The film financing of a £660k feature film

Last year, I shared the full costs and income of a £850k feature film called Papadopoulos & Sons.  The article remains popular and has led to a number of people asking me to share similar details of other films.  It’s a tricky ask, as the film industry is normally a closed shop and withholds numbers even when there is no obvious reason to do so.

However, every now and then I meet filmmakers who are committed to helping the film community by sharing their journey.

Today’s article covers the film financing of a new feature called Alleycats. The film’s director Ian Bonhôte and its producer Andee Ryder have been kind enough to share with me how they raised two-thirds of a million pounds.

Alleycats is an …

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The power shift in film exhibition: A case study of ourscreen

Film distribution and exhibition are going through a radical metamorphosis. For the first 100 years of film, the business model didn’t change much. In the first five or so decades, audiences had to see movies in cinemas, or never get a chance to see them again.  From around the 1950s, movies also appeared on television and in the 1980s the home video market emerged.

These technologies provided new ways to watch movies but did not change the power dynamic between the industry and audiences. The public had to wait until the industry was ready to sell them access to the movie, and the industry set the terms.

This meant huge delays between a movie appearing on home video or TV, and also it took a long time for a …

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Studying race in the UK film industry

In the past, I have conducted quite a bit of research into gender inequality in the UK film industry. I often receive questions asking when I’m going to tackle race to the same degree I have researched gender.

My answer has always been two-fold:  yes, I’d absolutely love to but sadly I don’t have a way to perform the classification. Race is a more complex issue than gender and is hard to measure from the outside.  And because of this, race has gone largely ignored while gender gets ever better analysis and research.

However, I think I have now found a reliable method and am ready to start addressing questions around race in UK film.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that it’s …

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The numbers behind Metrodome Distribution

Last week, it was announced that UK distributor Metrodome has gone into administration.  It’s sad news for their staff, the filmmakers they worked with, the exhibitors they supplied and for all UK cinema goers who enjoyed films outside of the mainstream.

Since the news was announced, I have been contacted by a number of people who want to get a sense of the numbers behind Metrodome and their effect on the UK exhibition scene.

Metrodome’s balance sheet

For most of this article I’m going to focus on the films Metrodome released, but I thought I should start with a little financial information.  In the twelve years for which Metrodome Group Limited filed annual accounts (i.e. 2003 to 2014), the company had revenues of …

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What needs to change in the UK film industry

It appears to me that the UK film industry is currently in a period of increased introspection.  Even before the Brexit vote, I noticed a rise in the number of questions I received from industry professionals, both online and in person, about what’s next for UK film.  Popular topics include equality within the industry, the dramatic fall in micro-budget production and the response of the British Film Institute (BFI) on various issues.

And then in June, the decision by UK voters to leave the EU shocked the film industry. The vast majority of filmmakers didn’t have a working knowledge of how the UK film industry connected with European bodies and institutions, and only learnt the advantages they had been receiving once the decision had been made to discontinue them.  Scaremongering …

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What does a post-Brexit UK film industry look like?

Right now, the UK film industry is trying to understand what the UK leaving the EU (“Brexit”) means for its future.  A small number of things in a post-Brexit UK film industry are certain, but the vast majority are open to opinion, conjecture and downright guessing.  I don’t profess to have a magic method of seeing the future, nor am I necessarily any good at disentangling scare tactics from useful predictions. However, I am keen to move the debate to a more useful, practical phase where we as an industry can start making sense of this uncharted territory.

So to help with this I have spent the last week talking to a number of people, running a survey of the industry and …

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How will Brexit affect the UK film industry?

Last Thursday, 52% of the UK voting population opted for the UK to leave the European Union (EU).  I am going to avoid the political side of this conversation as it’s been covered well elsewhere.  I will also avoid sharing my own opinion on the matter as there are no shortage of people shouting off on one side or another.  

However, I thought I can add to the conversation by looking at the numbers for how the British and European film industries interact and how Brexit will affect the UK film industry.

Note: A week later I have returned to the topic, based on more research and interviews with over 150 film industry professionals.  Both articles address the topic from different angles, so after reading this …

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Economics of location filming pt3: Police and government

Two weeks ago I shared the data on the economics of location filming in local councils and last week it was museums and galleries.  This week it’s the turn of government bodies and the police.

In total, I sent 793 Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to public bodies throughout the UK.  The ones I’m addressing today total 272, although only half of those contacted actually provided data (135).  The law requires public bodies to comply with FOI requests, although there are a number of exceptions (see more about that here).

For example, all branches of the Armed Forces refused to answer on the grounds that it would take them too long to do the maths (or “It has been estimated that the cost of complying with your …

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Economics of location filming Pt2: Museums and galleries

This week I am sharing more results from my investigation into the economics of location filming in the UK.  I sent almost 800 UK public bodies a Freedom of Information request asking about the costs they charge, the income they receive and the services they provide to film and television shows which wish to shoot in their locations (more on my methodology here).  Last week, I shared the data from local councils and this week I am turning to museums and galleries.  In coming weeks I’ll look at the police force and other public bodies.

The UK has a large number of fascinating museums and galleries, many of which make perfect backdrops for film and television productions.  Some make the location a part of the plot (such as the …

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A UK-wide investigation into the cost of location filming: Part 1

Today’s article is the first in a multi-part series looking at the costs of location filming in the UK.  I sent out almost 800 Freedom of Information requests in order to find out how much bodies such as local councils earn from location filming. Upcoming articles will focus on filming in museums, with the police and other related costs for shooting on location.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) allows the public to request information from public bodies and, save for a few exceptions, the bodies are required to answer.  This is a wonderful piece of legislation as it empowers the public to hold their politicians and civil servants to account.  Over the past few months I have made 793 Freedom of Information …

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