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Editorials

Must-See Films at London Film Festival 2020

September 24, 2020
London Film Festival - Big Picture Film Club

The London Film Festival has announced its program for October 2020. And will be offering the opportunity for many new people to view their program. Because many of the festival selections will be available not only on BFI Player during the festivals run but also in cinema events across the UK.

But which films should you check out? Today I am going to suggest seven films on the festival roster to look forward to. And tell you why they should be on your watchlist. Let’s begin.

Another Round (Druk) (Drama)

Danish director Thomas Vinterberg has reteamed with The Hunt‘s Mads Mikkelsen for this drama about four high school teachers. Their aim – to see if life is improved by maintaining a consistent alcohol blood level. With a killer premise, helmed by a great director and one of today’s best actors, Another Round should be an interesting ride. And if it’s half as good as The Hunt, audiences will definitely be pleased.

Mads Mikkelsen getting drunk in Another Round [Source: IMDb]

The Cheaters (Classic Crime)

The festival also includes some restored and recovered films for classic film lovers. One of the more interesting ones being the oldest film at the festival. Made by filmmaking pioneers the McDonagh’s sisters and restored by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia; it follows the story of an embezzler’s daughter falling for the son of her father’s worst enemy. 1929s The Cheaters is one of Australia’s major surviving silent films. And audiences can now see it as originally intended.

The Cheaters restored at the London Film Festival [Source BFI]
Romance and crime in Australian classic The Cheaters [Source: BFI]

Friendship’s Death (Classic Sci-Fi)

Another older entry in the London Film Festival’s program is this science fiction film about an alien android named Friendship (Tilda Swinton). Who lands on earth in the midst of the Jordanian Black September War. And begins debating with a journalist about if humanity is worth saving. Swinton is one of the all-time greatest actresses. So the opportunity to see an early performance from her in even more detail, thanks to a restored print, is too great to refuse.

Friendship's death at the London Film Festival [Source: Mubi]
An early performance from Tilda Swinton in Friendship’s Death [Source: Mubi]

Mangrove (TV)

The latest project from Steve McQueen, the Oscar-winning director behind great films like 12 Years a Slave. Mangrove is part of McQueen’s Small Axe series. Which is based on the real experiences of the London West Indian community. It focuses on the trial of nine activists falsely accused of inciting a riot at Notting Hill’s Mangrove restaurant. With McQueen’s involvement and the current political climate regarding race and the police, this looks to be a hard-hitting; important watch.

Mangrove at the London Film Festival [Source Empire]
On trial in Steve McQueen’s Mangrove [Source: Empire]

Relic (Horror)

There has been a lot of buzz around Relic since its Sundance debut earlier this year. The film centres on a mother and daughter as they try to look after their grandmother. However, the grandmother’s house slowly begins to be infiltrated by supernatural forces that seemingly parallel the onset of the grandmother’s dementia. It has already been compared to Hereditary and The Babadook. So, if you’re looking for an atmospheric, symbolic horror film, Relic will be right up your alley.

Relic at the London Film Festival [Source Signature Entertainment]
The poster for Relic [Source: Signature Entertainment]

Ultraviolence (Documentary)

This documentary explores various deaths that have occurred at the hands of the UK police force. As well as the heart-break many families have suffered because of it. This doc may be too much for some. With a warning given on the festival website, due to footage of real violence. But in a year that has seen worldwide condemnation of police violence, Ultraviolence looks to shine a light on the dark side of UK law and order.

Ultraviolence [Source YouTube]
The movie that according to the trailer, “the police and politicians will not want you to see”. [Source: YouTube]

Wolfwalkers (Animation)

The latest offering from Cartoon Saloon, who previously made Oscar Nominee’s Song of the Sea and The Breadwinner; Wolfwalkers is the beautiful animated story of Robyn, who journeys with her father from England to Ireland to destroy the wolf population. But Robyn’s resolve is soon tested when she befriends Mebh, an Irish wolfwalker (someone who becomes a wolf when they sleep). With gorgeous designs, an intriguing story, and an acclaimed studio backing it, Wolfwalkers could be another awards contender in the making.

