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!
Last week saw the great and good of the creative industry converge at The Mill for the the third installment of the ADCAN Awards – an annual competition, which champions unsigned creative talent by giving them access to industry leaders, and provides charities and social enterprises with original content to help promote their cause.
Unlike other awards ceremonies, should the camera have cut to the nominees as the Grand Prix was announced, hoping to catch flashes of disappointment across the faces of those not taking the top prize, it would be rather missing the point and would probably not be the case, for the ADCAN Awards is all about supporting and nurturing young talent all in the name of incredible causes, as the Hashtag (which on the night was trending on Twitter) states #makegood.
ADCAN Founders Dan, Deborah and Brydon
Founded by creative and production veterans, Brydon Gerus, Dan Heighes and Deborah Casswell to provide a platform for new talent they felt was missing in the industry. Leading production companies Rattling Stick, Partizan and Nexus, not only judged the work but continued to champion talent with industry speed dating sessions and workshops.
The filmmakers were given four briefs, provided by four incredible causes to choose from. To give the evening extra significance representatives from the charities introduced the films made for their cause. Hearing Nordoff Robbins, Streetbank, The Girlhood and CALM talk was not only inspiring but made the work of the filmmakers all the more impressive. Each of the shortlisted films had managed to get to the heart of the charity’s work and I for one am not ashamed to admit that my eyes failed to remain dry throughout the screenings.
It was laughter however that won on the night for Klaas Diersmann and his film (T)HUGS for CALM, The Campaign Against Living Miserably – a charity which aims to challenge perceptions of masculinity in light of the growing number of male suicides. Capturing the need for young men to feel comfortable to talk about their problems and doing so in an accessible way won Klass the Grand Prix for best film and the biggest laugh in the room on the night.
Klass also won the innaugral Peoples Choice Award. Designed to allow supporters of the ADCAN Awards to have their say, guests on the night were encouraged to cast their votes and as a result discussion continued into the night on which film was deserving of this new award, meaning the work remained very much centre of attention, how very ADCAN!
2016 ADCAN Awards Winners
Our involvement with ADCAN from its inception meant there was a lot of pride in the advances the event has made, we work with some of the very best talent in industry and so it feels very natural to help play a part in ushering in the next generation.
There was a barnstorming finish to the evening as Chaka Sobhani, CCO of ad agency Leo Burnett gave a keynote address, telling all of the assembled talent that above all else, just go out and ‘make things’. The ADCAN Awards are doing just that as they continue to #makegood.
Check out the 2016 winners’ videos here https://adcanawards.com/winners.
By Mike Goward, Account Executive at Franklin Rae
It’s no mean feat to get an independent film made and released in cinemas. It’s hard work. Especially when you don’t have a five-figure budget and the only films that seem to really “make it” are the big budget, star-studded Hollywood blockbusters. This is why we came on board to launch new UK crime thriller, The Intent. Our job wasn’t just to help sell out cinema screens. We needed to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of independent film, and the work that goes into bringing topical stories and issues to the public via the big screen.
Written, produced and directed by two, very talented filmmakers Femi Oyeniran and Nicky ‘Slimting’ Walker, The Intent tells a true and chilling story of gang warfare and greed. Starring an array of incredible British actors including Dylan Duffus (1 Day and Line of Duty), Sarah Akokhia (Venus vs Mars, Hallows Eve) and Shone Romulus (Topboy), as well as some of the UK’s leading rappers including Scorcher, Krept and Konan and Fekky, the film hit nationwide cinema screens on July 29th and is accompanied by an equally thrilling soundtrack loaded with songs from Ghetts, Fekky, Ms Banks, Tanika and many more.
Working closely with Femi and Nicky, whom also star in the film, we created a campaign designed to generate a buzz around independent filmmaking and engage the film’s core target audience.
With an intense publicity drive, we secured 27 reviews of the film across national, film and mainstream consumer press.
“It’s a pulsating south London crime thriller that has confidence, energy and style”
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
We also arranged a number of interviews for the directors and cast with national, radio, TV, regional, print and online press, including BBC 1Xtra, BBC Radio West Midlands, London Live, Sky News, Evening Standard and NME. This all helped lead to The Intent selling out in cinema screens the day of release and reaching #3 on the iTunes film charts a couple of days later.
The success of the film signified an important game-change for the UK film industry as two young, talented BAME producers and directors achieved mainstream success without the support of a distributor, but through talent, focus and determination (and a robust publicity campaign).
Love Island stars Olivia Buckland and Alex Bowen at The Intent premiere in London
To complement the campaign, we also secured a number of competitions and giveaways with the likes of Sky Cinema and HMV.
We also held a private press screening at the BFI and helped to organise a glitzy central London premiere before the film officially hit cinema screens, securing the attendance of key influencers and celebs in the urban music, TV and comedy scene. The night was a huge success and a testament to the entire team’s hard work.
It’s both an honour and pleasure for us to be part of such an amazing project, and to promote the great talent we have in the UK film industry.
We look forward to seeing what’s next on the horizon for all those involved, so watch this space. In the meantime check out the film via www.theintentfilm.co.uk
By Anoushka Awad, Senior Account Manager at Franklin Rae