Guest Post by Matthew Helderman
- Matthew Helderman (Buffalo8 & BondIt)
My overview was focused on the distribution shifts reshaping the financing environment. Whereas a film equity investment has always been a highly risky endeavor — today it’s less and less a part of the financing puzzle as minimum guarantees, tax incentives and international soft money (incentives, grants, institutional support) are reframing the investment philosophy for film as an investment asset class.
- Jordan McGarry (VIMEO)
Jordan, Director Content Curation at VIMEO, gave a super intriguing overview on how VIMEO is aggressively getting in to the original content market (a la Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, etc). Jordan noted that users on VIMEO represent some of the best content creators in the world and that the brand has begun focusing on shepherding that talent for the green lighting of longer form content from series to film to stand up one man show’s. Vimeo is gearing up to build a library of internally financed & produced content.
- Andy Mayson (ALTITUDE)
Andy, Head of Sales & Co-CEO at Altitude (UK based distribution & sales firm), also gave an insightful overview on how the international sales landscape is continually being altered. Nearly market to market (meaning, from Cannes to AFM to Berlin to MIPCOM to Toronto) the landscape is shifting. As such, content of high quality is reigning supreme and cheap B-level content is becoming more difficult to market, sell and profit from (which was not the case 10 years ago). Andy & his team also locked up the film Green Room (director Jeremy Sautnier’s follow up to the incredible 2014 release Blue Ruin) which was my favorite screening of the festival.
- Kerry Gaffney (MOFilm)
Kerry, a director in the production department at UK & New York based MoFilm, gave an overview on crowdfunding & crowdsourcing in regards to the power of harnessing open source communities. The Kickstarter and IndieGoGo successes of the world are no secret but the building / rising swell of crowdsourced content (from ideation through distribution) continues to be a driving force in democratizing the playing field.
- Miranda Fleming (Fanslike Agency)
Miranda, founder & CEO of Fanlike Agency, is an expert in the production, oversight and success of filmmaking campaigns online. From crowdsourcing, crowdfunding and marketing — Miranda has seen a shift into films and filmmakers organizing a community prior to embarking upon production. As such, films enjoy a back end that is more model-able given the upfront built in audience that enables analytics to be run.
Green Room — best film I’ve seen all year and an incredible follow-up from Jeremy Sauntier from the success of BLUE RUIN in 2014. Grade-A pick up for New York upstart distributor A24, who has made some bold and successful plays in the past 36 months.
Youth — Paolo Sorrentino’s follow up to Cannes 2013 masterpiece Great Beauty. I was only able to catch a bit of the film due to other commitments but the portion I was able to grab was incredible — the visuals stunning (see Great Beauty), the pacing perfect and the writing spot on.
Jodorowsky’s Dune — exceptional documentary (in a year full of exceptional documentaries) with a story so wild it has to be true and a narration style enjoyable and inviting.
Sicario — Denis Villaneuve’s follow-up to the impressive combo of Prisoners and Enemy over the past few years. Sicario is intense, unflinching and reveal deeply rooted in the tone of the film as a whole — dark and twisted.
Suffragette — One of the largest screenings at the festival (UK premiere) and certain to be an Oscar contender on multiple levels. A solid period piece that is both timely and well-executed — I expect to see writing, acting and production design as shoe-in nominations.
The Program — Stephen Frears’ follow-up to the incredible turn with Philomena is a smart and well-executed film, yet there are flaws. The pacing is great and the acting is top-notch but there is literally nothing explored that isn’t already known on the surface of the story — being the biggest downfall of a living athlete, perhaps ever.
Steve Jobs — UK premiere screening for press — fully packed screening of 400+. This is the film I have most been excited for all year — I love Apple, I love Steve Jobs, I love Walter Isaacson’s mesmerizing book, I love Aaron Sorkin and I like Danny Boyle. All things considered — it was a fun film and another certain Oscar contender. There are numerous flaws — not the least of which being the fact that it didn’t much feel like Steve Jobs, almost at all.