Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Day 2, Panel 1 - Independent Visions

Panelists (left to right): Margaret Deriaz (BFI), Gemma Spector (Revolver)  and Julia Short (Verve).

Julia Short (MD, Verve Pictures) is a hugely experienced independent film distributor of 20 years.
Gemma (Head of Marketing) started off talking about her latest film just completed and about to be launched a dramatised biography about Mike Tyson, simply called Tyson.
Margaret (Head of Distribution for BFI) introduced herself by speaking about the general work and resources of the BFI, touching on it's archive. library, support & work with festivals such as the London Film Festival, it's education programme and it's publishing & distribution arm that releases films and print such as Sight & Sound. 
She explained how they hire out films and give access to archive materials to venues, festivals & programmers. They also offer advice/support in how to acquire the rights from copyright holders to gain full permission to screen.

Picking up on Rob & Zachary's earlier analysis of the SWOT exercise around the strengths & weaknesses of Black Film exhibition/distribution - I thought the point about the dearth of critical analysis of Black film in the wider or more mainstream public domain is key.

I thought Margaret's point discussing the difficulty of translating (and therefore marketing & selling) a film effectively in a trailor was interesting; showing Mario Van PeeblesBaadasssss! film (a film about his pioneering father Melvin Van Peeebles ) as an example.

See the trailer for Baadasssss! below:

Julia mentioned an interesting film 'Talk to Me', starring Don Cheadle - that was artistically successfully, but which had trouble being picked up by mainstream cinemas due to perhaps not successfully 'translating' the film to cinemas and audiences - being neither mainstream nor quite arthouse and the 'materials not matching the sell of the film'.

See the trailer for Talk to Me below:

Julia broke down how films rights holders & distributors make their money and where the profit is (essentially through post theatrical release merchandise, eg DVDs and licensing to TV such as Sky.

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