The British film industry is to send its biggest ever delegation to the Bogota Audiovisual Market (BAM).
Producers, distributors and festival execs are among a 29-strong British delegation that will arrive in Colombia on Monday for the fifth Bogota Audiovisual Market (BAM) (July 14-18).
The UK is the guest country at this year’s BAM, attended by more than 1,000 delegates including 250 buyers from 20 countries, as Colombia aims to increase collaboration with the British film industry.
The ambition follows rapid growth within the Colombian film sector as a result of increased government support and incentives, with the country positioning itself as a production centre in the region that is keen to attract foreign shoots.
One of the delegation is Isabel Davis, head of international at the BFI, who said: “As Colombia steps up support for its local film industry, I’m looking forward to finding out what makes Colombian filmmakers and audiences tick, and what the UK can offer them as a creative and commercial partner.
“Understanding their financing and market conditions, the pool of skills, talent and infrastructure and making connections with the local industry play an important part in establishing how we might work together.
UK film ’71 will open the market, with an exclusive presentation of Yann Demange’s feature screened to delegates. Demange will attend with Crab Apple Films producer Angus Lamont.
The screening will be preceded by UK-Colombian short film Leidi, which won the Palme d’Or Court Metrage at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Leidi director Simon Mesa is Colombian and the short was made out of the London Film School.
The British Council worked closely with the Colombian national film body Proimagenes and the Colombian Film Commission to draw together the delegation, which will be divided in two.
One group will stay in Bogota at the BAM where they will participate in the Industry Talks sessions, BAM Brunches, networking and bespoke 1-2-1 meetings with producers and service providers. Programmers will have access to the screenings of new Colombian films and the videotheque.
The group includes Luane Guaer, who handles international production at Universal Pictures International, and said: “Our participation at BAM this year is part of Universal’s increasing commitment to Latin American productions. We are looking forward to further exploring the opportunities in Colombia.”
Another delegate is Maria Delgado, programmer and advisor on Spanish and Spanish-American cinema for the BFI London Film Festival, who said: “I’m really keen to really find out what’s happening on the ground in Colombian cinema. It will be a chance to relate what we see at major festivals with what’s happening within the wider film landscape in Colombia.
“Colombia is becoming ever more important in the co-production landscape so it will allow for an opportunity to take a look at projects in development that we can look forward to in years to come”
British delegates giving talks during BAM include Chris Fujiwara, artistic director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival; and Gareth Unwin of Bedlam Productions, who will present 10 tips to position projects in the international market, based on the case study of The King’s Speech.
Dogwoof CEO Andy Whittaker will present five challenges and five opportunities that face documentaries in selling internationally today, based on the case study of Blackfish; and Tim Highsted, senior editor for feature films at Channel 4, will present 10 criteria to consider when buying or co-producing for international television.
A smaller, second group will take part in a country familiarisation trip (Famtrip) to take in the locations and production facilities on offer. They will travel to Cartagena, Medellin and back to Bogota to join with the rest of the delegation. Two of the Famtrip participants have ‘live’ projects, which they are hoping to shoot in Colombia soon.
These include Annalise Davis, producer at Wilder Films and Embargo, who said: “We’re shooting a thriller later this year and hoping to shoot on location in Colombia. It’s such an exciting place to be right now in film terms.
“The government there is really engaging with filmmakers and finding ways to help, particularly with their new tax incentive. And it offers a wealth of location options. In terms of the trip, I’m hoping to get a much better understanding of what it’s like to shoot there - both in terms of what the country is like and also how they like to work.”
Also on the Famtrip will be Kevin Loader, producer at Free Range Films, who produced In the Loop, Nowhere Boy, Le Week-End and upcoming The Lady in the Van.
He said: “Colombia is a fantastic prospect for the international film community, and I’m looking forward to seeing the variety of cultural and scenic opportunity on offer.
“Certainly the Colombian government are making fantastically smart overtures to a film community which, as we British know more than anyone, is becoming more and more internationalised every year.”
Others on the Famtrip will include Andy Mayson, co-CEO of Altitude Film Entertainment; Karl Richards, head of production and financing at uMedia; and Vanessa Tovell, producer at Saltaire Films.
As well as Dogwoof’s Andy Whittaker, other distributors attending as part of the British delegation include Soda Pictures managing director Eve Gabereau, Axiom Films International head of acquisitions and distribution Rocio Freire-Bernat, and Juan Veloza, head of media and communications for Network Distributing.
Veloza said he hoped BAM would be “a unique opportunity to explore and build relationships with professionals in one of the most fascinating and promising film industries in Latin America.”
He added: “Colombia’s government incentives are undoubtedly promoting creativity and exciting projects and initiatives that need to be seen. After several successful releases, we are also thrilled to be able to share our experiences releasing Latin-American films in the UK and Ireland.
Will Massa, senior programme manager for film at British Council who will lead the delegation, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see what’s been going on in Colombia in recent years, both in terms of critical acclaim for new filmmakers on the international festival circuit and the rapid growth of the audio-visual sector in the country.
“British Council was delighted when BAM invited the UK to be the guest country of honour for their 5th edition, and even more delighted to help pull together what has turned out to be an absolutely top-notch delegation to travel out to Colombia.
“We have no doubt that UK’s presence at the event will help lay the foundations for closer cultural exchange and increased industrial collaboration between the two countries in the future. “
Three new talents from the UK will also form part of the British delegation and will take part in Bammers, an emerging talent initiative run within BAM.
These include James Cotton, producer at Cotton Reel; Emily Morgan, producer at Quiddity Films; Fyzal Boulifa, director of The Curse, which won the Illy Prize at Cannes Director’s Fortnight in 2012.
There will be a total of 85 Bammers: 70 Colombian and 15 international.