***taken from the blog***
The 2019 IFFR Reality Check conference tackled the thorny subject of development, and how filmmakers can better exploit their own content, the plethora of new platforms and the end-user to the benefit of all.
The day was divided into four parts, comprising three-panel debates (New Audiences/New Stories, Alternative Practices in Development and Future Funding Models) and a series of intensive break-out discussions on the questions raised throughout the day. A closing session presented conclusions drawn from these deliberations.
Opening the day, IFFR director Bero Beyer described how the wide spectrum of content that we see across all platforms is developed within generally narrow constraints and that it is therefore imperative that the industry offers/creates/allows for a “wide space” for ideas to develop, mature and ultimately be
Canadian artist and filmmaker Caroline Monnet, who boasts Algonquin, Quebecois and French roots, discussed her diverse work and what inspired its
Before the New Audiences/New Stories panel, moderator Wendy Mitchell reminded the audience that development is at the heart of the content production process, a discipline that can be both lonely and isolating. So today, she stressed, was a great opportunity to determine how development could be made more inclusive, collaborative and profitable, as well as determine the best outlets for creative ideas.
New Audiences / New Stories
Akua Gyamfi, the founder of The British Blacklist online portal celebrating the work of African-Caribbean British creatives, told how there is “a new generation of talent that is taking things in their stride”, with a 360-degree multi-discipline approach and control of their own product, getting it out to audiences through innovative channels. In terms of why she launched her portal, “it was the answer to something that was missing… I had an emotional reaction to what I wanted to see.”
US producer Tamir Muhammad, founder of production house Populace and responsible for the critically acclaimed HBO series Random Acts of Flyness, emphasised: “the safe space” enjoyed by he and director Terence Nance in the creation of the series – “it was the best place to protect Terence’s voice,” he underlined.
Dutch filmmaker Nanouk Leopold explained how the working relationship she enjoys with producer Stienette Bosklopper constitutes her own “safe space”, having successfully written six screenplays which she transformed into six multi award-winning films. “You need a safe place to find your own voice,” she pointed out, adding how she has never felt the need to compromise her arthouse vision. That said, she feels a new desire to say ‘yes’ to everything, which has filled her with a new resolve. “So I went back to my attic. I am this really typical old-fashioned person who is all the time trying to develop stories, and that takes some time. And I went there with this new energy… You have to have this first light, this fire in your stomach, so I wrote this hilarious story about a woman who is hunting because that [hunting] is what I want to do.”
Tamir discussed the idea of genre-bending. “It is the biggest connector. If you like horror and I like horror we might take a chance on a horror. And I like comedy. It’s the one thing that grounds us all… It’s an exciting time. For the first time, the independent world and Hollywood are
Nanouk agreed, stressing how if you bend a story it keeps you more alive as an audience and is evidence of the evolution of cinema and our growing sophistication as an audience.
Wendy asked whether, in the context of development,
Tamir gave a message to the IFFR audience stressing how the festival is an exemplar of excellence both in terms of its selections and the filmmakers it attracts, and how it was a very effective launchpad for projects into the global market.
In concluding, Wendy asked Nanouk and Akua what excited them currently about the development landscape. Nanouk answered how she loved the idea of “the long tail and the niche,” whereby most interests are or could be catered for by existing and future viewing platforms, while Akua is impressed with “more
British Black Producer Dominic Buchanan joined the panel discussing Stealing from the Best: Alternate Practices in Development. He talked about
how the film project (later a hit series) The End of the F*cking World came into being after a number of initial Film 4 commissions (incl. teaser, promo, pilot etc) came to nothing following regime change at the head of the
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