The Insiders Guide to Film Finance

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With contributions from leading professionals around the world, and an up-to-date international approach, this is an invaluable tool for producers, and others involved in the film industry.

He has worked on films such as The 51st State, Goodbye Mr Steadman, Tooth and numerous television programmes and series. Philip is involved in raising finance for film and television productions and negotiating and structuring film and television deals. He undertakes corporate and commercial work and handles the intellectual property aspects of broadcasting and finance transactions. He has also executive produced numerous film and television productions. Help Centre. Track My Order.

Guide The Insiders Guide to Film Finance

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The Insider's Guide to Film Finance

International Coproductions An international coproduction is a form of a presale where the distributor takes a much larger stake in the film, and in fact becomes a coproducer on the movie. International coproductions grew out of presales. When distributors started getting badly burned, they decided that if they took a greater involvement in the project, it could act as insurance that the film was executed properly.

International coproductions, like presales, are very rare these days, and pretty much carry the same requirements as a presale in terms of a salable project and A-list cast potential.

However, with the increase in demand for nonfiction programming by cable and satellite networks, I have actually seen an increase in international coproductions for documentaries and special-interest films that fit a programming mandate. For example, when a new travel network began broadcasting in Germany, they were so hungry for travel documentaries that they entered into several international coproduction deals to fill their programming pipeline and ensure that they would have enough shows in the coming year to air to their burgeoning audience.

Sometimes you can finance a film with one international coproduction, or several at a time, and as with a presale, a distributor also retains the distribution rights for their territory in a coproduction arrangement.

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InsiderS Guide To Film Finance by Alberstat P. - Bookchor

I know you are one of the most prestigious foreign sales agencies, but are you a production company as well? Where are you based? Fortissimo Films was founded in We are well known for our passion for film and for nurturing up-and-coming directors and producers. We have excellent relationships with key international distributors, film festivals, and local and international journalists—which helps us in the promotion, marketing, and selling of the films we represent.

We have been involved Before You Start Production in production as producers and as executive producers. We also have agents in Tokyo and Beijing. Speaking of acquisitions, how and where do you acquire most of your films? We are sent a lot of scripts, and a lot of projects are now acquired at script stage.

the insider guide to film finance

There are also screenings throughout the year when filmmakers send us their finished films to screen. We attend all of the major festivals and markets, where we also screen films that are still available for sales representation and have meetings with producers and discuss their new projects.

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Do you acquire only finished films, or scripts as well? If so, what are the requirements for each? If we acquire a finished film, we prefer that it has not been shown in any festivals. This then gives us the opportunity to premiere the film in the appropriate way and at the appropriate festival. We like to work with films as early as possible. On projects from a script stage, we like to have a complete package. What do you look for in an indie film? Must there be A-list stars attached?


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Or must it have won at a major festival? Something with a strong story. A story with heart and one that will speak to a wide audience. We represent a lot of films without the so-called A-list cast, and if they are strong and different enough, they can succeed. Obviously, having a named cast can help a film enormously, but it is not always a condition with us.

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We certainly do represent independent films with no names, and will continue to do so. How has the foreign sales landscape changed over the years in terms of the types of films you acquire? It has changed somewhat. We have always been known for dealing with foreign-language films, in particular Asian films, and we continue with that. In the last few years, we have taken on many more English-language films and have achieved great success.


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For most independent distributors, it has become nearly impossible to sell art-house films to free and pay television, and therefore their acquisition policies have become much more conservative. Any suggestions for filmmakers who want to approach you with their film? What is the preferred method and protocol? Most of my correspondence throughout the year is by email, as it is with my colleagues.

If a filmmaker wants us to consider their finished film or script, then an initial email to us with information about the film or the project is good. I always stress that if you can find a name of someone in the company to address it to, this means a lot. We get a lot of anonymous emails, and they are not always dealt with first! Be concise, but at the same time give a good idea of what you have. Check out the Fortissimo web site; it paints a very good picture of the kind of films we work with.

If you do not do your homework and send us a film or project that is absolutely not our sort of thing, you are not only wasting your time but ours as well. These rules also apply for personal meetings at festivals and markets. Any tips for filmmakers who want to make a picture that has potential for foreign distribution? Is it all horror and action films everyone is after? Like us, our distributors are always on the lookout for different and standout films. There are some tried and tested types of films, and there are trends, but these change in time, and we have to change with the times.

There are still a lot of low-budget films being made, and a lot of them are awfully good. Have decent production values, make sure you have a budget for all the items that will be required of you by a sales agent, and in turn a distributor, and if possible talk to a sales agent as early in the game as possible. It is invaluable to have an agent on board and working with you through the life of the film.

Of course, aside from these two forms of distribution-related financing, there are the tried-and-true financing methods—including seeking out private investors, raising money from friends and Before You Start Production 31 family, and maxing out your credit cards. In my opinion, that is a good number to adhere to, because if the film turns out well, you can at least be sure to recoup that amount in a U.

The Insider's Guide to Film Finance

DVD distribution deal over time. Creating a Trailer or Promo to Raise Presale and International Coproduction Money In terms of raising presale and international coproduction money, one effective way to accomplish this is by cutting together a short trailer or promo of your movie to show to potential distributors. If you are making a documentary film, for example, one way to accomplish this is through the use of stock footage. For instance, if you are trying to raise money for a documentary on the Gulf War, you could go to broadcast archives such as CNN or the BBC, both which have footage-licensing arms, and order screening cassettes of programs relating to the Gulf War.