Screen editor Matt Mueller talks MIPCOM and looks ahead to awards season.
While the international film industry, right across the sales, distribution, finance, production and exhibition spectrums, has forever been Screen International’s main constituency (and will continue to remain so), we have also long dipped our toe into television.
It has always made sense to do so, even if the two worlds often seemed light years apart. But increasingly, with the new media landscape shifting so startlingly, and film and TV worlds converging with greater frequency — from content creation through to distribution and consumption — it not only makes sense but frankly, we’d be daft to sit on the sidelines.
So going forward, we will dip more than one toe into the small-screen waters, starting with this month’s 16-page special tied into mid-October’s MIPCOM market in Cannes.
We’ll keep our focus on high-end drama, a sector where so much film talent and industry is already engaged, or is beginning to make forays (including Carol producers Number 9 Films, which recently announced its inaugural TV production, an adaptation of The Portrait Of A Lady).
When Screen speaks to sales agents and producers these days, if they’re not already making television, they’re thinking about it, and navigating between the two is something we explore in the pages of this issue’s feature focus.
At MIPCOM, topics of interest to both the film and TV industries will be examined in depth, not least the proliferation of platforms, virtual reality, the blurring of lines across the media landscape and the rewards and challenges of a brave new world in which audiences cherry-pick content from a variety of sources.
With a situation in constant flux, and audiences fragmenting as quickly as content rights, even Netflix and Amazon’s future domination is no longer viewed as a fait accompli in the eyes of many analysts.
Segueing back to film, both Amazon and Netflix will be making several strong awards season pushes this year. The former in particular will be hoping to gain traction with Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea, its high-profile $10m Sundance pick-up, and Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship. Having adored all of Lonergan’s films to date, Manchester By The Sea is top of my must-see list at this year’s BFI London Film Festival, and I fully expect Casey Affleck’s performance to live up to the critical hype.
It’s my favourite time of year, and with a couple of the key autumn festival stops under my belt (Toronto and Zurich), I have packed in a few of this awards-season’s hotly tipped players — and admired them for different reasons: Garth Davis’s Lion for its deft navigation of an extraordinary emotional story; Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight for its beautifully creative depiction of a young boy’s imperilled existence; Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals for its stylish direction and gripping parallel narrative; and Damien Chazelle’s La La Land for just being a joyous, bejewelled delight (all four are galas at the LFF).
And it’s only just started, with so many more contenders to see between now and voting time, including Hacksaw Ridge, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and late-year arrivals Martin Scorsese’s Silence and Denzel Washington’s Fences. Yes, it’s a little bit annoying to spend the first half of the year waiting for the second half to arrive, when we can be awash in remarkable films. But when you’re right in the middle of it, it feels great.