Wolfwalkers [Source Hollywood Reporter]
Robyn and Mebh in Wolfwalkers [Source: Hollywood Reporter]

So ends our list of London Film Festival films to look forward to. You can find more information about these and other festival film screenings on their online program. And lastly please share your thoughts on these films if you get the opportunity to see them.

Also Read: BAFTA: Steering Towards Greater Inclusion

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Editorials

Coronavirus: How It’s Affected The Film Industry (Part Two)

April 3, 2020
Vue Cinema Coronavirus Closed

As large portions of the world go into lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many businesses have been left to fend for themselves. With many films delayed and production halted, people in the industry are having to fend for themselves.

No Films means no work

Netflix Headquaters
Netflix has pledged a $100 Million relief fund (credit: John G Mabanglo/EPA/Shutterstock)

As people self isolate and socially distance themselves, many “non-essential” industries have completely shut down for the time being. With no one having a good estimate of how long this situation will last, this has left many people out of work indefinitely. The people hit hardest by this decision are the ones at the bottom. Many Crew, Freelancers, and cinema staff have themselves without a job, it’s hard to make a film from home!

While many people working in pre and post-production are able to at least do some work from home, actors, camera, lighting, sound crews are all having to fend for themselves. Much of the industry revolves around freelance work, with individuals often going from one job to another and few jobs being permanent. Fortunately, some companies, like Netflix, have set up hardship funds, as have the BFI.

The main issue is the amount of freelancers, as they are self-employed, if a job is cancelled they have no support, although the UK Government has stepped in. In Hollywood, it’s estimated around 120,000 people are out of work, while in the UK the number is closer to 50,000. This situation is different for everyone, as some freelancers will have worked more than others and be in better conditions to take a hit. As the pandemic has spread across the globe, many shoots have been delayed before lockdowns began. This has caused concern, as many of the measures only apply to workers affected by having work cancelled from March, while many jobs have been cancelled well before then. Additionally, as most of these are freelancers, there is no furlough option.

However the longer this goes on the more difficult it will be for freelancers to survive. When “normality” finally does return, the job hunt will likely be even more competitive than it already is, as everyone looks to secure work. It is an incredibly difficult industry to get in with very little long term employment. With the whole industry looking for work at the same time, it will likely be very difficult for less established workers to find work.

Future of Cinema

Could delayed films like Black Widow be released on streaming platforms instead? (Disney 2020)

Likwise cinema staff cannot work from home, although audiences can still watch films at home. Even before countries were placed on lockdown, many cinemas pre-emptively closed due to advice to avoid large gatherings, in the UK. Several of these cinemas let these staff go without pay, a move that was understandbly controversial. This decision has since been reversed due to Government relief in the UK, however this is not the case in the US. With no support in place, AMC Theaters are “paying staff for as long as they can” potentially risking huge losses. While the large chain cinemas are clearly struggling, many smaller independent cinemas may not survive without help

As an added worry, a new study suggests that audiences may be less inclined to go back to the cinema after the pandemic subsides. With cleanliness and proximity to other people on audience’s minds, as well as a lack of summer blockbusters, it could be a while. Another factor to consider is streaming, which has been a concern to cinemas for several years. Some studios, like Universal are releasing some films straight to streaming, while still in theaters. It remains to be seen if this will remain in place once they do reopen

While cinemas are struggling, this whole situation is obviously good news for streaming services. Disney + launched in the UK, with it’s sign-ups tripling as more and more people are stuck indoors, and has even released films such as Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker months earlier than advertised. Meanwhile Netlfix may have to reduce the quality of it’s streaming in order to keep up with demand

These are certainly worrying times for everyone, whether in the film industry or not. But this period of uncertainty will help us appreciate the magic of cinema even more.

Also Read: Coronavirus: How It’s Affected The Film Industry

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Editorials

Parasite and Foreign Language Films in the UK

February 26, 2020
Parasite Movie

Since Parasite became the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture (at the Oscars), many have asked if this marks the beginning of more prominence for international films in English-speaking territories?

