Rebecca O'Brien and Ken Loach_ON SET Sorry We Missed You

Source: Sixteen Films

Rebecca O’Brien and Ken Loach on the set of ‘Sorry We Missed You’

Need to know: Producer Rebecca O’Brien and director Ken Loach set up Sixteen Films in 2002 while making Loach’s feature Sweet Sixteen. Loach had previously made his films at Sally Hibbin’s Parallax Pictures, where O’Brien had also worked as a producer. The company had a breakthrough in 2006, when Loach’s The Wind That Shakes The Barley won the Palme d’Or (he won a second, for I, Daniel Blake, in 2016). Around the same time came the start of an ongoing collaboration with French outfit Why Not Productions, which led to Looking For Eric (2009); other regular partners include the Dardennes’ Les Films du Fleuve and Wild Bunch International. Sixteen’s projects, which include 2019 Cannes Competition title Sorry We Missed You, generally have a socio-political imprint. It has also co-produced projects including Christian Carion’s My Son and Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here. The company is now making a foray into high-end TV with the Studiocanal-­backed Far Away Cows Have Long Horns, scripted by Paul Laverty and directed by his partner Iciar Bollain.

Key personnel: Ken Loach, director; Rebecca O’Brien, producer; Paul Laverty, writer; Habib Rahman, COO; Jack Thomas-­O’Brien, head of development and production.

Incoming: Loach’s The Old Oak begins shooting on May 19. In development, it has features Harvest by Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari and Downtrodden by Portuguese director Laura Carreira, and TV series 45 Degrees.

Rebecca O’Brien says: “It’s difficult not to brood about Brexit. The fact you have to get visas and carnets and all that sort of business, the fact we are no longer part of [Creative Europe] Media, means we have less money to make films. Production is more difficult as a result of leaving [the EU]. For me, every project that I do is European. I am not going to stop that.”