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Budgets on trial

Film London gathered key industry figures, including Microwave’s Mia Bays and filmmaker Julian Gilbey (A Lonely Place To Die) at the Edinburgh International Film Festival to discuss the merits of microbudget filmmaking.

Low Budget on Trial took its cue from the format of an ‘Oxford Union’ style debate in front of a live EIFF audience. It posed a number of propositions and the panel argued for and against.

Additional panel members were Peter Buckingham (Kube Consultancy), Jezz Vernon (Metrodome Distribution) and Tristan Goligher (Creative England).

Polemical questions posed to the panel included, ‘Should we be funding microbudget films in a theatrical market which is already overcrowded?’, ‘Do these schemes offer an alternative ladder to success in the film industry – one without so-called “gatekeepers” such as commissioners and film critics?’, and Should microbudget film schemes strive to represent talent that breaks the mould of white, middle-class, London-centric males?’.

Much lively debate flew back and forth, with many audience members positing that better representing minorities was a problem society-wide, and not restricted to film.

It was also largely felt that, while schemes established to help first-time filmmakers complete their projects was important, money and resources might  be better spent helping those who are struggling to continue their career on their third or fourth pictures.

There was some ground where everyone was on the same page, however. The final motion of the debate, ‘Do we believe that a growing microbudget film industry can change the film industry for the better?’ was met with a resounding yes from all attending.

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