International editor John Elmes highlights which programmes are likely to make biggest splash in Cannes

What a difference a year makes. This time in 2022, I was writing about the epic scale of Broadcast’s Mipcom Hot Picks and some of the big genre set pieces on display from distributors as the market returned with fervour.

This year, there is a definite undercurrent of local, sometimes more intimate, stories on offer in our scripted selection – from BBC Studios’ Truelove, Fifth Season’s Strife and StudioCanal’s Of Money And Blood to Cineflix Rights’ Men Up.

There is a real emphasis on genre-blending among distributors’ scripted titles, with a heavy dose of shows that fuse drama with comedic elements. This is perhaps capturing a mood in the industry and beyond that everyone could do with some levity to counterbalance the gloomy realities of fragile economies, cost-of-living crises and cataclysmic environmental episodes.

“While the shows might have a more intimate focus, they certainly don’t lack ambition”

Among these, APC Studios serial-killer dark comedy Obituary, Boat Rocker’s Slip, All3Media International’s Boat Story and ITV Studios’ Dead Hot all focus on ‘normal’ characters thrust into extraordinary circumstances.

While the shows might have a more intimate focus, they certainly don’t lack ambition. Beta Film’s Estonia is an eye-catching and big-budget account of the horrific 1994 maritime disaster, while Paramount Global Content Distribution’s Bargain is a whirlwind mish-mash of action, horror, thriller and humour.

John Elmes

In the ever-popular factual arena, important historical questions are asked by The Dark Emu Story from ABC Commercial, making its debut in Broadcast’s Hot Picks under my watch. True crime is again to the fore but our selections strive to move a saturated genre on in both subject and style. Elsewhere, Passion Distribution’s Strip is an enlightening entry into the ob-doc canon.

The common theme among our Hot Picks is care – there is a distinct feeling that distributors are being hyper-selective about titles for their catalogues, in the knowledge that every programming investment has to succeed.

And that is no bad thing, as our assortment of shows illustrates. Enjoy.

  • John Elmes is the international editor & debuty news editor of Broadcast