The BRexit and the UK film industry

Well, whatever your position, it’s done now – the UK have voted to leave the EU. Over at The Verge is an interesting article on potential fallout for the Film (and TV) industries of the UK.

The big questions, of course, are tax credits and EU funding. While the latter is surely gone, the former is what might really cause a dent. Without tax credits, and being able to partner with continential producers and financers, things might get pretty hairy. And I mean Hagrid hairy.

Read on.

 

Brexit is ‘likely to be devastating’ for UK film and TV industry

The chairman of the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA), the trade association representing the companies behind independent film and TV the world over, has described the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union as an event that is “likely to be devastating” for the creative sector.

Inspiring, especially in the fine print – the Approaching the Unknown story

This story is making the rounds this week. And it is awesome. Mark Rosenberg sold his first film even before it was completed. That is so cool!

But, and I hate to play the cynic because really I applaud Rosenberg and I really really want to see this film, be aware that:

  1. The budget was in excess of $1.3 million. So he wasn’t shooting in his backyard.
  2. He has an amazing actor as his star. Mark Strong, while maybe not a huge box office pull, is a star.
  3. Rosenberg is the ‘artistic director’ and founder of Rooftop Films, the New York film nonprofit who’s films include ‘Frances Ha’ from Noam Baumbach. He founded Rooftop 20 years ago(!). To be honest, Rooftop is an exciting organisation that deserves more coverage.

So yes, this film is Rosenberg’s directorial debut, but the press wants to intimate that he is new to the business. He is not. And that is the lesson to learn: overnight success can take years. Rosenberg did it the smart way: he started out, built his network and his chops and then knocked it out of the park. I find this – a real story of perseverance and determination – the most inspiring.

Get writing, get learning, get making films.

How a First-Time Filmmaker Sold His Sci-Fi Movie to Paramount Before It Was Finished

Here’s how writer-director Mark Elijah Rosenberg made an outer space film for a fraction of the cost of “Gravity” and “The Martian.” Striking a distribution deal with Paramount Pictures for your low-budget sci-fi movie as a first-time filmmaker is close to impossible, but that’s exactly what writer-director Mark Elijah Rosenberg did with ” Approaching the Unknown.”

 

Content creators, are you listening? Hulu steps up its game.

Hulu, for most people, is the content network people forget about.

But they have lots of outlets in many countries (more than Netflix I believe) and haven’t given up yet! One of their new cornerstones of strategy is acquiring more exclusive content.

Variety has a great article about this, plus its invaluable insight for us content creators into the inner workings of an exciting company and opportunity.

Quagmire: Europe’s Digital Single Market plan

Variety has a further article about the proposed changes to Europe’s content and copyright laws (called DSM – Digital Single Market).

Everyone is up in arms about it. Well, almost everyone.

Producers don’t like it because it cuts out pre-sales to many small territories. Pre-sales, historically (I hate to say ‘traditionally’) were a way of funding films in advance of completion. The issue seems to be that because Producers want the same (if not more) money from each territory only a big company will be able to afford buying the rights for all of Europe.

Crazy Idea #1: If your film was truly worth it then a small company could issue a promissory note that a bank would loan against. Loaning against receivables is common in other industries.

Small distributors don’t like it because, well, they are small and regional and can’t hope to serve all of Europe.

Crazy Idea #2: Producers could find many small distributors and let them work in the area they are good at. Contractually limiting distributors to regions is, again, commonplace in other industries.

The only people silent on this are the big boys like Amazon and NetFlix. Everyone else’s inability to innovate a new solution to distribution is playing right into their hands.

Great article. Stay informed.

Small town girl does good – behind indie film MLE

It’s been a while since I did a local news spotlight. This one struck me because Sarah Warren is from my neck of the woods – Southwestern Ontario. I don’t live there any more and I don’t think Warren does either, but, it’s always inspiring to hear stories of people who have managed to take a bigger view of the world than their humble beginnings (though the Great Lakes are not so humble or little!).

Warren’s feature is called MLE and premiere’s next week – January 24th – at London’s Southbank as part of the London Comedy Film Festival. The film is written, directed and stars Warren. Other people get some screen time too, including Paul Haggis and Mike Figgis. (Warren only features directors as actors, it seems, and especially if their name has a double consonant).

The article below – from local Canadian news – shines a light on Warren’s background and the making of the film. Enjoy, and, if you’re in London next week go give it a view!

Japan’s new law effectively silences political documentary filmmakers (and others)

Today, Dec 10th 2014, a new law went into effect in Japan. This law (see article below) gives stiff penalties to those deemed to be leaking state secrets and, more terrifyingly, those who request the information!

This will stop the production of any documentaries not just about Japan’s politicians and their corruption but also anything about the fiasco that is the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Any story that might be touched by government action is now in jeopardy as what exactly is considered a ‘state secret’ can be redefined at any time (under the terms of the law).

I am not a political person per se, but even I can see how this could directly impact me. If I start complaining about the lack of tax and government support for the film industry – and seek to dig into it – could even I, a lowly blogger, be in violation of the law? Only time will tell.

It is a dark day for personal freedom in Japan.

Nollywood – 50 movies a week, 1 million workers, $590mn a year

It’s not every day on a movie website you get to link to a story from the UN, but over at UN.org they have  an indepth-ish look at Nollywood, the booming Nigerian film industry (and yes, I know the article is from last year, but it’s new to me).

The numbers are staggering, especially given the country of their source. Nigeria has a national unemployment rate of 50%, yet Nollywood has over 1 million people working in it. Staggering. And they are churning lots of cash.

This is very interesting to the independent or low budget filmmakers of the world. Nollywood films typically shoot for between $25,000 and $75,000. With high DVD sales (at least 20,000 units per film), they seem to have a winning formula.

Read on…

Low-budget, local, period piece Western, Suspense film…mouthful!

It’s been a while since I did a link to a local news piece about a film being shot. I love these types of articles because they show that the desire to make movies is strong in some people, regardless of their access to funding.

Get off yer azz and makes a movie!

So this piece is from Louisiana. It talks about the shooting of a low budget film called ‘Targeted‘ in Thibodaux, LA. LA means Louisiana, for all you people from Los Angeles.

The piece sounds ambitious! It is a period piece, and uses miniatures for sets and exteriors. I am VERY curious to see how that works out. With changes in technology I think that things we were told to shy away from as indie’s are maybe back on the table. Targeted started out with an IndieGoGo campaign that didn’t get fully funded.

I’m not sure why it didn’t get all the money, but, the campaign video is funny.

Here’s the article, but there is also a Facebook page if you want to track progress.

Online VOD gets day and date releases!

Exciting news coming out of TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) – Vimeo has inked a day and date (read: same day as theatrical releases) deal with online video hotspot Vimeo for certain features (everything from a war film to a Robin Williams Christmas comedy).

Get the full details from StreamDaily (just found this site, it looks good!)