Well, today we’re going to look at the performance of international films in the UK. Looking at the number of non-English language films that get released in the UK, their box office takings, the factors that affect this and how Parasite’s recent triumph could impact the industry in the future.

2018 Foreign Language Release Numbers

Recent BFI statistics show that 331 films released in 2018 were entirely in a foreign language. This marked a decrease from the 349 entirely foreign language releases in 2017. But international releases still accounted for 43% of UK releases overall. And the number of different languages represented in UK cinemas increased. From 38 languages other than English in 2017 to 44 in 2018.

The Box Office Numbers

Foreign-language releases in 2018 made £30 million at the box office. The joint highest taking (2016 taking the same amount) since 2010.

Many high grossing international films have a dedicated audience in the UK. E.g. The UK has a big Bollywood audience with the highest-grossing foreign-language film of 2018 was Padmaava. A Hindi film which, according to the BFI, grossed £2.2 million (across 137 cinemas). The UK also has a big Polish community (it is the most common non-native language in England and Wales). So films like Clergy made £1.3 million (shown at 237 cinemas), and Cold War made £1.1 million (shown in 79 cinemas).

However, many of the other best-performing films had a great amount of exposure from film festivals and awards ceremonies. Which helped gain more interest from broader English speaking audiences. For example, Shoplifters won the Palme d’Or and earned £0.7 million across 43 cinemas. Making it the second-highest-grossing foreign-language film not in Polish or Hindi. And A Fantastic Woman won Best Foreign-Language Film at the 2018 Oscars helping it to earn £0.4 million across 38 cinemas.

The Success of Parasite

Parasite received several accolades prior to its UK release. These included the Palme d’Or, the BAFTA for best screenplay and best foreign-language film and many more. But since its Oscar win Parasite has become the third highest-grossing non-English language film at the UK box office. Earning a total of £5.1 million. Only beaten out by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (£9.4 million) and Passion of the Christ (£11.1 million). And it increased its cinema presence, from 137 screens to 428. Showing that the prestige of the award helped to further advertise the film to English speaking audiences. And convinced more theatres to show it.

This historic victory also coincides with a recent growing demand for international content. According to Curzon CEO Philip Knatchbull, the rise of non-English content on TV and streaming services like Netflix has helped to change attitudes towards foreign language products. Showing that there are audiences craving foreign language content and that there is a possibility for a new generation of English speakers to emerge who become accustomed to and more appreciative of world cinema.

What does this mean?

Parasite has proven that something has changed in the zeitgeist. Foreign language films usually struggle at the UK box office. Largely due to a perceived lack of interest from larger audiences. However, Parasite‘s Oscar win proves that foreign-language films are more accessible than ever. And are capable of captivating and performing well with English speaking cinema audiences when given the chance and the marketing.

Hopefully, Parasite‘s success coupled with the emergence of modern audiences more appreciative of foreign content, and the big awards ceremonies providing publicity for non-English language films means that bigger British audiences will soon be watching the wide variety of international films available at the cinema. And that more marketing; showcasing opportunities will be available for these films to reach larger audiences. Which is important.

More box office earnings mean more languages and cultures will be represented at the cinema. And exposure to foreign cinema helps us to discover great stories, new methods of storytelling and it allows us to learn more about and empathize with other cultures, traditions and ways of life. And that’s always a good thing.

Also Read: Parasite Director Once Described The Oscars As “Very Local” – Does He Have a Point?

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Editorials

Where Are All The Young Moviegoers?

February 13, 2020
Young Cinema Audiences [Source: British Council]

It’s a fact; cinema relies mostly on young people for their numbers. 15-24-year olds are consistently the largest audience to attend cinemas. But those numbers have been slowly declining over the years. What is causing this? Today we are going to research into the young cinema audience and see if we can answer why younger moviegoers aren’t attending cinemas and if they can be brought back?

Where are the young cinema audiences?

