Experts Debate Genre Film Finance Models

By Sandwell, Ian | Screen International, April 15, 2015 | Go to article overview

Experts Debate Genre Film Finance Models


Sandwell, Ian, Screen International


House of Netherhorror's Jan Doense noted that one of the benefits of film funds in the European market when it came to genre films was that as it was softmoney, they generally give "more artistic freedom".

"The system gives the opportunity for original ideas to get funded in an easier way than in North America where there isn't the support of a film fund."

However, XYZ Films' Todd Brown countered that support from film funds does have a potential downfall. "It's certainly the company line about giving creative freedom, but what I see in Canada all the time is that it creates a cycle of dependence. Producers developing projects according to the tastes of the funding body as opposed to the tastes of the director or the writer or the audience."

Strength of genre films

Talk turned to genre films in the international marketplace with Kinology's Gaëlle Mareschi stating that "everybody wants to do horror movies because they think they're super commercial and cheap to make".

Citing her experiences with Cub, the first Flemish-language horror, Mareschi recalled that aside from the story, there was one other advantage that attracted them to the project.

"The potential for pre-sales was strong because it was a horror, and we did a lot of pre-sales on the promo at AFM. It was harder to wrap new sales after the film was shown, not because of the language, but because it was about kids killing adults."

Equity

Having worked with Ti West, Glass Eye Pix's Peter Phok brought up the DIY approach to film-making and just going out there and shooting without finance necessarily in place, adding that it's increasingly become about "taking advantage of what you have" with the lack of film funds available in the US.

"A lot of films are put together mainly through equity and now all the states have a tax credit incentive, so we'll get a script and as much as it's about shooting where makes sense, you have to look at those incentives and start to build your budget around those," explained Phok.

"It's not a privilege to be a film-maker; it's something that if you want to do, you do it. Even when I did make money at the start of my career, it wasn't very much. You invest in yourself and you work with what you have."

From his perspective, Brown commented that it wasn't about the budget when it came deciding to back a project, but about the gap because "that's the mountain you've got to climb, no matter where you are in the world" - "In the US with the tax credits system, your gap is going to be 70-75% of your budget; in Europe, if you're able to stack things up, it's usually in the 30-40% range. …

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