What's Next for 'Lady Macbeth' and 'God's Own Country' Agency Creative England?

By Wiseman, Andreas | Screen International, September 20, 2017 | Go to article overview

What's Next for 'Lady Macbeth' and 'God's Own Country' Agency Creative England?


Wiseman, Andreas, Screen International


Screen spoke to Creative England’s head of film Paul Ashton.

Creative England’s challenges have been well documented in recent years.

So has the value of its film department.

Despite seeing cuts to its head count and a discontinuation of BFI Lottery production funding, the public and privately funded agency which champions the regions will continue to oversee iFeatures, administer the relaunched West Midlands Fund, and provide crucial regional production services.

This year has seen the release of iFeatures festival hit Lady Macbeth and Sundance drama God’s Own Country (the latter received production funding from the organisation), both of which have performed strongly at the UK box office.

The third film in the latest iFeatures round, Apostasy, just received its world premiere at Toronto, and will go on to play at San Sebastian and London, while The Ritual, a film not produced by Creative England but which did receive early development support, just struck a big deal with Netflix out of the same festival.

Screen spoke to recently appointed head of film Paul Ashton about 2017 successes, the challenging finance landscape and future prospects.

Creative England will be hosting event ‘Stories About Place’ in London tonight with speakers including producer Stephen Woolley and directors Alex Usborne (The Marker), Moin Hussain (Real Gods Require Blood), Loran Dunn (Lambing Season) and Rubika Shah (White Riot: London).

Check out the stirring showreel made for the event below:

Screen: What is coming up on the film slate?

Paul Ashton: We had the world premiere of Apostasy at Toronto. That was the third film in the round of iFeatures which included Lady Macbeth and The Levelling. The Ritual also showed in Midnight Madness. That wasn’t one we produced but we were involved in the early development.

Lucy Cohen’s documentary Kingdom Of Us will debut at the London Film Festival. It is the first film developed and backed by Creative England which has been picked up by Netflix as a Netflix Original. It’s a really strong film about a family trying to come together following the suicide of their father.

Toby MacDonald’s Old Boys is going out to festivals for consideration as is Matt Palmer’s Calibre while there will also be some shorts at LFF.

We’ve got a mix of films coming through, including the next round of iFeatures which includes two exciting female directors: Eva Riley with Perfect Ten and Claire Oakley with Make-up, alongside Retreat from deaf filmmaker Ted Evans, which is set to be the first British feature film to be made entirely in sign-language.

In terms of the Lottery backed films, the last three are punk drama White Riot by Rubika Shah and Ed Gibbs, documentary Dawn Of The Dark Fox by autistic spectrum filmmaker Michael Smith who co-writes/directs with Tom Stubbs and a TV feature about an alternative John Lennon history called Snodgrass, which will be directed by Chris Shepherd. …

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