Films (Slovenia)
Directed by: Jean-Robert Viallet
Logline: Adaptation: the process of changing to suit different conditions. In the wake of the climate crisis, it means changing our way of life to survive its consequences. Is Climate change adaptation a pragmatic new answer or a solution chosen decades ago?

“Tough Old Broads”
Produced by: H2L Productions Inc. (Canada), Myna Ishulutak (Canada)
Directed by: Stacey Tenenbaum
Logline: Tough Old Broads follows three trailblazing women as they continue to make waves into their older years. With determination and grit, these ladies shed light on what it takes to make it in a ‘man’s world’ and what old age looks like when you’re a self-described tough old broad.

“Waiting for Winter”
Produced by: Noyakar Productions (Bangladesh), House on Fire (France)
Directed by: Farid Ahmad
Logline: Bangladesh is the largest river delta in the world where devastating floods occur every summer. When winter arrives, an island reappears in the Jamuna River and a homeless single mother struggles for her dignity, freedom and for a safe home in a world where all odds are against her.

“Water on Fire”
Produced by: Uhuru Productions (South Africa)
Directed by: Franco Clerc
Logline: Hit by recurring cyclones, droughts and floods, Madagascar is the first country to experience climate induced famine. A filmmaker sets out to show the rest of the world what is coming if we don’t act on climate. But instead of finding despair, he finds hope in the young activists, from some of the country’s most remote villages.

“Widow Champion”
Produced by: Afrofilms international (Kenya), 10th Street Films Llc (U.S.)
Directed by: Zippy Kimundu
Logline: Thrown out of her home and off her land by her in-laws, a Kenyan widow becomes a fighter for women’s land rights in a deeply patriarchal community. “Widow Champion” Rhoda leads other women to fight for what is rightfully theirs, her story exposing the rift between modern and traditional beliefs.

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