According to Stephen Fellows, some of the main factors hindering young people from going to the cinema are:

Many say that streaming services also greatly contribute to the dropping of young audiences. However, the big streaming services are used primarily to watch TV shows over movies. And waiting to watch new films at home is more often done by infrequent moviegoers. But a big advantage streaming has over the cinema is easy accessibility and it allows for the comfort of home viewing. Whereas young people view the cinema as less relaxing and harder to organize. This means it is harder to encourage young infrequent cinema-goers to come to screenings due to a perceived lack of comfort. So, the cinema experience itself poses more of a barrier to young cinema-goers than streaming.

2018 – Encouraging The Return of Young Audiences?

In a previous article, we showed that 2018 marked the highest number of UK cinema admissions since 1970. Of the 20 highest-grossing movies of 2018, only 3 received a BBFC classification above 12a. These films also told diverse stories that appealed to a broad range of demographics, tastes, and interests. And these films were viewed as events that needed to be seen on the big screen with friends.

2018’s audience figures (at the time of writing) are not available. And while the high year attendance indicates these movies brought in a wide variety of demographics, the encouraging of teenagers and families to come and see the latest releases with low age classification, the telling of a range of stories to encourage interest from groups who may have been previously uninterested; the percieved uptake in value of the overall cinema experience (regarding both the viewing and social experience) indicates that 2018 could have seen a rise in young cinema attendance, as the industry tackled issues pertinent to this demographic.

What Should Cinemas Do?

But no matter what that year’s numbers may show, in the long term the cinema industry must do a lot more to bring young audiences back.

Aside from the family social element and showing more diverse stories aimed at interesting young audiences, consideration must also be given to the cost/perception of attending the cinema, the logistics of organising cinema trips and paying attention to social elements that young people can share with friends.

There are several ways to tackle these problems. Fellows said that young people value cinemas offering rewards for loyalty, as it makes the customer feel valued and also encourages more frequent attendance. Cinemas could also encourage socialisation through ventures like exclusive screenings for young people or film clubs. Frequent hosting and advertising of such events would also encourage good audience organization. Lastly, cinemas must aim to make visits more attractive/obtainable. This can be done by reducing ticket prices (possibly through group offers). Showing that cinemas are good value for their price (offering other incentives for the price of admission). Or constructing more cinemas across the country (allowing more people to easily access the cinema).

This will cost a lot to accomplish. But with more accessible cinemas, incentives geared towards repeat visits and greater social opportunities, it would surely encourage higher attendance from the younger audience.

Also Read: The Biggest Financial Film Flops

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Editorials

Brexit: How Will It Affect The UK Film Industry?

July 14, 2019

Whatever your feelings on Brexit it is bound to have a big impact on many aspects of the UK, but what will the impact be on British film? I’ll be upfront from the beginning and say I voted Remain in the referendum and think leaving the EU will have a negative impact on the country. Will we cease to get any funding from the EU and will that hamper creators? Will a Britain freer to trade with foreign countries provide more opportunity? Is this a golden opportunity or a terrible disaster for British film? The unfortunate answer is it’s complicated. There are numerous different scenarios depending on what deal, if any, the UK government reaches.

The Current State of Affairs

For the time being Britain remains a member of the European Union, the European Economic Area and various other treaties and organisations. These agreements have reciprocal benefits and obligations and while the UK pays a substantial sum of money to be in the EU proponents would argue the benefits to the economy and country make it worthwhile. Some of this money goes into a central pot from which citizens or organisations from that area can make applications, for example, the film Paddington received over £300,000 in funding from the EU.

One of the founding principles of the EU is the free movement of people, goods, money and services across participating countries, this basically means it is as easy as possible for people to work, goods to be bought and sold, access and provide services and invest money. Whilst in the EU a UK citizen could easily work in Spain, Italy or any EU country and their citizens do the same. This is based on the belief that these freedoms will lead to increased trade, a stronger economy, more opportunities and more for those involved and will benefit the member countries and EU as a whole.

