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Image of event PFM Micro Market 2014 meetings

Micro Market: Two sides of the table

Date posted: 22.10.2014

Last week, 24 filmmaking teams headed to our Micro Market for a day of back-to-back meetings with financiers. For them, it was an opportunity to put into practice months of training on how to pitch and package your film. For the gathered financiers, it offered the chance to pick up the next big low-budget project.

To give you a sense of how it feels on both sides of the table, we asked a financier and a director to give us their take homes from the Market.

The director's perspective: Carolina Giammetta, Missing Link Films

We applied to Film London's Micro Market 2014 with our project Cradle Me, myself attached as director, Ben Link as producer and award-winning writer Simon Vinnicombe as writer. The feature film is an adaptation of an acclaimed London stage play.

Last year, my short film I Don't Care was commissioned by Film London as part of their London Calling scheme. Simon and Ben were relatively new to film financing and also to Film London. This made me even more aware of just how incredibly valuable the training prior to the market is, big thanks to the organiser [Film London's Talent Development Manager] Kevin Dolan!

I'd attended a course with Angus Finney [who runs the Production Finance Market, for more established filmmakers] before, but it's so amazing how the film markets change and how the landscape is different now even from what it was a year ago. Angus's knowledge in this area is phenomenal He's so dedicated and committed to keeping up with all current trends in financing, sales and distribution, everyone in the room felt so lucky to hear his thoughts.

Film London's [Head of Production and Talent Development] Deborah Sathe and [Development Producer] Tessa Inkelaar both have an ability to be powerful forces of truth and honesty, as well has being totally focused on development and nurture with all the filmmakers that attended. Tips from the team and practice in pitching gave us all a great insight into how to best present our projects. Even feedback from fellow filmmakers was SO useful.

The day of the Micro Market gave us all the opportunity to pitch (back to back) to some of the UK's top financiers, sales agents and distribution companies as well as public funds across the UK. The experience of pitching 16 times in a day really made you hone down your pitch and find the essence of exactly what you are trying to say and what your film is. You also get 16 reactions to your film from different people looking at very different things. You really do start to take on board where the eyebrow goes up, when the smile appears, and where the "Ooh that sounds great." places are.

The film industry isn't about what one person thinks but what many people do and there's no better place to find that out than the Film London Micro Market. I'd recommend it to anyone that's trying to develop their pitch and finance their film.

The Financier's Perspective: Michael Sackler, Rooks Nest Entertainment

I have to say, when the Micro Market team sent through our schedule for the day, 'this looks fun' was not the first thing that sprang to mind. It felt like if we stepped foot in that room, we may never come out - the rest of our lives would be lived in half hour blocks.

Luckily, I could not have been more wrong! One of our main aims at Rooks Nest is to keep an eye on young talent. We have backed several first timers, and will continue to do so. The Micro Market was excellent exposure to quality projects and young filmmakers.

A whole range of projects were pitched to us. Not all of the projects were what we were looking for, but everyone came prepared and tried to sell their project as best they can. Pitching is a very difficult skill (we are producer-financiers, and so understand this very well!), but I was impressed with the level of groundwork shown by the teams. Teasers, look books, sizzle reels and no shortage of words were all thrown our way. Some hit the target, others missed, but all gave their best.

To keep everyone fuelled, vast quantities of food and drink was wheeled in throughout the day.  During the breaks I pondered two things. Firstly, how do I eat more without getting both a sugar rush and indigestion? Secondly, if the Micro Market represents the future of British cinematic talent, are we in a good state? I won't tell you my answer to the first question. However, I felt resoundingly positive about the second one. One of the things that I am most proud about British cinema doing so well, is variety. We have the ability to make wonderful commercial films, but counter balance that by having a great appreciation for art house cinema. The projects that we saw continued that trend. For me, that can only be a positive thing.

The aftermath

We're pleased to report that since the Market many financiers have been following up with representatives of the projects that interested them, with positive conversations are continuing. Watch this space for announcements of the deals done.

Inspired? Make sure you're there next year! Find out more about Micro Market

Film London Micro Market is funded by Creative Skillset.

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