Friday, September 22, 2017
Saturday, August 26, 2017
...the % of film directors who are female!
This is 1 of 2 lengthy posts on the huge topic of the clearly differential treatment of women at all levels of the film industry - there are relatively few senior executives, producers, scriptwriters, directors, actors given lengthy dialogue, even women in crowd scenes are a minority ... This post (a short video and an overview of female directors, including the campaigning company Birds Eye Views) and its companion post - are a start ... look for much more using the female fimmakers tag.
|Its a story that just won't go away, and the BFI are playing their part to publicise the issues.|
I'll add the full article below (and see the longer post on fem dirs.), but first, an extract and then a video containing a rather useful but also intriguing bit of theory (v. useful for hoovering up a few marks...):
Birds Eye View started out as a positive response to the fact that women make up only 7% of film directors (a statistic that remains accurate for Hollywood, and that has fluctuated between 6-15% in the UK over the last few years), and around 10-18% of screenwriters (depending on which year, and which side of the Atlantic). That's 6-18% of the creative vision in the world's most powerful medium. We live in a visual culture, and what we see on screen profoundly affects the way we see ourselves and each other. Film offers us an incredible thing – an immersive trip into someone else's universe, someone else's vision of the world. But if that vision is dominated by men then we are missing out on so much complexity, richness, diversity and creativity.Here's the theory, wrapped up in a short but entertaining vid for you...
Useful article at http://www.netribution.co.uk/people/106/1402-warped-imaginations-darklights-female-horror-directors to look at. The case of Sharon Maguire (look at the long gaps in her IMDB entry) suggests the film industry is still rather sexist? What do you think?
You'll find this is a much-discussed topic, with many references in books written by film insiders (and of course in Film Guardian articles)
Have a look at http://www.birds-eye-view.co.uk/ too.
http://www.womenandhollywood.blogspot.com/ is rather useful too!
Some additional articles:
Jane Campion: 'I make films so I can have fun with the characters'
It's a scream! - As Halloween draws near, Wendy Roby explores a new wave of films, websites and festivals feeding women's growing hunger for horror
This article contains a caustic rebuttal, though many of the comments that follow the article are supportive of Weaver.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Amazon continues to expand its disruption of the traditional film market and industry practices, especially distribution (though it, like Netflix, is also expanding its production arm).
TIFF, an especially notable (Toronto International) film festival (very important for Warp over the years) has begun including TV, a strong sign of the convergence between the two industries (again, consider Warp Film's recent output - mostly TV!).
|An event at TIFF sponsored by Amazon.|
The 2017 TIFF has also seen Amazon build on its 2016 Sundance offer of $100k plus royalties for distribution rights, now a $200k package - a hugely tempting proposition for young or Indie filmmakers to instantly gain large scale international distribution.
Would you accept a $200,000 bonus to upload your official festival selection to Amazon Video Direct? That offer is now on the table for directors with films playing at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.
In May 2016, Amazon launched the Film Festival Stars program, which aimed to lure festival fare to its streaming platform by offering $100,000 upfront and royalties to rights holders. At Sundance this year, we spoke with the head of Amazon Video Direct, Eric Orme, who told us that he hoped the program would help filmmakers capitalize on self-distribution. "We recognized that a lot of films at Sundance don't get full-service distribution deals," Orme said. "We want to provide a new distribution pathway for those films. Expanding distribution options means more great films have the opportunity to reach wider audiences."Is this having any impact? Quite simply - yes:
The Film Festival Stars deal requires filmmakers to make Amazon Video Direct the exclusive SVOD home for this film, although directors can wait up to 18 months to upload their movies to the platform. In the interim, their films can play at other festivals and theaters. In addition to the initial bonus, filmmakers will receive a royalty rate of $0.30 per every hour their film is streamed on the platform—more than double the rate Amazon offers other Video Direct users.So far, the program has proven a hefty incentive. At SXSW 2017 alone, Film Festival Stars signed deals for 40 movies.See NoFilmSchool article.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
From a business point of view, cinemas are only partly about films. "When we bought [Odeon]," Guy Hands of private equity group Terra Firma famously said, "the management team really believed they were part of the film business. I had the difficult job of explaining to them that they were in the popcorn-selling business." (Oliver Thring, Guardian 2012)
That hideous diabetes/clot-encouraging popcorn is set to become the main revenue stream for cinemas - movies could become a loss-leader, just as budget airlines seek to make money from flight 'extras' and in-flight sales more than the actual seat purchase - very bad news for distributors.
