The sixth Film London Production Finance Market (Oct 17-18) has confirmed its keynote speaker will be the new Director of the BFI Film Fund, Ben Roberts.
Roberts is expected to talk though the BFI’s Lottery funding, production and international strategy with the international audience.
Earlier this month, Roberts confirmed that around £1 million a year will be set aside from the Film Fund for coproduction awards.
Over 800 producer-financer meetings are scheduled for the two-day event. 90% of financiers at last year’s event are returning and projects with combined production value of €305m, up €60m on 2011, will be presented.
The news of the Roberts speech comes as the PFM (held during the London Film Festival) has revealed that it is looking more and more to European and international producers. Over 50% of the producers and production companies attending this year are from outside the UK.
“We are a lot less UK dependent than we were before,” commented PFM project manager Angus Finney.
There are 53 producers due to attend, presenting around 60 projects.
Among the projects being presented to financiers is The Catastrophist, from Sarah Curtis’ Forthcoming Films. Written and directed by Nick Broomfield, and starring Frieda Pinto, Dan Stevens and Matt Dillon, this is budgeted at €3.4m.
Also being presented is Paris Willoughby, from Marc-Antoine Robert’s 2.4.7. Films (Persepolis, Delicacy). This €4.6m project is written and directed by Arthur Delaire and Quentin Reynaud and will star Isabelle Carré.
The French will be in London in force. Attendees include Olivier Legrand from Le Studio d’imagination, Eric Dupont from Incognito, Ilann Girard from Arsam International, and Richard Paraiso from Ava Films.
While Finney has had to turn down some French projects, and had strong interest from Italian and Spanish producers, he acknowledged there has been less interest from German producers.
There will also be a robust Scandinavian presence, partly encouraged through the PFM’s partnership with the Nordic Co-Production Market (NCPM).
Through its relationship with the Melbourne Film Festival, the PFM will play host to several Australian and New Zealand producers, among them Jamie Hilton, Tainui Stephens and Stephen Van Mil.
“The key is trying to get over the notion that this is not a co-production market. It is a finance market,” Finney stated.
He also pointed to a greater emphasis on genre than in previous years.
Alongside the meetings, PFM’s events will include a “production case study” of former PFM title I, Anna from director Barnaby Southcombe and producer Felix Vossen of Embargo Films. (I, Anna is screening at the BFI London Film Festival.) There will also be a producer panel featuring David Parfitt, Peter Watson, Andrea Calderwood and Stephen Woolley.
Many sales companies will also be at the PFM, among them AV, Bankside, Focus Features, Fortissimo, Goldcrest, TF1, WestEnd Films, The Salt Company and (from the US) Visit Films.
Among the 57 financiers expected are Ingenious, CIT, Endgame Entertainment, Wayfare Entertainment and Fox International.
One notable trend is the absence of banks. “With the exception of CIT and Coutts, there are very few banks left in the entertainment (and) film business,” Finney noted. “They seem to have been replaced by what I call ‘hybrid houses’ that have a combination of tax plus perhaps equity and perhaps debt.”
Budgets of projects may generally be slightly lower than in previous years but Finney is at pains to point out PFM is “not a micro-budget market.”
“What has changed is that there seems to be a little more breadth in terms of different types of equity finance,” Finney commented of this year’s mix of projects and financiers.