After Brexit

To be blunt, we don’t know what the situation will be. We could leave the EU but continue to be in the EEA. We could still be involved in funding cultural programmes. We could still give access to EU citizens to work in the UK and vice versa – although admittedly ending free movement of people seemed to be one of the cornerstones of Brexit. There was no clear definition of what Brexit meant and this has been one of the central difficulties of negotiating with the EU.

Brexit As An Opportunity

The British Film Institute conducted an extensive report on the effect Brexit would have on UK film-making, raising many potential problems but it did highlight three areas of opportunity after Brexit:

  • Depreciation of currency – since the referendum the value of the UK currency has dropped and, in a nutshell, has made it cheaper for places like America to do business in and with the UK. However, there are negative consequences of having a lower value currency that a government may want to avoid.
  • Opening new markets outside the EU – one of the features of the EU was many trade agreements were made with the EU as a whole rather than by individual countries and there were a lot of criteria that had to be met. After Brexit, the UK would be free to negotiate any free trade agreement they wanted with non-EU countries. This could create new markets or mean expanding existing ones.
  • Outside of the EU, the government could offer more tax incentives for film production in the UK.

The report also states that as the UK would not automatically be subject to new EU rules that might make the EU a less attractive place to do business with.

Working

It is hard to imagine a Brexit where it will not be harder for EU citizens to work in UK. Some have suggested that EU citizens will have to meet certain criteria around skills and be sponsored by their employer. A big drop in non-UK citizens being allowed to work could be a significant blow to British film-making, an article in Forbes stated that “In terms of post-production, visual effects and animations sectors, up to 40% of personnel are non-U.K. citizens”. Whilst some of those jobs will be taken by qualified UK citizens I doubt there are enough to make up that shortfall, the Forbes article goes onto say, the UK simply does not have enough people who possess these skills. And that is just looking at one area of filmmaking.

Funding

Films need money and the EU has put a lot of money into the film industry across Europe, for example, there is the Creative Europe programme which, essentially, could give you funding to make a film or help fund a cinema. Now regardless of what deal is reached, or no deal, the UK government has signalled it wants to remain part of some of these programmes. There is also the possibility that any EU funding that is lost could be matched by the British government, which is what has been promised in the case of Creative Europe in the event of no deal.

Co-Productions

Co-productions are when companies from more than one country work together to make a film. Sometimes this could be because the film takes place and is filmed, in two countries or it could be that there is a cultural message of the film the brings together relevant countries. The main reason, especially in recent years, is financial, as it allows more money to be raised from more people. Sometimes minority co-producers may have some creative control and sometimes they don’t. In recent years co-productions have become a smaller part of the UK film industry with the major exception being Ken Loach. Since 1990 Loach has released nineteen films of which fourteen had European co-productions, it is not a stretch to say co-production has been essential to his film-making.

Loach’s relationship with co-productions goes back decades, and creative control of his co-producers have waxed and waned. Sometimes a cultural input from a co-producer is extremely useful, Loach’s film Land and Freedom which was about the Spanish Civil must have benefited enormously from co-producer Tornasol, a Spanish company. Recently Loach has had to sacrifice very little, if any, creative control to co-producers, having many small backers dilutes their potential power.

Looking at the numbers Loach’s more international feel seems to be good for him, 87% of ticket admissions for Loach’s films come from outside the UK, a significant increase on 55% for most British films. What seems the most important factor in Loach’s success with co-production is that this method allows him to raise significant sums of money whilst sacrificing little, if any, creative control.

It is likely after Brexit the UK would not be part of the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production (ECCC) which was specifically designed to encourage European co-productions. To be part of this scheme would be to allow people working on the film to, well, be allowed to work on the film. The ECCC allows co-producers to claim the lucrative tax relief given to British film-makers and so make them keener to invest.

Barriers

There is one definite thing that will be true after Brexit, making films in Europe will be a lot harder and a lot of barriers will go up. Filming in Spain, Poland, France – any EU country will get a lot more complicated. Something as basic as moving filming equipment through countries could become far more difficult.

