Scandinavia was highly visible at Cannes? annual TV market MIPDOC/MIP TV (April 5-11), swooping two major awards at the Interactive Emmy Awards and attracting strong interest on its quality documentaries from the traditionally buyout European market, to Middle East and Asia.

Finland and Sweden creative talents were celebrated on April 8 during the third Interactive Emmy Awards ceremony attended by over 150 international executives from the television, broadband and mobile industries. Finland’s children’s programme Staraoke -an interactive cross-media concept combining a TV show for kids with a karaoke-type PC game and a web community- won in the Interactive Programme category. Staraoke was directed by Juha Stenholm and produced by Lotta Perander.

Sweden’s The Truth About Marika produced by Swedish public broadcaster SVT in association with Company P, won the Best Interactive TV Service. The programme is the first true participation drama for TV, the internet, mobile phone and radio. “From being 10 steps behind, we (at SVT) are now one step ahead,” said Daniel Lägersten, head of project at SVT. “Everything here at the market is about creating an interaction with the audience, and with The Truth About Marika we have already succeeded in this,” he said.

SVT’s sales arm had good foot traffic at its MIP TV stand, although ‘less spontaneous visits than usual” for Veronica Carlson, head of programme and format sales. SVT’s flagship documentary The Nun presented for the first time at MIPDOC was sold to Ireland (RTE) and Poland (Fabrik Service TV), pushing the number of territories sold so far to ten. Ireland and Poland also acquired the new documentary Palace Hotel directed by Ulric Bellman. Japan showed a strong interest in the award-winning documentary A Prime-Minister Ten Years Behind the Scene, Holland for the children’s programme My Life before Birth and Enormous Machines showing girls driving trucks, and deals from Germany were pending on the drama series The Ice Princess.

For DR Sales, the TV market had a fantastic start with Sundance Channel pre-buying the documentary film The Biggest Chinese restaurant in the World just before the start of MIPDOC. Directed by Oscar-short-listed Chinese filmmaker Wejun Chen who took part in the Why Democracy series, the documentary film was shown as a rough cut in Cannes. “It is a fascinating portrayal of this restaurant, like a small Chinese microcosm, and visually stunning,” said Charlotte Gry Madsen, DR Sales Consultant. “It is offered as a 4x30min, 58min or 90min programme, but most people want the one hour version which will be scheduled around the Olympic Games.” The biggest Chinese Restaurant was produced by Drive Thru Pictures in the UK for BBC and DR, in association with SVT, NRK, YLE, VRT, VPRO and SBS.

Also in production, It’s Redykyulass about elections in Kenya was pre-sold to Australia and attracted a lot of interest.

Among DR Sales’ other new documentaries, A Beautiful Tragedy produced by Norway’s Faction Film, was sold to Israel and Iceland, with deals pending for Korea and Belgium. A Baby Business about child adoption in India was screened by most buyers and sold to Belgium and Iceland. Fifteen deals in total were closed in Cannes. “DR is a great brand value for documentaries. People expect a high quality level and come back to us,” stressed Gry Madsen. DR’s two new drama series Album and The Summers also screened very well.

TV2 World had a record market with as many as 30 confirmed sales on Nordic titles. “Some of our new documentaries went down very well at MIPDOC,” noted Anne Köhncke, sales executive. Dishonoured produced by Norway’s Basic TV was sold to Ireland (RTE), Switzerland (SF) and Poland (TVP). The award-winning Mechanical Love produced by Tju Bang Film with support from Nordisk Film & TV Fond continued to attract buyers, such as VPRO (The Netherlands), VRT (Belgium) and RTV (Slovenia) and more deals were pending. Afghan Muscles produced by Nimbus Film was sold to Arte (France) and The Madrid Connection, produced by PWP Production and Easy Film, to IBA (Israel).

In the Children fiction genre, Marcus & the Eagle (basic TV) was picked up by YLE (Finland) who also bought two new seasons of the Karaoke Showdown format programme. Among Drama series, the third season of Anna Pihl (Cosmo Film) attracted a lot of interest, but as stressed by Köhncke, sales take longer to close with this genre as more people are involved in the negotiations. Another TV drama which caught buyers’ attention was Iceland’s 6x50min crime series The Press, produced by Saga Film.

Nordic World represented for the first time by its new managing director Espen S. Huseby had a high visibility with full page advertising in trade magazine MIP TV news. “Our company is still relatively new and Norwegian public broadcaster NRK just recently joined us. It was important to tell people who we are and promote our four brands TV2 Norway, TV4 Sweden, MTV3 Finland and NRK,” said Huseby.

Again, documentaries were the most popular products on Nordic World’s line up, such as TV2 Norway’s 3x50min Future of Water narrated by world renowned professor Terje Tvedt, closed to Japan, and Nordisk Film’s The Scream and Madonna.

Huseby who is putting together a new business plan for his company, has high ambitions for Nordic World. “I’d like to position Nordic World as the preferred place for documentaries coming out of Scandinavia. Nordic countries are too small to all have their individual sales divisions for documentaries. We should all work together and do something in common. The market demands it,” he stressed.