That process is arguably already here though...
The pic above is from a Guardian article on an American cinema-goer launching a doomed lawsuit against the US cinema chain for charging $8 for a coke. From the same article:
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
|The MoviePass homepage.|
That brings the disruption of digitisation to the a new level, and undermines (though it may take time yet for its impact through user numbers to grow) the traditional cinema exhibition business model: movie 'prints' (just as likely to be streams, Blu-Rays or HDDs now) are rented by cinemas from distributors and a further share of ticket revenue passed back to distributors. There is variation in this basic model depending mostly on the power of the distributor and whether its a tentpole big six production they're touting, but thats a rough outline of how the production (sell all rights to or agree a revenue share with a distributor) to distribution to exhibition film cycle ends up (before further distribution and exhibition through TV, and distribution through physical media, downloads and streams - rental and purchase.
If the audience figures are no longer a simple guide to box office, that suggests a steep medium to long term decline in revenues. Unless its the cinema-avoiding public (non-noisy nuisances, ie kids/teens!) that mostly takes up these passes. The 15-24 age range is the key cinema market as you can see from this BFI chart (page 4):
You can find a great analysis of the older audience in 2017 here, by Stephen Follows. This US analysis by Nielsen also shows roughly 30% of the cinema audience as 12-24, or nearly 50% for 12-34.
There is dispute over how big a revenue driver concessions (popcorn etc) really are, but this certainly will (in the style of bucket airlines like easyJet) shift the profit-making onus onto food and drinks - which distributors are locked out of. See this post for details on how vital the huge mark-ups cinemas make on concessions (typically 85% profit on every dollar spent) are.
The unlimited is limited: one viewing a day, no IMAX or 3D (maybe a supplement charge for longer movies?), but that still means a possible 30c viewing!
This isn't actually completely new ... many moons ago I bought Virgin Cinema monthly passes - £15 if I remember right, back in 1999. That enabled me to be amongst the shellshocked hordes stumbling out of the Phantom Menace midnight premiere wondering what the hell we'd just seen, and what kind of evil madman could invent JarJar Binks - but get over it by going to see plenty more decent movies in the days and weeks that followed.
I figured Curzon, with its membership scheme, would likely do something similar, and sure enough they also offer an unlimited annual pass for its cinemas.
Here in Luxembourg
Tuesday, August 08, 2017
|Disney now offering streaming TV.|
Apple will have to join this suddenly crowded market, with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and more facing increasing competition.
|Not in Lux. yet, but a fullscale streaming option is being rolled out.|
Friday, August 04, 2017
Movie-making is not so much a process of making new films as of remaking old ones.
Stories work today because they worked yesterday. People never get tired of seeing good triumph over evil, because the only place they ever get to see this happen is in the cinema.
Friday, July 21, 2017
The BBC and Film4, terrestrial public service broadcasters (with Sky, and its Sky Atlantic channel key to Warp's high-budget TV series The Last Panthers) are also crucial at this level of budget, very rarely exceeding £5m ('71 did, at £8m).
For the big six, and their subsidiary production arms, such as Working Title, just as crucial is tax relief, which will typically far exceed the entire budget of Indie films. 20 years after the Tory free market PM Thatcher scrapped the quota system that ensured cinemas screened a minimum proportion of British films (most European countries, notably france, still have such laws in place), the Labour government recognised the struggles of the industry with a range of tax relief measures, that the current Tory government has (reluctantly) kept in place.
The extent of this varies across the UK, with additional relief available in Northern Ireland (though even more is available in the Republic of Ireland), and indeed there is fierce international competition to attract film productions through tax deductions, including several US states offering high levels of relief.
The scale of this tax relief is clear from the report on 2016 payments, hitting £600m in 2016, including WT's Baby Driver. The tests for determining the 'Britishness' of productions are controversial, with minimal cultural consideration, more raw economic factors determining eligibility. If you read the BFI's annual reports (you should - an amazing source of learning) you'll find many clearly American films accordingly categorised as British.
Big-budget films receive increase in tax relief to almost £600m.
The government paid out almost £600m in tax relief last year to the makers of blockbusters including Baby Driver, Star Wars and T2: Trainspotting, as well as big-budget TV dramas including The Crown.
