The London Film Festival boasts a strong industry section
by Kaleem Aftab
- Running from 4-15 October, the industry programme of the BFI London Film Festival 2017 looks at best practices in the industry, innovation, diversity and film financing
The impact of Brexit and the future of public film funding in Britain will be discussed extensively at a number of industry events at the BFI London Film Festival 2017, which runs from 4-15 October.
Three heavy hitters of the British film industry – Ben Roberts, director of the BFI Film Fund; Daniel Battsek, director of Film4; and Rose Garnett, director of BBC Films – are panellists for the talk “The Future of Film Funding”, where they will discuss their respective strategies for supporting films and filmmakers, together with the challenges and opportunities facing independent film. This also follows the launch of the BFI’s new five-year strategy last November (see the news).
Ben Roberts will also host a separate event called “Inside the BFI Film Fund”, which will discuss BFI2022, the new five-year plan for UK film, and analyse its commitment to supporting a broader range of innovation, work, talent and audiences. The event will look at the range of funding opportunities available through the BFI, discussing the selection criteria and the films that the institute is looking to support.
Once again highlighting the uncertainty felt in the industry as Brexit edges ever nearer, plus the impact that it may have on public funding, a separate panel, “Understanding Brexit: What We Know, What We Don't Yet Know and What We Are Doing About It”, has a rather cumbersome title that in and of itself highlights the confusion felt as Britain withdraws from the European Union. BFI head of International Isabel Davis will host a panel comprising Ted Shapiro, partner at Wiggin LLP’s Brussels office; David Jevons, partner at the Economics Consultancy Oxera; James Hickey, CEO of the Irish Film Board; and Harriet Finney, the BFI’s new director of External Affairs.
There are also panels that take a look at diversity in the film industry: “Busting the Bias: Everyday Inclusion of Disabled People on and Behind the Screen” will look at best practices for getting disabled workers into the industry, and “Who’s in Your Crew” will be a practical session on improving inclusion and diversity behind the camera. On the technical side of filmmaking, several Oscar winners will appear to discuss “Recreating Reality: the Road to the VFX Oscar in Association with AMPAS”, and for the more fashion-conscious, Mad Max costume designer Jenny Beavan is one of the panellists on “Feathers, Fabrics and Fantasy Worlds: the Magic of Costume Design”.
How cinema can survive in the age of the smart phone is under discussion in “Does Gen X Give a Damn About the Big Screen?”, something of an odd title, given that Gen X was in the 1980s, and the 16- to 24-year-olds being discussed are most commonly referred to as Millennials or, occasionally, Generation Y. Nonetheless, the panellist will question how the perception of this group that “everything is available online” strikes fear into the hearts of film distributors, exhibitors, filmmakers, film festivals and critics who rely on the theatrical market.
There is also a series of events under the umbrella “LFF Supporting Emerging Talent”, which includes “Network@LFF”, a series of master classes, screenings, networking and one-to-ones with visiting UK and international filmmakers and executives whose films are being shown at the festival.
In addition, there are the annual LFF Industry Events: “Experimenta” is an event for artists’ moving image (AMI) that this year focuses on India and is guest-curated by Shai Heredia. The festival is also continuing its partnership with Film London and the Film London Production Finance Market (PFM), a two-day event facilitating over 800 face-to-face meetings between producers and financiers from the international marketplace. Meanwhile, the Film London Micro Market offers 30 emerging filmmakers the chance to connect with potential financiers for projects budgeted at €1 million and under. The PFM and Micro Market are supported by the Mayor of London, Creative Europe, Creative Skillset, the Department for International Trade and the BFI.
Also, there is a series of talks which will see Julian Rosefeldt and Cate Blanchett discuss their work together, Nitin Sawhney evoke scoring films, author Ian McEwan talk about adapting his books for the screen, Dane Johan Knattrup Jensen explain more about his VR work, David Fincher discuss his new TV series, and Demis Hassabis give more details on AI.
Giving Screen Talks will be Japanese auteur Takeshi Miike on his hundred-film career, Venice Golden Lion winner Guillermo del Toro, US actress Annette Bening, US actor Jake Gyllenhaal and Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel.
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