Recent articles on the Film Data Blog

Each week I look at a different topic around the film industry, focusing on the data and statistics which reveal what's going on.

Tips for attending the Berlinale and European Film Market

Today is the first day of the annual ten-day film industry gathering in Berlin which is half film festival (the “Berlinale”) and half trade show (the “European Film Market” or EFM). In a previous article, I looked at the films ‘In Competition’ over the past six decades of the Berlin Film Festival so today I thought I would focus on the experience of actually attending the festival and market.

I interviewed 237 film industry professionals who will be attending the EFM this year and asked for their advice for first-timers to the Berlinale and EFM. Below you will find a collection to tips and recommendations from EFM veterans, grouped into ten sub-categories. 

Tip 1: Be organised

A major comment from the respondents was to plan your trip well in advance. …

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What types of films compete at the Berlin Film Festival?

Later this week the 66th annual Berlin International Film Festival (known locally as the “Berlinale”) will start in a rather chilly Berlin. This year, 18 films are officially ‘In Competition’, all vying for the coveted top prize, the Golden Bear. The festival was founded in 1951 and is currently regarded as one of the ‘Big Three’ film festivals, alongside Cannes and Venice.  

However, the festival hasn’t always been held in such high esteem and at one point was close to collapse.  In 1970, one of the shortlisted films was O.K. (directed by Michael Verhoeven), which told the tale of a group of US soldiers raping a girl while on patrol in the Bavarian forest.  The incongruous location was a thin disguise for the film’s real message, …

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How much has the UK government paid in film tax breaks?

Last week, the BBC broadcast ‘The Great Gangster Film Fraud‘, a feature-length documentary which told the true story of an attempted scam by two “filmmakers”.  They used a combination of tax frauds in an attempt to claim £2.5 million from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).  They said they had made a £20 million film and so were entitled to money back via the Film Tax Relief (FTR) scheme.  When they were accused of fraud, they hastily rushed out a film for £84,000 in the hope this would placate HMRC (called ‘A Landscape of Lies‘, seemingly without a hint of irony).  It didn’t work and in 2013 the first ever prosecution of a FTR fraud case took place in which Aoife Madden and Bashar Al-Issa were jailed for four …

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How important is television income for filmmakers?

Today’s question comes from Craig, who is a filmmaker from Glasgow.  He emailed me to ask about the value of television rights to filmmakers.  

He had read my breakdown of the income from indie film Papadopoulos & Sons and noted that the television distribution rights brought in far more money than theatrical, DVD and Video On Demand (VOD).  “Is this normal?” he asked.

The short answer is, yes, television rights are currently the largest source of income for feature films.  The slightly longer answer is that each film will have a different income pattern, and some will earn more on other platforms than they do from television.

I took a look at the numbers behind television income for films in the UK.  In summary…

  • Television is the …
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