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.

The economics of film festivals

Last week I published the results of my study of almost 10,000 film festivals.  I found that around 3,000 festivals were active (i.e had run an event in the last 2 years),  most were in North America and 75% of them were created in the last ten years. That was a quantitative study based on publicly available information, but for the full picture I felt I needed to do a qualitative investigation to hear film festival directors’ points of view.

I contacted 5,000 film festival directors from my original list, asking them to fill in a quick anonymous survey about their experiences.  523 festival directors completed my survey, which was a higher number than I was expecting.  This reflected a wider …

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How many film festivals are there in the world?

This is the first of three articles about Film Festivals. In part 2 I will publish a survey I have conducted with film festival directors around the world, showing the data on their point of view. Part 3 will give a voice to the human stories of the festival directors by sharing stories and advice for filmmakers. This article focuses on the data behind film festivals around the world. At the bottom of this article I have gone into detail on the methodology I used to uncover these results.  I also list numerous ways in which I regard this study to be lacking, meaning that numbers should be assumed to be around 90%-95% accurate.  The short answer is that I …

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Digital film distribution in the UK

The physical distribution and exhibition of movies in UK cinemas has changed hugely in the last five years.  The 125-year-old era of 35mm celluloid film is over, giving way to a digital future. Here are some of the key facts to stay up to speed with the recent changes in UK cinema exhibition…

  • 35mm distribution may end this year
  • Fortunately 92% of UK cinema screens are digital
  • And 41% are equipped with 3D
  • You only need 2k resolution for nearly all screens
  • 4k resolution is not always better than 2k
  • But screening at 4k can lead to better reviews
  • Vue have the most 4k screens in Europe
  • 4k storage is 11 times more expensive than 35mm film
  • Bonus fact: The best cinema seats are 1.5 times the height of the …
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    UK Box Office Survives a 89 Percent Crash

    Pop quiz, hot shot… What year had the most cinema tickets sold in the UK?   Was it the time of the Hollywood epic such as ‘Cleopatra‘ (1963)? Maybe the first wave of blockbusters like ‘Jaws‘ (1975) and ‘Star Wars‘ (1977).  ‘Avatar‘ (2009) perhaps? Or has ‘Pacific Rim‘ done so well as to make 2013 beat all previous records? (more…)

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    10 things I found in the YouTube small print

    I read the YouTube small print (i.e. Terms of Service) and this is what I discovered:

  • The contract exists even after deleting your account
  • There are at least two typos
  • YouTube asks you to print hard copies
  • If you accidentally stay logged in you must write to them
  • They can use your words, ideas and opinions
  • You must re-read the Terms on a regular basis
  • YouTube can sell your videos without paying you
  • They can change the deal without warning
  • You must be 18 years old to legally watch YouTube
  • YouTube’s Terms of Service may be unenforceable
  • The full details are below but, just to be safe, here are a few caveats… 1. I clearly ain’t no lawyer. If you’re an expert, a law professional, or a Reddit pedant please contact me with any errors. 2. I live …

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    49 Interesting Facts about the UK Film Industry

    The BFI have published the latest version of their annual publication, the BFI Statistical Yearbook 2013, which focuses on data collected in 2012.

    You can download the full 254 page report here at I’ve gone through and picked out what I regard as the 49 most interesting nuggets about the UK Film Industry.

    1. Women only made up 13% of screenwriters and 8% of directors.  Both figures are lower than 2011 (19% and 15% respectively).

    2. The BFI awarded £1m to short films in 2012.

    3. 200 films passed the Cultural Test in 2012 to become officially ‘British’. Of these, 13 were official co-productions.

    4. On average, films passing the Cultural Test were able to class 71% of their total budget as ‘Production Costs’ …

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    Raters Gonna Rate – UK film censorship

    It’s not often I get to start a blog post with a warning so I’m going to take full advantage of this.  Ahem.. Viewers are advised that this blog post contains 7 f**ks, 1 t**t, a b***h, a c**t (sorry), discussion of illegal acts and some really shocking graphs. You have been warned (or enticed, if that’s what you’re after).

    • Overview of the BBFC
    • The certifications
    • Swearing, violence and sex
    • Difference between American and UK UK film censorship
    • Figures for UK film censorship broken down by certification
    Raters gonna rate

    The UK film censorship ratings system is managed by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). The BBFC is not run by the government; it’s a private company funded by the film industry (2012 turnover = £6 million). …

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    UK Tax Credit for Short Films

    A few years ago I wrote an article for Moviescope magazine about my discovery that short films are eligible for the UK Tax Credit.  I’m reposting in on my blog in 2013 and it’s possible that the rules have changed. One big change is that the UK Film Council is no more and all their duties are being handled by the BFI.

    If you’re planning to use this scheme please check the current rules before relying on what I’ve written below.  Things change, and you don’t want to find out after it’s too late.

    Anyway, now that that’s said, here’s the article…

    Tax is rarely exciting. It falls between dealing with insurance and music clearances in the top ten things I dislike most about my job. However, it’s a necessary evil and …

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