A proposed pilot scheme to boost UK theatrical audiences for documentaries was unveiled at Edinburgh during the closing weekend of the Film Festival.
Inspired by the Docuzone initiative in the Nederlands and growing figures for the Sheffield Touring Festival, the scheme, titled Docuspace, is ultimately intended to devise a dedicated exhibition strategy for documentaries in the UK.
The pilot, likely to take place in the autumn of 2003, would see around seven venues participating in four to eight week runs of over 50 documentaries during an eighteen month period and backed by substantial media support.
Among those attending the launch and pledging their support for the pilot were Kees Ryniks of Docuzone, Diane Weyermann representing the Sundance Institute, Murray Weston from the British Universities Film And Video Council and Nick Fraser, editor of BBC documentary strand Storyville, who cited the 'rising tide of shit on television' as a reason audiences were increasingly turning towards documentaries and keen to seen them in cinemas.
Docuspace Director and documentary filmmaker Amy Hardie expressed her hope that the pilot would be supported by Scottish Screen and the Film Council and make a virtue of new technology that would allow venues to retain their disc of the film and play repeat runs to build word of mouth. Weyermann declared it to be :"A very exciting initiative that we see as a model that could be transported to other parts of the world. I would love to see it come to the US."
Top Ten Documentaries in the UK 1991-2002
Title (Distributor)/ Release date/ Total UK gross
1 In Bed With Madonna (Rank)/ 19 July 1991/ $1,956,154
2 Buena Vista Social Club (FilmFour)/ 17 Sept 1999/ $1,499,651
3 When We Were Kings (Polygram)/ 16 May 1997/ $848,057
4 Microcosmos (Pathe)/ 16 May 1997/ $408,532
5 Lost In La Mancha (Optimum)/ 2 Aug 2002/ $260,888
6 Kurt And Courtney (Downtown)/ 3 July 1998/ $253,997
7 Elvis: That's The Way It Is (Blue Dolphin)/ 16 Mar 2001/ $194,943
8 The Filth And The Fury (FilmFour)/ 12 May 2000/ $184,116
9 32 Films About Glenn Gould (Electric)/ 17 June 1994/ $179,480
10 One Day In September (Helkon SK)/ 19 May 2000/ $176,553