Alan R Milligan • Producer, Tannhauser Gate
“The conversion of streaming audiences in the last few months is a massive turnaround for the film industry”
- Producer Alan R Milligan, of Norway-based company Tannhauser Gate, has discussed with us being selected as one of EFP’s 2020 Producers on the Move
European Film Promotion: Corona is a real challenge for the whole film industry: What does it means to you?
Alan R Milligan: It's been said that sometimes nothing happens for decades, at other times decades happens in weeks. The conversion of streaming audiences in the last few months is a massive turnaround for the film industry. While subscriptions for OTTs accelerated dramatically I don't see revenues accelerating for rights holders. The big techs OTT business model is a serious challenge to our status and independence as producers and to the diversity of European cinema. I'm also a software entrepreneur with White Rabbit and together with European production companies Haut et Court, K5, Elzévir and The Bureau we are launching a new business model for digital distribution. Can we increase film industry revenues by giving our audience direct access to content and as producers still retain ownership of IP? We are taking a positive approach to peer-to-peer distribution, as the world’s largest market for streaming revenue and data in the world. Key to that is securing IP ownership its due revenue which can be done with blockchain.
This year’s edition of Producers on the Move will be completely digital without any personal contact and rosé. What do you expect from the programme? Is it still a chance for you?
I won't lie - I do love Cannes for all its hustle and bustle, glitz and glamour - but mostly its conversation with colleagues over a glass of rosé and a gentle sea breeze with palm trees swaying in the background that I'll miss from the online event. Our work is a business though so we must keep trucking, but still... it’s a more personal business than most. So that magnetism or spark that comes with meeting people who you might work with might differ. That makes the online event an entirely new vantage point to find partners to work with - and that's something I look forward to discovering how plays out. I'm sure though we will arrange rosé across Europe to be enjoyed digitally with our colleagues and we'll see films born as a result of EFP 2020.
What do you think are the specificities of the industry in your country?
Norway has a hugely talented pool in every aspect - both in front and behind the camera as well as in post-production. We've experienced a lot of success with series especially in the past few years - well written and well directed. Relatively speaking its an expensive country but generally speaking the crew costs and post-production is not out of line with most of Europe. Norway also has very unique nature which has come to the fore in the last few years with tax incentives. Finally, it’s important for me to mention Sorfond which supports projects originating from countries that mostly don't have established financing opportunities. I've been fortunate to be part of some amazing projects due to this funds work.
What was the hardest problem you had to solve as a producer?
Creating a sustainable distribution model. If we want to ensure diversity of cinema we must allow easy access to our content. I'm in the White Rabbit project to make sure I can come back to producing exclusively, with renewed confidence that distribution rewards the filmmakers and investors. The peer-to-peer audience is much larger than any OTT and they watch arthouse cinema in large numbers; so the reward in solving that problem by that audience’s willingness to pay offers interesting opportunities.
Do you take part in the creative/artistic aspects of the film's creation?
Often. It's hard to not get creatively involved being so early in the process with the writer or director. I've developed projects from scratch myself and written parts - my first career was as a speech writer. In the end however I am the producer, not the director or writer so at some point you let go and trust your creatives.
What projects are in your near future? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
The three projects I have now (Into the Grey, Dawg Fight and The Sky is Mine) is my near future, as is my work with White Rabbit. In ten years White Rabbit has been a positive impact for the film industry and I'm back to full time producing independent cinema for a global audience, who access my content at the click of a button. I'd also like to think that I’m enjoying a glass of rosé in Cannes in May 2030 with my colleagues. I’ll buy a round when that happens.
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