The payouts were part of £751m that the Treasury awarded in tax relief to films, high-end dramas, video games, animations, children’s TV shows and theatre productions that passed a “cultural test” that qualified them as British.
The government’s figures showed that the total awarded in tax relief in the creative sector rose by a third year-on-year from £564m in 2015. The test includes criteria such as the cultural content of a production, how much of it is shot in the UK and the proportion of stars and crew who are from Britain or Europe.
The government’s tax credit system has proved hugely successful in stopping big-budget film and TV productions, as well as talent such as games makers and special effects workers, going to cheaper locations such as eastern Europe or to other countries offering bigger incentives.
It has also helped attract investment from the deep-pocketed newer arrivals on the film and TV scene, such as Netflix and Amazon, which have backed productions in the UK including The Crown, which had a total budget of £100m, and fashion drama series The Collection.
Last year there were 175 films completed in the UK that claimed tax relief, with the Treasury paying out £415m, up from £339m the previous year. Relief payouts for high-end TV – dramas that cost £1m or more per episode – rose from £104m to £163m.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
According to the Hollywood trade publication Tracking Board, Soderbergh shot his latest film, titled Unsane and starring The Crown's Claire Foy and Juno Temple, in secret with an iPhone. Little else is known about the film except that Soderbergh plans to self-distribute it domestically through his Fingerprint Releasing banner, which the director founded in order to test out distribution models for his most recent film, Logan Lucky. Before that, Soderbergh pushed boundaries by shooting Starz' The Girlfriend Experience on high-definition video with mostly non-actors. Since kicking off his career with 1989's seminal indie film sex, lies, and videotape, Soderbergh has consistently been at the vanguard of risk-taking in low-budget filmmaking.
Recently, Soderbergh encouraged aspiring filmmakers to "get a script and start shooting on an iPhone" in a Reddit AMA. We're glad to see he took his own advice.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Rights to Flower Moon – as it’s known to industry insiders – were snapped up by Imperative last year for a reported $5 million, and a script has reportedly been drafted by veteran Oscar-winning scribe Eric Roth of Forrest Gump and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button fame.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Shane Meadows’ latest drama series for Britain’s Channel 4 will see the filmmaker reuniting with “This Is England” stars Stephen Graham and Helen Behan for “The Virtues.” The show will follow Joseph, played by Graham, as he returns home to Ireland to confront a troubled past after having been brought up in the state care system.
Frank Laverty (“Michael Collins”) will star as the husband of Anna (Behan), the sister whom Joseph has not seen since he was a child. Jack Thorne, who worked on the “This Is England” TV series, has written “The Virtues.” The show will be produced by Sheffield- and London-based Warp Films, which made the 2009 film “This Is England” and three TV sequels: “This Is England ’86,” “This Is England ’88,” and “This Is England ’90.” Like all of the “England” TV series, “The Virtues” will be four parts.
Meadows said that “The Virtues” will draw on his previous work. “It takes the biblical, almost apocalyptic levels of revenge witnessed in ‘Dead Man’s Shoes,’ along with the bittersweet humor from ‘This Is England,’ and creates a landscape like nothing else I’ve worked on,” he said.
“The Virtues” is shooting in Sheffield, Liverpool, and Belfast, and will bow on Channel 4 in 2019.FILED UNDER:
Shane MeadowsStephen GrahamThe VirtuesThis is England
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Friday, June 16, 2017
This is a trend you need to grasp if you are going to speak/write with any autohority on the film industry.
The music industry has had to accept the sharp decline of physical sales, but the film industry hasn't yet reached that point of acceptance - but DVD and Blu-Ray alike are heading for the same cliff-edge of sales that CDs reached some years ago, another huge revenue stream under threat.
The big six also need to consider the digital upstarts Amazon and Netflix (and surely Apple sooner or later, the music industry slayer!) as key rivals ... and partners, an uneasy relationship.
A UK study has concluded that in just 3 years (by 2020) UK pay-TV revenue will be below that of streaming sites - but cinema might be more resilient (given my points above I'm highly sceptical!)
Paying for TV content from on-demand digital video services will grow by more than 30% to £1.42bn at the turn of the decade, claims consultancy firm PwC. This rise in popularity will see revenue from video services edge ahead of an estimated £1.41bn from cinemagoers.