The Future…

Essentially there is very little we will know for certain, possibly there will be good and bad aspects to it. I think the best thing for British film-makers, and everyone really is to get a clear picture of what will happen and make decisions on solid information.

Also Read: Silence Is Golden: Great Scenes With No Dialogue

Editorials

A Christmas Buyer’s Guide for Film Lovers

December 2, 2018

At the time of writing, Christmas is just over three weeks away. The streets are strewn with lights, classic Christmas songs are on the radio and everyone is struggling to find a gift for their loved ones. But fear not. If you are buying for a film lover, Big Picture Film Club has your back.

Today we are going to give five categorical recommendations of gifts that will please any film fan. Hopefully, this will give some of you an idea about what to get. So, let’s begin.

Collector’s edition DVD’S/Blu-rays

Nothing makes a film fan happier than owning the best editions of their favourite films. Regular DVD’s/Blu-rays are nice but there is a certain pleasure in unwrapping a collector’s edition with filmmaker commentary, documentaries, interviews, analyses, and a gorgeous transfer. Although collector editions are available from various sources, in the UK if you want the best, you can go to one of five companies:

  • Arrow Video – Specialises in cult releases (see also, Arrow Academy which specializes in critically acclaimed work and Arrow Films, which focuses on new releases)
  • The Criterion Collection – Specialises in releasing important films from world history
  • Eureka’s Masters of Cinema and Eureka Classics label – a UK counterpart to Criterion which puts out works of cultural importance and well-regarded niche films. If criterion doesn’t have your film, Eureka probably will.
  • BFI – They provide gorgeous transfers of historically significant work from Britain and around the world
  • Curzon Artificial Eye – Provides extra ladened releases of world cinema titles, new and old.

If your friend loves a film released by one of these companies, you owe it to them to get it. They are a little more expensive than other DVD/Blu-ray releases but for the quality of the content, it’s worth it.

(Also recommended 88 films, 101 films, Powerhouse Films, and Second Sight Entertainment)

Film Merchandise

This category really has the power to surprise and delight. Film fans adore minutia to brighten up their homes and there are so many options for what to buy.

You could get them a classic poster of their favourite film to give them something gorgeous to hang on their wall. You could buy them a Funko Pop of their favourite film characters to liven up their work desk. Or, why not buy them replicas of famous movie props. To allow the recipient to live out the fantasy of being a part of their favourite films.

Freddy Krueger replica glove (Amazon.co.uk)

These items vary drastically in price but no matter what you pick, your film loving friend will have a big grin on their face.

Subscription Viewing

There really is nothing better to get your friend to ensure that their movie viewing needs are cared for all year. But, what service should you get them? Well, what do they like?

  • Netflix – For a range of well-known classics, critically acclaimed modern and original films (£5.99-£9.99 monthly)
  • Amazon Prime – Provides modern favourites and many obscure older titles. Also includes prime next day delivery for those who frequently use Amazon (£79 a year or £7.99 monthly)
  • Shudder – A streaming service for horror fans. Stocked with well-known and obscure horror titles from around the world (£47.98 a year or £4.99 monthly).
  • Now TV with Sky Cinema subscription – Provides a range of classic and little-known Hollywood favourites (£55 a year)
  • Mubi and Mubi Go – For those with a taste for auteurs, independent and foreign language films. And Mubi Go allows the owner to attend one specially selected film screening a week at selected cinemas (£59.88 a year)

Or perhaps if your friend likes visiting the cinema, you could get them a subscription card for their favourite cinema chain. Cineworld has unlimited, Odeon has limitless and many cinemas have their own loyalty program. So, if your loved one likes visiting the cinema, this could help them keep up to date with new releases.

You won’t see your friend for a few weeks after they get their gift, but be assured, they are appreciative.

Home Cinema Equipment

What’s better than getting a good quality Blu-ray or DVD of your favourite film? Watching it on good home media equipment. Whether it be the latest 4K television that allows you to see a higher quality image or a home surround sound system to provide a more immersive sonic experience, it makes a nice little addition to any film watchers home.

