We were delighted to be back at One Great George Street on 21 March for Creative Partnerships Day 2023, an afternoon of panels and pitches that aimed to connect writers, directors and producers across the film and television industries.
The afternoon began with a welcome message from Film London's CEO Adrian Wootton, followed by an exclusive panel discussions with creatives behind Apple TV's Slow Horses.
Slow Horses was adapted from Mick Herron’s series of spy thriller novels. The first book went under the radar in the UK but was chosen to be adapted because ‘’the book tread a very fine line between high stakes drama and comedy [...] we hadn’t seen anything that was pulling that off on UK TV in quite a while’’ according to Hakan.
This was all before Apple TV existed as a streamer, but the conversation started after See Saw Films produced the Essex Serpent for Apple, allowing them to open the door for Slow Horses.
Much of Slow Horses was formed in and around London, with Adrian describing it as ‘’One of the most London shows in years’’. Initially shot at 3 Mills studios, the production has now moved to Enflied.
Nicky explained that filming on-site in London was complex – ‘’With over 100 individual locations and we shoot locations in a block for a few days max. As a big production unit and cast, we were travelling around London a lot’’. COVID, despite disruption to schedules, allowed the production team more time to finetune their prep before the busy shoots.
Hakan made the case for using a writers' room to script the series, arguing ‘’you can get the scripts written quicker, and in big complex HETV productions like this, prep time is essential. So saving time with a writers room, where writers complete parts of the script simultaneously, allows for more time to prep. This also enables the stars of the cast to commit their time in an efficient way." Gary Oldman was instantaneously hooked to the story and jumped on board: ‘’he was the key that unlocked the door to the rest of the cast’’ – Hakan.
The second panel discussion of the afternoon was focused on BFI-supported Pretty Red Dress and the journey from short film to debut feature, with Film London's Head of Talent Development and Production Jordan McGarry interviewing Writer/Director Dionne Edwards and Producer Georgia Goggin, both of Teng Teng Films.
Both are Film London alumni through London Calling, Film London and BFI Network’s short film funding scheme, with We Love Moses.
When they initially met to make the short, they realised they needed additional funding and experience to apply to Film London’s fund. After making a couple of other shorts together, they applied to London Calling and were successful.
‘’We Love Moses made a massive difference’’ in providing that exposure to allow Georgia and Dionne to make their connections in prep for their debut feature, resulting in Sundance and BBC coming on board.
The film was funded and supervised by BFI after applying to a Creative England debut feature fund.
Georgia and Dionne worked together to create the best pitch possible. Georgia as producer worked to summarise the ideas and expanded stories behind Dionne’s writing to create a succinct and sellable pitch document; an essential tool in the process.
They also discussed carrying crew on from their successful shorts onto production on Pretty Red Dress. They learnt from their first feature to balance experience crew with first-timers to ‘’create a puzzle’’ that works well for production.
Dionne and Georgia stressed that debut features allow you ‘’make movie stars instead of hire them’’, something less realistic when a couple of films into your career with bigger budgets.
Following the two panels, creatives were given the opportunity to pitch projects to the room in the hope of fostering their own creative partnerships, with an exciting range of projects showcased in the hour.
This was compounded by networking drinks to cap off the afternoon, helping encourage creative partnerships to grow.
We would like to offer a huge thanks to anyone who attended on the day.