While Apple and Sky have also made inroads with their download services, the rise of streaming has been the biggest competitive challenge to cinemas in recent years.
“Demand for internet video shows no signs of slowing down,” said Phil Stokes, UK head of entertainment and media at PwC. However, he warned against forecasting the death of blockbusters or the big screens where they are shown. “The figures do not signal the death of film. Look at the box office performance of films such as Star Wars: Rogue One or Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to see the significant amount of enthusiasm for blockbuster movies out there.”
Stokes said the UK film industry will remain in a “pretty healthy” position despite the boom in home entertainment.
The report predicts movie attendance will grow from 172m admissions last year to 179m in 2021, and the number of screens across the UK will rise from 4,143 to 4,542.
PwC predicts a “terminal decline” for DVD and Blu-ray sales from £1.22bn in 2016 to just £533m by 2021. The report predicts that internet video will overtake DVD sales this year, but some analysts claim this has already happened.Netflix and Amazon 'will overtake UK cinema box office spending by 2020'.
Streaming has already surpassed physical sales of film:
Total revenues from digital video – which includes services such as Apple’s iTunes as well as Sky’s store and Now TV – surged almost 23% to £1.3bn last year.The digital boost came as high street sales of DVDs and Blu-ray discs fell 17% to £894m – the first time it has fallen below the £1bn mark. The once mighty physical rental market fell 21% to just £49m.(2017 Guardian article)
Thursday, June 01, 2017
Saturday, May 20, 2017
The music industry is dominated by the old, with back catalogue sales underpinning revenues, though with a similar tentpole strategy in place for a handful of global stars, as Elberse details in her book Blockbusters, analysing the distribution muscle thrown behind Lady Gaga, Jay-Z and other titan acts.
David Bowie has dominated vinyl sales this year, and accounts for a good proportion of other revenues too - the music industry is fuelled by monetising nostalgia.
The Secret Cinema organisation in Britain, putting on screenings of past hits in locations with a thematic link to that film, have squeezed millions in extra box office from many back catalogue flicks, while a black and white Mad Max Fury Road release, or Lord of the Rings re-read with a few extra minutes of tedium added, or just re-release to pop a multi-billion barrier (Avatar) ... the re-release has a place in the film industry's playbook.
There's always the film club and arthouse circuit, with CinemaTheque in Luxembourg an example, Woody Allen re-runs rarely being off the agenda in a typical month, or the summer outdoor screenings of everything from The Force Awakens to Rebel Without a Cause (picks for the 2016 Luxembourg season, the free event paid for through Orange sponsorship).
Retrofitting 3D is a long established practice, a software process of making a film not shot in 3D into this format at a cost of around $10m. Restoration has been a considerable element of arthouse and film festival fare - I've enjoyed watching a newly restored cut of a 50s Poe adaptation at the Bradford National Media Museum (1 strand of the BFI's work), and a new extended cut of Metropolis, weaving in newly discovered and repaired footage, at the Ilkley Film Festival.
The 4K restorations that Maurice, a Merchant and Ivory drama about a gay male love affair starring a young Hugh Grant, is an early example of could become a significant element of the multiplex mix, not just the arthouse circuit, a useful strand of counter-programming or even a means of building hype for a new franchise release by a limited release of an older, pre-reboot, franchise entry (picking up lots of cheap publicity along the way).
Both the 3D retrofits and 4K restorations are notable examples of the impact of digitisation.
Maurice at 30: the gay period drama the world wasn't ready for https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/may/19/maurice-film-period-drama-merchant-ivory?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Claire Jones (Sightseers [+]), and Robin Gutch ('71 [+]) are producing for the UK’s Warp Films with the backing of the UK’s Catalyst Global Media and Screen Yorkshire. Altitude Film Sales is handling international sales and is currently representing the film at the American Film Market. Dyson and Nyman said of the project, “Over half a million people have seen the play and now we are beyond excited to be bringing the film version of Ghost Stories to life." [CinEuropa.org article Nov 2016]THIS POST IN BRIEF:
- Warp announced a new film in Feb 2016, already picked up by 'big 7' Lionsgate for UK distribution, with Altitude handling international sales
- Pre-selling rights at the pre-production stage is common for Indies (legendary social realist auteurs Ken Loach + Mike Leigh have done this throughout their careers). German rights were also pre-sold to Tele München/Concorde after a pitch at the Berlin European Film Market in feb 2016
- This is an adaptation of an internationally successful play, bringing some comparisons with Woman in Black (but note the IP is limited compared to Les Mis)
- Warp's reputation for allowing creatives to retain control, not the accountants, saw Nyman reject interest from Hollywood studios (who immediately suggested star-based changes!)