Home Theatre System (Family Living Today)

Filming Equipment

Finally, every film fan likes watching films, but do they also want to make their own films? Well, this year why not give them a helping hand.

Firstly, find out what the person you are buying for is interested in. Do they make films solo or are they interested in one particular area of filmmaking? Once that question’s been answered, we can proceed.

If they want to make films themselves and you have a bit of extra cash, then you could buy them a nice DSLR camera. Which allows them to shoot their own stuff on the go and have a great input into how the image will look. If you don’t have enough cash for that, why not try a nice phone gimbal? To allow them to use their phones in a more cinematic way.

Do they want to be an editor? Why not buy them some editing software like Final Cut X or Premiere Pro? Hopeful directors can always use a viewfinder. For those interested in sound maybe a new microphone may be in order. And there is a myriad of other equipment available online to help start your friends on their journey towards becoming the next Spielberg. So, I encourage you to look around.

Conclusion

So, there are just a few suggestions of what to get your cinephile for Christmas. I hope this has at least given you some idea about what is available out there and wish you all the best of luck with your Christmas shopping. If you have any further ideas of what to buy, then please let us know in the comments and stay tuned for more festive articles coming soon.

Interviews

Goldfinch Entertainment’s Sarah Poole Discusses Private Film Funding

March 20, 2018
Goldfinch Studios

Funding is a continuous challenge for programme and filmmakers at any stage in their career. Emerging filmmakers within the U.K may apply for funding from Arts Council or BFI (or one of its subsidiary organisations), this source of funding is designed to help cultivate talent throughout the early stages of their career.

More established production companies will partner with a film studio to release their project, who will provide investment for the project and act as executive producers ensuring that the key business elements of the film’s delivery and distribution are taken care of. To help demystify this process we spoke with Sarah Poole, Producer & Investor Manager, at Goldfinch Studios to discuss how private film funding works and what you will need to have in place.

Big Picture Film Club: Can you briefly describe your role as a Producer & Investor Manager?

Sarah Poole: My current role is diverse and varies from day to day. On the producer side of my role, I liaise with prospective and current clients in regards to their projects. This takes many forms, from setting up SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme) / EIS investment vehicles, creation of a bespoke Investment document, dealing with HMRC / Companies House on their behalf (the boring admin side of things *groan*), attending screenings & events and keeping in regular contact on the progress of their projects to report back to our investors.

On the investor side of the role, I liaise with our pool of high net worth investors and our Fund Managers in order to deploy SEIS / EIS funds to our producer clients. This involves a lot of paperwork and compliance work.

I also currently run the company’s social media accounts.

BPFC: At what stage in development do you begin to work with production companies?

SP: Our Goldfinch Studios brand encompasses a whole host of companies providing a “one-stop shop” for services at all stages of the lifespan of a film or TV project. At development stage, Goldfinch Entertainment can help set up an SEIS / EIS slate to provide monies for the development of projects. Recently we launched our Goldfinch First Flights initiative which works with emerging talent. We also have Goldfinch Media Labs (Brand placement) and Goldfinch Music (for all the music needs of the Film / TV / video game).

We also can help with sales and distribution of completed films / TV Shows and not forgetting we have our production facilities and VFX specialists in York! Our involvement with projects doesn’t end with the investment, we also act as executive producers and advise on distribution, playing a key role from script to screen and after.

BPFC: What criteria do you use to decide which films/Shows you will take on for investment?

SP: We focus on identifying the most commercially and financially viable projects in order to generate attractive returns for our investors. Our strict assessment process involves us analysing information provided about the project, such as reading the script and looking at the finance plan / budget to make sure that there is a high probability sufficient sales revenue will be achieved. We get around 30 submissions per week so we are kept extremely busy!

BPFC: Goldfinch Studios works closely with private investors to fund projects, how do you attract first-time investors and maintain good relationships with existing ones?

SP: We are very fortunate in that we have managed to maintain a loyal investor pool who continue to invest with us. These clients are mainly introduced to us through clients, contacts and word of mouth. With 18 years’ experience in a client facing businesses, I pride myself in making sure that clients on both sides of the fence are provided with a top-notch service 24/7 if necessary. Luckily I love my job!

BPFC: Both the increase in streaming services and the decrease in mid-level budget films making its way to the big screen have changed the movie industry in recent years – how have those changes in the industry and audience affected how Goldfinch Studios works with its projects?

SP: Our assessment process has remained the same, making sure we only take on the most commercial projects and due to the industry changes, we now have to establish that there is a market for the project and take into account the most suitable route to screen which is increasingly not spending big bucks on a theatrical release. As an avid user of Netflix, I find it very hard to criticise the massive impact they are having on the industry. The sheer amount of original content they are churning out is jaw-dropping and their offering is becoming broader & broader over so many genres of film / TV for the audience it can only be a good thing.

BPFC: Before a filmmaker or production company seeks private investment for their project what are the key things they should have in place?

SP: To be able to assess the commerciality of a project, we need as much information as possible in order to see the whole picture as it stands.

The minimum information we would need is a finance plan / budget, marketing pack / treatment overview, details of the team involved and a script.

BPFC: Can you tell us a bit about some of the upcoming projects from Goldfinch Studios this year?

SP: We have two projects entering principal photography in the next month which we are very excited about.

‘Waiting For Anya’ which is based on the book by War Horse author Michael Morpurgo. The cast includes Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp, Hollywood legend Anjelica Huston and iconic French actor Jean Reno! The shoot starts in France very soon!

Production starts soon at our studio facilities in York for ‘Transience’, a sci-fi from writer / director Carl Strathie which follows a family who is terrorised by otherworldly beings! His most recent film ‘Solis’ starring Steven Ogg (Westworld, The Walking Dead) was also filmed at our Studios in York and is nearing completion so watch out for news of a release!

We have a lot going on behind the scenes at Goldfinch Studios so keep your eyes peeled for news of our exciting new productions and partnerships which are soon to be revealed!

To find out more about Goldfinch Studios visit their website www.goldfinchstudios.co.uk

Big Picture Film Club

Big Picture Film Club Presents: Love & The Abstract

May 6, 2016
Big Picture Film Club Presents: Love & The Abstract

Big Picture Film Club is back! Our next event, Love & The Abstract, is an exploration of relationships, love, and the difficulties they have to overcome. We have curated a list of 5 short films, from an array of talented filmmakers, each tackling a unique perspective on love and relationships. Check out our film list below:

Signs Of Silence [@SoSilenceMovie] (Director, R.M. Moses) – Born into a world of silence, Eli finds himself not able to communicate well with people. Mainly because not everyone understands sign language. This has impacted his self-esteem and confidence. This is Eli’s story of how difficult life can be when you aren’t being heard.

Anchor [(Director, Madeleine Morlet) – Although Joni isn’t emotionally available she needs the comfort and support of Olivia. In seeking this understanding she allows a situation of forced intimacy to evolve and despite there being much tenderness between them it is clear that their expectations of one another are not matched.

Devotion [@Devotion_film] (Director, Dan Horrigan) – Devotion is an exploration of grief, and love gone dark. It’s a story about the human shadow, how it can overwhelm us if we don’t learn to live with it.

Love Me Tinder [@LveMeTinderFilm] (Director, Sami Abusamra) – Love Me Tinder is a dark comedy about an encounter between two lonely strangers. A man spends an awkward evening with an older woman after they match on a dating app. Meeting each other is easy, but as their night progresses connecting proves to be much more difficult.

Populace [@Populace_film] (Director, Dan Horrigan) – Set in 2097 it follows a day in the life of John, a clone who works for the Tyrannical, Orwellian “Populace” corporation. His world is turned upside down when he is forced to choose between the woman he loves and the reason he was created.

Tickets: http://loveandtheabstract.eventbrite.co.uk

Click here for the Facebook Event Link.