From #MeToo to the new wave of streaming services, there’s a lot going on in the film business. We welcomed Tom Grater, Senior Reporter at Screen International to the Press Room this month, and he gives us the rundown on what’s happening in the industry.
What are you writing about at the moment?
At Screen we cover a very wide remit – anything related to the global film industry and to an extent TV as well. As our primary UK reporter this country is my main remit, but I write a lot of international news. I’ve just returned from the American Film Market in Los Angeles where we covered all of the events there: new projects being announced, distribution deals, etc. Our ongoing focuses include stories about the Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement, diversity questions in the film industry, and the shifting distribution landscape that has been majorly disrupted by players such as Amazon and Netflix. For the next few months, the awards season is key for us, with the industry’s attention firmly fixed on the major award ceremonies. Next week (Nov 26) I travel to Tallinn Black Nights film festival to cover the industry activity there.
What are the headlines that everyone’s talking about?
Weinstein case, growing prominence of #MeToo, ongoing questions around diversity in the industry (in the UK and abroad), the extreme growth of Netflix and the proposed new streaming services from Disney etc, the Disney-Fox merger, the challenges in the theatrical market, the polarisation of revenues from blockbuster films and small indie titles – there’s a lot going on in the film business!
What is your biggest frustration as a journalist?
#FakeNews has created an increased distrust of journalists but that hasn’t ever really affected me personally. I think the decline in print and online advertising revenues has changed the industry a lot, and smaller budgets mean less time to work on more investigative pieces. The importance of web traffic and diminished staff numbers mean that there is an emphasis on quantity of content rather than quality (churnalism). Luckily, trade magazines seem to have been less affected by these factors things than other outlets such as nationals – we’re doing ok.
What are you watching on TV at the moment?
British TV is in a good moment. Killing Eve was great fun (Jodie Comer, what a star!) but I thought Bodyguard was pretty underwhelming. My secret pleasure is cooking programmes and I consume a remarkable amount of MasterChef and Great British Menu. On the cinema side, The Favourite is this year’s must-see film!