- Martin Freeman's casting led most reports; star of the $3bn Hobbit franchise this suggests a more ambitious/commercial approach from Warp ...
- ...BUT he's no A-lister (the IP and CGI sold the Hobbit, not a UK TV star!), and its no coincidence that as of May 2017 the UK remains the only territory with a distributor
- Warp's online efforts at building interest and an audience through the pre-/production/post- stages has been typically lax ...
- ... BUT co-director/writer Andy Nyman has exemplified the ability of cast and crew to use social media to promote a production (eg the 5 crew badges Twitter draw)
- ... AND Altitude have been very active
- Lionsgate UK, however, have yet to properly launch; their website contains only a coming soon message!
PRODUCTION ANNOUNCED AT A FAN FEST...
Okay, so its not the 80,000 packed into the Dallas Cowboys football stadium just to see a teaser trailer (1 strand of the epic Avatar campaign, arranged through ComicCon, the world's leading fan forum for such announcements), but Ghost Stories is following a smart path of pre-/production promotion, launching a 'concept teaser trailer' at FrightFest:
|Horror blog FlickeringMyth reports the announcement, complete with 'concept teaser trailer'|
|ScreenDaily (US) announce the production, Feb 2016|
|So much for the auteur theory! Empire (UK) also led on Freeman's involvement|
Casting Martin Freeman seems a real coup for Warp - after all, he was the lead in the tentpole Hobbit franchise (combined budgets $675m, box office $2.9bn). However, IP was the key marketing factor there, and he cannot be considered an A-List star any more than Lord of the Rings star Andy Serkis can 'open a film' by himself. Freeman's presence does help with marketing though, and gaining distribution, but the lack of progress there is significant. Hollywood conglomerate Lionsgate picking the film up for distribution is a coup, as one of what many now argue should be called the big seven to reflect their considerable global success in recent years (expanding the traditional big six of Disney, Warner Bros, Fox, Universal, Sony, Paramount).
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Saturday, April 08, 2017
Thursday, March 09, 2017
Monday, March 06, 2017
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Tragically, there will be only ten minutes of this cinematic feast, delivered through TV, as part of the Comic Relief telethon that Curtis helped create. One can only hope for a fourth Bridget Jones movie to ease the pain.
Thanks to Richard for alerting me to this televisual splendour, a nice example of convergence, with the TV/film divide fading - About a Boy being another Working Title example.
LA itself has become a meme since its release; as this article notes, comparisons have been made between the Grant character and Canadian PM Trudeau this week.
A notoriously polarising film, Love Actually’s cultural currency has grown in the 14 years since it was released. The film has been repeatedly unpicked, spoofed and deconstructed; four foreign language films – in Japanese, Hindi, Polish and Dutch – have also been inspired by the movie.
The showdown between Hugh Grant’s upstanding UK prime minister and the boorish, lecherous US president – reportedly based on a Bill Clinton/George W Bush hybrid – has been a touchstone of political discourse ever since. Even this week, Canadian premier Justin Trudeau found himself compared to Grant, following his meeting with US President Donald Trump....
Sunday, February 12, 2017
An overview of Lionsgate's evolving strategy, although I don't share the author's confidence that a reversion to lower budget (current hit and Oscar favourite La La Land cost $30m), arthouse Oscar bait is an intentional shift, rather the ending of two huge YA franchises based on book series that came to firm endings.
Their 2017 slate includes a new book adaptation, My Little Pony and Power Rangers, not to mention a Saw reboot, so they're clearly not done with what Elberse describes as the blockbuster strategy yet, let alone the all-prevailing franchise model.
La La Land's success heralds return to Lionsgate's small-scale roots https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/feb/11/la-la-land-lionsgate-film-studio?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger
Saturday, February 04, 2017
Wednesday, February 01, 2017
The success is also noteworthy for the 2 decade gap between franchise entries, something only Star Wars (19 years after Jedi) can claim.
Return trip: T2 Trainspotting shoots up UK box-office chart https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/31/uk-box-office-film-t2-trainspotting-sing-la-la-land-split-hacksaw-ridge?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger