REAL INSIGHT INTO GLOBAL PRODUCTION
CORONAVIRUS HIATUS The battle to restart ﬁlm, TV & commercials production
IN THEIR ELEMENT Normal People producers Ed Guiney & Andrew Lowe bare all
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Welcome to the ﬁfth edition of makers, the biannual magazine for the global production industry, which has been written and published while the world is still in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic. In just a few months, the virus has upended the ﬁlm, TV, commercials and games production industries that makers focuses on. A global, interconnected industry has come to a shuddering halt, and is only now – as makers goes to press – slowly starting to get going again.
A globAl, interconnected industry hAs come to A shuddering hAlt, And is only now – As mAkers goes to press – slowly stArting to get going AgAin.
editor Tim Dams
loCations editor Shona Smith
art direCtion & CoVer iMage Les éditions du bois du Marquis CreatiVe direCtion Sue Hayes
head oF ProduCtion David Lewis international sales Consultants Alice Blanc, Juan Hincapie
CoMMerCial direCtor Clara Lé
Few, however, think things will be the same. In the short term, productions will have to adhere to strict health and safety measures, enforcing rules such as social distancing, wearing of masks, testing, cleaning, reducing cast and crew sizes, and keeping departments separate. Longer term, the economic downturn that will inevitably follow the lockdown looks ominous, threatening to throw into reverse some of the past decade’s production gains.
researCh & deVeloPMent direCtor Chloe Lai data & Marketing exeCutiVe Daniele Antonini FinanCe Desmond Kroats, Farhana Anjum Contributors Simon David Miller, Ian McKee
Managing direCtor Jean-Frédéric Garcia Consultant Ben Greenish Founder Murray Ashton
Coronavirus has also accelerated digital change within the industry. Streamers like Netﬂix, Amazon and Disney+ have boomed; Zoom video conferencing has raised questions about the need for oﬃce space and business travel; virtual markets like the Marche du Cannes Online look likely to accelerate digital deal-making; and platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and Facebook are snagging increasing amounts of ad spend. All these themes, and more, are explored throughout this issue of makers. It’s not all about coronavirus though – we also explore topics such as the rise of AVOD, green ﬁlming, the future of TV advertising, the rise of intimacy co-ordination, mental health, and shooting in the extreme cold. We hope you enjoy this issue. makers will be back in the autumn. If you have any feedback or would like to get in touch, do drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tim Dams, Editor
Please address all enquiries to the Publishers The Location Guide, Unit 6A, Oakwood House, 414-422 Hackney Road, London E2 7SY, UK T (44 20) 7036 0020 E email@example.com E firstname.lastname@example.org W www.thelocationguide.com 2020 © The Location Guide Limited All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced in any form whatsoever, by photocopying, electronic or mechanical means without prior written consent of the publisher. The publisher has taken all reasonable eﬀorts to ensure that the information presented is accurate and correct, but cannot take responsibility for any omissions or errors, nor take any liability for any misuse of images or of the information.
Printers Barley Print, UK
008 News in Brief Production news from around the world 010 The World at a Glance Mapping global production trends
014 Tech & Facilities News From cameras to studios, the latest in production technology news
012 Coronavirus hiatus When will production be back?
018 Around the World GETTING IT TOGETHER Six locations chosen by location manager Harriet Lawrence
022 Making of THE ANGEL OF HAMBURG 026 Contributor SIMON DAVID MILLER
036 Interview with ED GUINEY & ANDREW LOWE
046 Making of WHITE LINES
060 Festival upheaval Has coronavirus made virtual festivals & markets the future? 069 Industry Proﬁle ACNE
078 Spotlight on FOCUS FOCUS enjoyed record attendance at last year’s ﬁfth edition 081 Brieﬁng FOCUS ON BREXIT 101 Interview with AMMA ASANTE
112 Contributor IAN MCKEE Digital content marketplaces 122 Behind the Scenes VISUAL EFFECTS
024 Filming in the Extreme Cold Locations found in cold climates lend themselves to the screen
032 Focus on Mental Health What is it about the creative industries that takes such a toll on mental well-being? 038 Casting a Closer Eye on Diversity Do casting directors hold the key to the lack of representation on screen?
049 Paciﬁc Powerhouses New Zealand, Hawaii & Japan are all heavy hitters 056 Ad Funded Streamers Will AVOD be the big story of the 2020s?
063 Production in Paradise What does capturing a slice of paradise on ﬁlm entail?
070 Future of Formats Big bets are being taken on new formats by both broadcasters & streamers 088 Is anybody watching TV advertising anymore?
093 The Asian Market An array of ﬁnancial incentives are sustaining the region’s reputation
102 Seeing Double in the North of England Expect the unexpected when you venture north
110 Bare Essentials In the wake of the #MeToo & Time's Up movements, intimacy coordinators have become much more prevalent on set 117 The Eastern Europe Boom Productions lured in by incentives have created the booming hubs we know today 127 Tools for Greener Productions What tools are available to carbon conscious productions?
>AROUND THE WORLD From incentives to location highlights, makers presents a series of in-depth guides to some of the world's most ﬁlm friendly countries 017 Argentina A bountiful backlot 021 Bulgaria Action packed 029 Canada Northern star 034 Chile Safe hands
041 Greece A second look 053 Iceland Hero locations 073 Portugal Sunny side up 083 Spain The time is right
098 Uruguay Ready, sets, go 105 USA: Florida Independent spirit 114 USA: New York New heights
NEWS in brief PRODUCTION
he coronavirus pandemic has led to unexpected risks and opportunities for the launches this year of major streaming platforms HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi, as well the European and Asian debut of Disney+.
On the plus side, analysts point to a surge in internet use since lockdowns began which saw services like Netﬂix, BBC iPlayer and YouTube asked to lower their maximum resolutions to deal with the rise in traﬃc. “SVOD services are clearly beneﬁting at this very speciﬁc time,” says Ampere Analysis analyst Rahul Patel. Netﬂix added a record 15.8m subscribers in the ﬁrst quarter, confounding expectations that it would lose customers to the new competition. Meanwhile, Disney+ has seen its subscriber numbers soar to 54.5 million.
Apple TV+ has inked a first look deal for TV shows with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions. Scott Free’s current and previous TV series include The Man in the High Castle (pictured above) for Amazon Prime and the upcoming Ridley Scott-directed Raised by Wolves for HBO Max. Scott Free recently announced it is co-producing Steven Knight’s new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations for BBC 1 and FX.
The performance of mobile-only service Quibi has been less compelling. In May, founder Jeﬀrey Katzenberg said Quibi had about 3.5 million app downloads and 1.3 million active users – and he attributed “everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus.” Many think the timing of its launch has been inopportune. “The new streaming service’s short-form content was intended to target a new audience, making short-form, innovative entertainment for people on the go,” says Patel. “But as most people are not going anywhere right now, this element of Quibi’s content feels somewhat redundant, until lockdown ends.” The pandemic might also make things more diﬃcult for Peacock, which was expected to stream the now cancelled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the USA.
Nira Park, Edgar Wright, JoE CorNish lauNCh ComPlEtE FiCtioN Baby Driver (pictured right) producer Nira Park and director Edgar Wright have teamed with two of their long-term collaborators, writer-director Joe Cornish and producer Rachael Prior, to launch new production company Complete Fiction. Based in both London and Los Angeles, the new company will operate across ﬁlm and TV and is already working with Netﬂix to develop three new series. The ﬁrst is “Lockwood & Co,” a supernatural action-adventure detective series, based on the novels by Jonathan Stroud.
The lockdown period which has halted TV and ﬁlm production has also been a spur for producers to push into podcasting as it can often be produced remotely and in a socially distanced way. The podcast market is also growing fast. About 37% of U.S. adults listen to podcasts on a monthly basis, according to Edison Research.
swathe of TV and ﬁlm production companies have announced plans to diversify into the podcasting market in recent weeks. Among them is Chernobyl and Gangs of London (pictured above) producer Sister, which has invested in newly launched nonﬁction podcast studio Campside. Meanwhile, comedy producer and talent agency DLT Entertainment has launched a new podcast division.
The reasons for the push into podcasting are manifold. DLT Entertainment says the comedy content it develops and produces in podcast format will be a “testing ground” for ideas and talent that have the potential to be adapted for other mediums. Similarly, Sister sees its deal with Campside as a way of sourcing new material for television. Campside currently has 11 original podcasts underway. Sister already has plans to adapt three of those projects for TV.
Spotify and Apple’s podcast apps are battling for market supremacy alongside a host of others including BBC Sounds, Acast and Stitcher. Apple is reportedly ramping up its push into original podcasts by seeking an executive to lead the initiative and buying exclusive shows. The technology giant has begun acquiring two types of original podcasts: audio spinoﬀs of existing movies and programmes on its Apple TV+ service, and original programmes that could eventually be adapted into future TV+ video content.
BACK TO CONTENTS regulAr And regimented testing will Also
production. A dedicAted heAlth supervisor will
Also be AttAched to the production.
TEMPTATION ISLAND gEars uP For summEr shoot iN Covid-19 Era Banijay Group has provided a glimpse into how large scale TV reality shows will return to production in the COVID-19 era, revealing that is gearing up to test and quarantine cast and crew on its international format Temptation Island (pictured below) this summer.
tECh EmbraCEs rEmotE WorkiNg trENd Tech ﬁrms Facebook and Twitter say they will permanently embrace remote working, even after coronavirus lockdowns ease. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg says about half its workforce would work remotely over the next ﬁve to 10 years. Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, announced that employees would be able to work from home “forever”.
surgE iN loCkdoWN ProgrammiNg Lockdown has seen a spate of socially distanced shows go into production. The BBC is making new versions of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologues, starring Jodie Comer and Martin Freeman among others. It has also ordered lockdown comedy, Staged, starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen as the cast of a play who are furloughed. In Italy, Pharos Film Company connected directors across the country to make a feature doc about lockdown. In South Africa, Bozzi Media are working on a documentary project looking at the impact of lockdown on the nation. The UK’s ITV ordered a four-part series Isolation Stories (pictured above) from Stan and Ollie writer Jeﬀ Pope.
The German version, which airs on RTL and its streamer Now TV, is set to shoot in July and August. Safety measures being put in place include: plexiglass walls in vehicles and the control room; daily fever measurements twice a day; use of masks, gloves and distancing for crew; disinfection of working spaces and kit; and working in clusters to minimise risk of infection. Each version of Temptation Island shoots for between 14-21 days. The cast comprises four couples and eight singletons, while the crew size averages around 50 — although this is likely to be scaled back this summer to make ﬁlming safer and more manageable. Banijay Group’s senior VP for format acquisitions Carlotta Rossi Spencer says safety will be “the number one priority” as the format goes into production.
A ‘step change’ is needed to make ﬁlm production more sustainable, according to a new report from the British Film Institute (BFI). The BFI’s Green Matters report concludes “there is minimal regulation at present, and industry is left largely to its own devices... this is likely to change in the near future". The report highlights notable barriers to progress. These include perceptions around the additional time and costs involved; a tendency to stick with tried and tested production methods and services; a general lack of awareness and low prioritisation of sustainability; and limited green infrastructure and supply chain options.
Banijay – which is soon to close its USD2.2 billion acquisition of Endemol Shine – is readying local versions of Temptation Island with strict safety guidelines for US, Spanish, German, Dutch and Finnish broadcasters. Banijay is set for a July shoot in the Dominican Republic for Spain’s Telecinco and Cuatro. The cast and crew will be tested for COVID-19 and quarantined for two weeks before production starts in the Dominican Republic. Regular and regimented testing will also continue throughout production. A dedicated health supervisor will also be attached to the production.
Step change required to green ﬁlm production
advErtisErs Call For ProgrammatiC ad rEForm Advertising body ISBA has called for far-reaching reform of the programmatic advertising supply chain after a study it commissioned showed that publishers receive just half the money (51%) spent on their digital ads by advertisers. The study, by PwC, found that for every GBP1 spent by an advertiser, about half goes to a publisher, roughly 16p to advertising platforms, 11p to technology companies and 7p to agencies. On average roughly 15p is untraceable. The tech fees went mainly on ad serving, veriﬁcation tools and data, as well as exchange bidding.
2019 was a record-breaking year for the UK production industry, but the boom is acting as an obstacle to sustainable production as commercial pressures, such as the squeeze on studio and “new studio builds crew capacity, means in the uk Are An sustainability remains a opportunity to low priority. incorporAte the
US studios and UK lAtest thinking ﬁlms also use alternative And resources.” systems of carbon calculation and sustainability certiﬁcation making it diﬃcult to compare practices from production to production. US studios use the Environmental Green Seal for Production, while UK projects use Albert sustainability production certiﬁcation.
Case studies on Gold Seal award recipients that shot in the UK, such as Yesterday (pictured above), Mary Queen of Scots and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, show that common measures taken include the use of LED lighting, recycling and composting programmes, reusable water bottles and rechargeable batteries. Donating materials, such as props, excess food, sets and clothing is also common. New studio builds in the UK are an opportunity to incorporate the latest thinking and resources, says the report. Energy, transport and waste are the three main areas in which studios can contribute to sustainable practices, as well as advising and assisting clients.
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SEX EDUCATION SPAIN INCENTIVE
iCElaNd Iceland has become one of the ﬁrst major ﬁlming locations to ease restrictions on international arrivals, including foreign ﬁlm crews. From June 15, Iceland will give travellers the option of being tested upon arrival to avoid a 14-day quarantine period.
braZil Reality show Big Brother hit a historic milestone this year when it lured a whopping 1.5 billion votes on an eviction night. This year’s run of Big Brother Brazil 20 reached 159 million viewers on free-to-air Globo TV.
sPaiN Spain has increased its ﬁlming incentive for incoming productions to 30%, up from 25%, on the ﬁrst EUR1 million of spend, followed by 25% for remaining Spanish spend. The new rebate has a higher cap, now set at EUR10 million.
ChiNa Shanghai Disneyland reopened on May 11 with safety measures including limiting guest numbers to 20% of capacity and temperature scans. Disney hopes the formula will help it reopen its parks in the US, France, Japan and Hong Kong.
NEW ZEalaNd Production on James Cameron’s Avatar sequels has restarted in New Zealand, having halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. They are the ﬁrst major Hollywood ﬁlms to resume production after the industry-wide pause.
south aFriCa Production on David Tennant drama Around the World in 80 Days was one of many to be halted in South Africa. A leading hub for international shoots, South Africa had been riding high before coronavirus interrupted what looked to be a busy year ahead.
WalEs Netﬂix has reportedly set an August target for restarting production on its hit drama Sex Education. August is seen as the latest Sex Education could go into production this year because the show is reliant on ﬁlming during the longer days of British summer. uNitEd statEs A new study has starkly revealed the challenge exhibitors have to persuade the public that it’s safe to attend cinemas again. A Performance Research survey found that 70% of Americans would rather watch a ﬁrst run feature at home now. argENtiNa Leading Argentinian director Pablo Trapero is teaming with production company El Estudio on two major TV series: an English-language US remake of his 2010 hit movie Carancho and bioseries Galimberti.
JaPaN Japanese cinemas began reopening in mid-May after shutting during the pandemic with measures such as spacing seats and requiring all staﬀ to wear masks. Japan is the world’s third largest cinema box oﬃce market behind North America and China. uk Broadcaster ITV has revealed the scale of the impact of coronavirus on the ad market, reporting a 42% slump in revenues in April. It has furloughed over 800 staﬀ. asia Streaming has surged in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore this year according to Media Partners Asia. Netﬂix and Viu saw increases in average weekly streaming minutes of 115% and 274% respectively.
As the world begins to slowly emerge from coronavirus lockdowns, the big question is when – and how – will TV, film and commercials production be fully back up and running again?
t seems like a lifetime ago. Before reports of a mysterious new virus began emanating from China in January, the TV, ﬁlm and commercials industries were booming.
“I don’t know anybody who is working at the moment,” says Roger Charteris, CEO of talent agency The Artists Partnership, which represents actors through to writers and directors.
UBS bank reported that 16 ﬁrms, from Disney, Apple, Amazon, Netﬂix to Quibi, were spending a total of USD100 billion on content – roughly equal to the sum invested in America’s oil industry. Meanwhile, FX chief John Landgraf reported the streaming wars meant the US was producing 530 original dramas a year, “which to me is just bananas.” Commercials production was also strong coming out of 2019, with producers reporting a busy end to the year.
Charteris’ comments are backed up by industry research. The Film and TV Charity recently reported that 93% of industry freelancers were no longer working due to the crisis.
From running at full speed at the start of 2020, production has screeched to a shuddering halt in the wake of coronavirus. 12
With studios now empty, production stalled and very few onscreen talent earning any money, the industry is frantically working out when and how it can restart – but safely. The route to get cameras rolling again on high-end drama and ﬁlm has required a complex network of talks in each country involving studios, producers, broadcasters, unions and industry organisations.
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Common themes among all include screening of cast and crew, quarantining international talent ﬂying in from abroad, regular cleaning of sets, encouraging cast and crew to drive in their own vehicles to set, separating departments into small cohorts that minimise wider contact, staggering meal times, and appointing dedicated Covid-19 supervisors to productions.
As a result, as makers went to press, it was still unclear exactly when major US-backed productions will be able to start up in most countries – and there is little consensus on the issue. “I can’t see anything going [in the UK] before September at the earliest,” says Charteris. “But nobody at this point can guarantee when they are going to start principal photography on anything.”
Little, however, will or can be made until the social distancing measures that form the key plank of each country’s coronavirus lockdown are eased. Government and Health and Safety guidelines in each country will determine what is possible, along with the travel and quarantine regulations in and out of each country.
Two key factors are contributing to the uncertainty about start dates. The ﬁrst, and primary one, is safety during ﬁlming. Productions will need to implement the relevant safety protocols “when cAst And being recommended in crew do return each country, which to sets And takes time.
The good news is that the industry is seeing progress already, and that production is slowly emerging from the coronavirus thaw. Filming of movie and TV series got underway again in China by April following a months-long shutdown – although the whole country wasn’t back at work, or working at the same speed. Iceland announced that it would open its borders to international crews and talent on June 15. In Sweden and Denmark, ﬁlm and TV production is already underway. So too was production in much of Eastern Europe. Australia’s long-standing soap opera Neighbours resumed production in April. In the UK, ITV kicked oﬀ a phased return to ﬁlming for its soap Emmerdale in May, featuring characters under lockdown and a smaller number of actors and fewer scenes.
THE CORONAvIRUS LOCKDOwN AND ECONOMIC SLOwDOwN THAT HAS FOLLOwED HAS ALSO LEFT MANy wONDERING wHAT THE INDUSTRy wILL LOOK LIKE IN THE MONTHS AND yEARS TO COME.
The ﬁrst sector to start up in many countries has been commercials production, with its smaller shoots able to adapt more eﬀectively to coronavirus restrictions. Smaller scale, and more manageable independent ﬁlms and dramas have also started up in some countries such as Iceland. However, at the time of writing, few major US studio-backed features or high-end dramas with large cast and crews have gone into production anywhere in the world since lockdown. The sequels to Avatar resumed production in New Zealand, but that was in a country whose early lockdown meant that it was spared the worst of coronavirus. Extensive discussions have been ongoing in Hollywood about restarting, but for the moment there appears to be an overwhelming sense of caution about doing so. None of the big studios, broadcasters and streamers, it seems, wants to take the risk of having the ﬁrst major production to roll again.
Are likely to Find Secondly, insurance has conditions very emerged as a major issue. Insurers have already diFFerent From decided that they will beFore.” not cover pandemicrelated losses on any new policies. This poses a huge obstacle to restarting ﬁlm and TV production. Essentially, it means ﬁnanciers, studios and broadcasters will likely have to take that risk themselves. In many countries the ﬁlm and TV industries are lobbying their governments to step in to help with insurance in order to get productions ﬁlming again.
When cast and crew do return to sets and locations, they are likely to ﬁnd conditions very diﬀerent with precautions such as staggered preparation of sets by individual departments, regular monitoring and cleaning, and separate meal times – which will likely reduce the amount of time that shows can shoot each day. Locations are also likely to be bigger, with more space and extra facilities that allow cast and crew to socially distance more easily. It’s also likely that there will be fewer people on set during production. The coronavirus lockdown and economic slowdown that has followed has also left many wondering what the industry will look like in the months and years to come. Will the industry be able to recapture its record production high, set just last year? Says Charteris: “I think it’ll be a while – at least a couple of years until it does.”
NEWS tech & facilities
FROM CAMERAS TO
STUDIOS, THE LATEST IN PRODUCTION
alifornia-based Entertainment Partners (EP), which owns the Central Casting and Movie Magic Budgeting and Scheduling programmes, has emerged as a consolidator within the highly competitive and burgeoning digital production tools sector.
production information through a single online platform. Some also let production companies and studios ﬁnd, hire, manage and pay all their people in all their projects in one place. Advocates say they help streamline and speed up production processes, and also aid with compliance and oversight.
The production management software sector has burgeoned as productions become more complex, and producers look for ways to reduce their environmental footprint, and to cut costs.
It’s also likely that the adoption of the platforms will be spurred on by the enforced shutdown of most production due to coronavirus.
EP, which already owns Scenecronize, acquired the POP platform in March, following the earlier purchase of SyncOnSet in January 2020. Other platforms in the market include Set Keeper, Team Engine, Dramatify, Yamdu, Farmers Wife, StudioBinder and Celtx. The cloud-based platforms digitize the distribution of paper documents, allowing crew to receive call sheets, schedules, editorial notes and sensitive
UK facility Goldcrest Post has launched a VFX wing in its Lexington Street offices, to be headed up by Dolores McGinley. She joins from Molinare where she was VFX creative director. McGinley’s VFX credits include Giri/Haji (above), Good Omens, Bodyguard, Beecham House and The Crown. She will now be responsible for assembling a team of VFX artists and developing VFX solutions for Goldcrest’s new division.
he coronavirus lockdown has spurred a major change in ways of working for the VFX sector which has successfully adapted to home working – something many in the industry previously thought was impossible. Post work on major productions has been carried out remotely during lockdown as studios, producers and broadcasters have sought to complete projects already ﬁlmed to satisfy demand for new content. Framestore, for example, has had 2,500 people working remotely during the lockdown, while Scanline VFX invested roughly USD500,000 to get
Usually, production companies juggling projects are too busy to consider wholesale changes to their working practices. But the coronavirus lockdown could allow them to invest their time in looking at their production management systems. “We’re really encouraging people to leverage this time to invest in sorting their ways of working from a digital point of view, so that when the industry gets back up and running, everyone is ready to go,” says POP’s Leeanna Pitt.
FuJiNoN rEadiEs 8k Zoom lENsEs Fujinon is developing two new 8K UHD zoom lenses. With four times the resolution of 4K video, recording in 8K requires lenses with exceptionally good optical performance. Fujinon says its HP66X15.2 box lens has the world’s longest 8K focal length of 1,000mm while also featuring the world’s highest zoom magniﬁcation of 66x. Meanwhile, the HP12X7.6 is a portable lens covering a range of 7.6mm to 91mm, with the world’s widest 8K angle of view at 93.3 degrees. soNy to uPgradE vENiCE aNd FX9 CamEras Sony has announced ﬁrmware upgrades for its higher frame rate, while the FX9 – widely used in popular Venice and FX9 cameras. The upgrade for TV – will have expanded shooting and recording the high-end drama, ﬁlm and commercials camera capabilities. The Venice upgrade will come in Venice will deliver more monitoring options and a November, while the FX9 is set for October.
its 650 crew up and working from home to ensure business continuity. A report by VFX tech ﬁrm Escape Technology and HP – titled Going Remote: Covid-19 and the Impact of Remote Working in the VFX Industry – provides data and insight into how the industry has adapted to home working. According to the report, before Covid-19, 46% of the VFX industry did not have a work from home policy or technology in place, while 34% stated that one of the biggest barriers to working remotely was the technology setup.
Now, 55% of respondents say they could sustain this style of remote working for eight months to a year, highlighting how quickly industry thinking has changed. 87% of VFX industry workers said that during crisis their leadership team has heavily encouraged, supported, and facilitated remote working. However, long-term it seems that many would miss the human connection that the oﬃce provides. 48% state that although working from home is now more desirable they would rather work from the oﬃce where possible.
BACK TO CONTENTS leAding producers hAve complAined For yeArs
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levels oF production. magiC lEaP CutbaCks raisE quEstioNs about ar What next for the augmented reality (AR) market? That’s what many are asking after industry pioneer Magic Leap announced it is laying oﬀ 1,000 workers or roughly half its workforce. The augmented reality headset developer also announced a strategy to focus on the enterprise market rather than consumers. The hugely hyped start-up had raised USD2.6 billion in 2014 from investors including Google, Alibaba, and AT&T. Magic Leap sceptics say the Magic Leap One, its ﬁrst AR headset, which takes advantage of developments in spatial computing, was over-hyped and underwhelming. They describe the layoﬀs and strategy change as a case of “augmented reality hitting economic reality.”
vaudEvillE EXPaNds souNd oFFEr iNto CaNada Post company Vaudeville Sound Group, which specialises in sound design and mixing, has launched a new facility in Canada. The company, which has credits including Quibi’s Elba Vs. Block and MTV’s Ex On The Beach: Peak Of Love, was founded in 1996 and already has oﬃces in London and Los Angeles. Mirko Vogel and Rob Calder will oversee the Canadian operation. Vaudeville CEO Daniel Jones said: “We see Canada as the ideal destination to build on our network of worldclass sound designers and re-recording mixers — and Vancouver is a beautiful place to start.”
Sales of its headsets, which cost between USD2,300 and USD3,000, have reportedly been slow with consumers, hence the decision to focus on markets that can aﬀord higher price-tag technologies. AR has not seen the same level of consumer interest as VR. This is due to the lack of options in the market, its high price and not nearly enough content to justify a purchase. By comparison VR headsets – like the Playstation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Valve Index – have sold more widely. "We must decrease investments in areas where the market has been slower to develop," said CEO Rony Abovitz. But could it be a case of timing? The ambitious vision and promise of Magic Leap required 5G bandwidth and latency which isn't yet widely available. It may still be a case of watch this space for AR.
rom Edinburgh down to Kent, a raft of studio building projects are underway in the UK to meet demand for production space.
Leading producers have complained for years about the challenge of locating studio space in the UK, amid booming levels of production. This became more acute last year after Disney and Netﬂix signed long-term leases at Pinewood Studios and Shepperton Studios respectively. The Ashford International Film Studios in Kent has been granted consent by the local council. The GBP250 million large scale development on a 15 acre site (pictured below) is to be carried out by The Creative District Improvement Company (TCDI) and Quinn Estates, with opening set for 2022. TCDI recently announced a GBP50 million acquisition and planned improvement of Twickenham Film Studios. Meanwhile, Screen Scotland has appointed First Stage Studios to operate new studios in Edinburgh. The site in Edinburgh’s Port of Leith has previously been used as a base for Marvel’s Avengers: Inﬁnity War.
CaNoN lauNChEs C300 mkiii Canon is launching the C300 Mk III – a 4K HDR update to its popular C300 range with a newly developed sensor for improved low light picture quality. Sitting alongside the Canon C500 Mk II, which was released last year, the C300 Mk III camera shoots in 4K up to 120 fps. It also has lower power consumption, giving it 130 minutes of recording time between battery changes. Canon is pitching the camera at a range of genres – documentaries and commercials to corporate videos and dramas. The C300 Mark III will be available from June. It will cost GBP10,499 (inc VAT). thE CarboN Cost oF strEamiNg A new study has revealed the environmental damage caused by streaming some of Netﬂix’s top shows. The Save on Energy report calculated that the 64 million views of Stranger Things (pictured left) series three released the equivalent of 189 million kilograms of CO2. Meanwhile, the hit ﬁlm Birdbox emitted 66 million kilograms of CO2 from its 80 million views. This is the equivalent of 420 million and 146 million miles of driving each, respectively. Save On Energy came to its conclusions by taking the ﬁndings from scientiﬁc papers on how much CO2 is released per half an hour of streaming, and then putting it together with viewing ﬁgures and run times from Netﬂix’s shows.
Elsewhere, US company Blackhall Studios is to plough GBP150 million into building a studio complex near Reading. The new studio is being developed to accommodate large-scale ﬁlm productions, in line with those developed in Blackhall’s base territory of Atlanta, Georgia.
London’s Elstree Studios has also won planning permission to build two new large stages, as well as workshops and oﬃces. The permission follows Sky unveiling plans late last year to build a large studio complex, Sky Studios, a short distance from Elstree Studios.
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A MONTH AFTER pRESENTING OUR SAFETy pROTOCOL, wE ARE EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THE RELEASE OF WE ARE READY, SHOT ON THE MAy 20TH AT THE SERvICEvISIóN FACILITIES.
We Are Ready
The script follows our protocol, showing how we prepare to shoot each scene, so that our ﬁlmmaking colleagues, both at home and abroad, feel conﬁdent and safe.
“We all are facing an unfamiliar situation in which we want to give our support to our partners and to contribute to the industry with our work and eﬀort.” Albert Soler, President of the APCP
While watching it you can walk through the diﬀerent departments getting to know the hygiene and safety measures taken during the whole process: temperature control in the accesses, facemasks, gloves and face shields on set, working remotely when possible, clothing, sterilization, etc.
ince the start of the state of alarm in Spain, the Spanish Association of Advertising Producers (APCP) has been learning to adapt to the country’s new working methods while always prioritising the health and safety of its workers.
We want to assure that international production will continue to be an essential part of our industry and that Spain will always have a lot to contribute. The APCP is a pioneering association in the standardisation of the industry as they are audited by AENOR, the Spanish entity dedicated to the development of standardisation and certiﬁcation in all industrial and service sectors. This guarantees that all producers belonging to the APCP meet the legal requirements and quality of service that was unanimously agreed by all the members in 2014. On the 20th of April, the APCP published a protocol with the aim of fostering the economic recovery of the advertising ﬁlm industry, whilst protecting the workers and supporting the public’s safety and health in order to contribute and adapt to the current situation. You can download the latest version, containing all the new government regulations, from our home page – www.apcp.es/en/. On the 29th of May, we launched the spot We Are Ready to show how we are ready to shoot in full compliance with safety regulations. It was ﬁlmed under the direction of Ricardo Jr. Albiñana (ADDP) and with the special appearance of Luka Peros (Marseille in Money Heist).
We all are facing a new landscape in all industries and we want to be positive about what is yet to come. If something is clear here is that if anyone knows how to adapt to diﬃcult situations, it is the producers. “Spain will continue to be one of the most soughtafter countries in the world to shoot in, both for its locations and for the high quality of its professionals and its equipment. We want to continue to be competitive, and we will adapt to the new technologies so that the process of shooting is adapted to the reality of what is possible within the restrictions of mobility.” Adriana Piquet, General Director of the APCP The APCP has worked very closely with the public administrations in order to be allowed to shoot in public areas in those regions which are in Phase 1. This allows us to speed up the activity as quickly as possible with 100% priority and responsibility towards the health and safety of the workers. The APCP will continue working closely with the Spanish institutions to ensure the best possible conditions for the ﬁlming industry in Spain and to keep on working with international producers. To watch the spot, just search APCP we’re ready on YouTube.
For morE iNFormatioN PlEasE CoNtaCt LAURA MILLáN COMMUNICATIONS DEpARTMENT COMUNICACION@ApCp.ES +34 689 139 487
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ARGENTINA a bountiful backlot The fact that Argentina is the second largest country in South America means that it has exotic settings at either end of the location spectrum. In the north, on the border with Brazil lies the tropical Iguazu waterfall in the midst of the jungle which featured in Marvel’s Black Panther. Plate shots of waterfall informed the setting for the kingdom of Wakanda, and the location where a dramatic coronation ritual is set. In the very south of the country, Argentina’s portion of Patagonia starred in Alejandro Iñárritu’s period survival The Revenant. With opposing seasons to the northern hemisphere, the shoot moved to Tierra del Fuego as snow melted before the production wrapped in Canada.
argentina is not short on big locations so it’s a staple for advertising work as well as the occasional superhero blockbuster. incoming productions will be well supported by a range of competent servicing companies.
rgentina’s location diversity pulls in a full range of advertising work alongside feature ﬁlms and television looking for scene-stealing backdrops. Most recently, the country was seen in Netﬂix’s The Two Popes, starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, and which received three academy nominations for Netﬂix. The bustling city of Buenos Aires set the scene for Pope Francis’ life from a young man who ﬁnds the church, to the cardinal of the Argentinian capital.
The capital itself is one of the country’s primary draws for the advertising industry. The neighbourhoods of San Telmo and Palermo have wide city streets and grand architectural buildings inﬂuenced by French, Italian art deco buildings, which can be conveniently doubled for “As with most European capitals. Other districts south AmericAn such as Puerto Moderno’s high countries, rises on the seafront can double for production costs American cities while colourful neighbourhoods like La Boca Are lower thAn in play South America itself. As with europe or north most South American countries, AmericA.” production costs are lower than in Europe or North America.
The Casa Rosada
The Casa Rosada (pictured above) is a pink palatial mansion that has been the oﬃce of the president of Argentina since 1862. Located in Buenos Aires Plaza de Mayo it has been the centre of major historical events. Alan Parker’s 1996 version of Evita starring Madonna secured the location for a key scene. “Suddenly it wasn’t just the illusion and replication of ﬁlm. It was strangely real. We shot throughout the night and, as the sun came up in the morning, we all quietly hugged one another. I think we all felt that we had, in ﬁve weeks, done all that we had set out to do and more,” recalls Parker.
Around the world Getting it together SIX LOCATIONS CHOSEN BY LOCATION MANAgER HARRIET LAWRENCE
1 The Personal hisTory of DaviD CoPPerfielD - kings lYnn, norFolk, 2018 This ﬁlm was a scouting joy. From the early months on the road with the designer Cristina Casali to the shoot itself – we created location magic on screen. Kings Lynn harbour was truly stunning, doubling for Yarmouth Herring harbour in the ﬁlm.
2 suffrageTTe - the house oF CoMMons, WestMinster, 2014 Suﬀragette was a career high as it was the ﬁrst time a commercial feature ﬁlm had been given permission to ﬁlm in the location. We were there for four days working with 150 crew, 200 rioting suﬀragettes, horses, vintage cars and all that entails.
3 henry viii - berkeleY Castle, glouCestershire, 2003 As an enormous fan of Tudor and medieval architecture, scouting for locations on this production will always remain a highlight. We spent weeks looking at castles and cathedrals across England and this one, architecturally, is a gem.
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arriet Lawrence LMGI, has worked in the industry for over 20 years. She prefers to work with independent productions as it allows her to have a much more direct and collaborative relationship with the director, producer and designer. Her credits include, My Cousin Rachel, Suﬀragette and The Personal History of David Copperﬁeld.
Harriet is also ﬁrmly committed to encouraging new and diverse talent into the industry. She created the ﬁrst Assistant Location Managers Training course several years ago which continues to be in high demand and very successful.
4 DanCing on The eDge - seVern ValleY railWaY, 2013 All of Stephen Poliakoﬀ ’s mini series were a brilliant challenge. He would ask me to scout months before production began so that the locations would work their way into the script. Set in the 1930s, this one was no exception.
5 Parks & reCreaTion - sCotland, 2015 Sometimes the small jobs can be so much fun. The US TV series ﬁrst came to London and then we went on to Scotland – a land of whisky, distilleries and castles.
6 Cousin raChel - deVon, 2017 We scouted over 120 beautiful pre-Victorian isolated churches, shot in bluebell woods and stunning manor houses. But the real star was Devon. I found a small but unbelievably perfect estate where we could shoot many diﬀerent scenes within a tiny area.
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BULGARIA action packed This not only attracts long format shoots, but advertising projects too. Advertising budgets can be stretched in the country because of low labour and production costs but the amount of equipment, technicians and sets available is also a factor. There are a number of production service companies who specialise in advertising work.
despite not having formal tax incentives in place, the country attracts productions due to its facilities, and low production and labour costs.
Soﬁa is the hub for ﬁlming in Bulgaria, which is used to double for modern European cities and can be reached in just three and a half hours from London. Set in the middle of the Balkans in the west of the country, locations looking for mountains scenery don’t need to venture far from the city for rural locations. In the east, the Black Sea coast has a number of resorts set up for large numbers of tourists each summer. or years Bulgaria has quietly worked away on some of Hollywood’s biggest action ﬁlms. Stars such as Gerard Butler, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds are all familiar with Bulgaria, having worked on features that routinely shoot in the country such as the Hitman’s Bodyguard and sequel The Hitman’s Bodyguard’s Wife and Rambo V.
Since US production companies New Image and UFO International Productions built Nu Boyana Film Studios over 400 ﬁlms and TV series have been serviced. “despite not yet Regularly hosting Millenium Film hAving Filming productions such as the yet to be incentives, released The Outpost, the studio bulgAriA remAins also services international series one oF the best such as Amazon Prime thriller Absentia, and Netﬂix’s ﬁrst vAlue locAtions original Belgian series Into the in the eu.” Night (pictured above). Due to the studios’ extensive range of standing sets that include Roman and medieval sets, documentary productions and period shoots are frequent visitors. This ranges from the BBC’s Plebs that ran for ﬁve series and October Films’ feature Eight Days that Made Rome. Despite not yet having ﬁlming incentives, Bulgaria remains one of the best value locations in the EU.
The Largo in central Soﬁa are three large buildings built in the 1950s to be used as the city’s representative centre and include the grand Party House and council of ministers. The central square is covered with yellow cobblestones (pictured above) which are symbolic for the city, says Ivanina Burneva from B2Y productions, part of the Nu Boyana Film Studios family. The company shot a Porsche Panamera commercial here in 2019 using the wide Todor Alexandrov Boulevard as a key location for the spot entirely shot in Soﬁa city centre. The city’s wide boulevards are well set up for car spots, but action sequences for Hollywood ﬁlms including Hitman’s Bodyguard and Angel has Fallen have also shot here. Main image: Into the Night © Netflix.
Making of The Angel of Hamburg
RECREATING NAZI GERMANY
USINg SOUTH AMERICAN LOCATIONS
BACK TO CONTENTS ilmed in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, mini-series The Angel of Hamburg is based on the true story of Aracy de Carvalho, a Brazilian diplomatic clerk who saved hundreds of Jews in Germany during the Second World War.
It’s the ﬁrst production to come out of a partnership between Brazilian broadcaster Globo and US studio Sony Pictures Television (SPT) to co-develop and coproduce Englishlanguage drama – and marks Globo’s ﬁrst production to be entirely spoken in English, part
of a bid to tap into international demand for high-end scripted content. De Carvalho worked in the Brazilian consulate in Germany during the war, helping hundreds of Jews to emigrate to Brazil even though the country imposed rigid rules against their immigration. South American locations double up for Germany in the drama, which stars Sophie Charlotte as de Carvalho and Rodrigo Lombardi as her husband, the famed Brazilian writer João Guimarães Rosa.
“Aracy is little known in Brazil or elsewhere for that matter, being mostly remembered as the wife of writer Guimarães Rosa,” says director Jayme Monjardim. In 1982, de Carvalho became one of the two Brazilians honoured by Yad Vashem with the Righteous Among the Nations award. The Angel of Hamburg was created and written by Mario Teixeira, in collaboration with British writer Rachel Anthony and is directed by Jayme Monjardim with Elisabetta Zenatti of SPT’s joint venture company Floresta serving as executive producer.
Images: Jayme Monjardim.
Filming in the Extreme Cold
locations found in cold climates lend themselves to the screen, but working in these extreme conditions is uncharted territory for many. sub-zero shoots require careful consideration and planning – so makers talked to the experts about what to expect.
he pristine and severe landscapes found in extreme cold climates serve to heighten on-screen drama, and act as compelling backdrops for tales of humanity for everything from inspiring advertising campaigns, jaw-dropping action sequences or captivating documentary projects. Planning to ﬁlm in such environments can add extra layers of complexity to a shoot. Safety, the necessary equipment, location options, available infrastructure and the cost are all considerations.
For this article, makers spoke to three experts on the subject: Steve Lewis, executive producer at Empire Films, a production service company that operates at the extremities of the earth in Greenland, Iceland and Svalbar; Hanna Tuovio of production company Grilliﬁlms that often services commercial and feature shoots that take place in Finnish Lapland for brands such as Shell, Audi and features including YRF’s War; “AdditionAl equipment and Kjetil Jensberg, director of “becomes As normAl As FilmCamp studio and rental house A cell phone” For in Troms, Northern Norway. producers to ensure productions run smoothly And sAFely.”
By working with the right local service providers producers can access some of the most remote and cold corners of the globe. US shoots may consider northern regions of Canada, while European based productions have a good number of options around the Arctic. Producers can dictate how far from civilisation they want to venture, with some epic locations located a mere hour from civilisation in Lapland or Iceland. However, some of
the most remote locations in the world, such as the Antarctic, Greenland or the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard have successfully hosted extraordinary shoots. Little known Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago the size of the UK that is 60% covered in glaciers. Unlike the rest of the high Arctic it is relatively easy to reach with two commercial airlines that have frequently scheduled ﬂights year-round. With more polar bears than people, the region is one of the most accessible remote ﬁlming locations. Outside of urban dwellings transit is a key obstacle for productions, and the most common methods of transport include snowmobiles, boats, snowcats and super jeeps. Iceland is one the most built up production hubs in the region, regularly welcoming feature ﬁlms due to its range of landscapes from moonscapes to glaciers, volcanic locations and powerful waterfalls. Destinations in mainland Europe may seem like a more feasible option to many, and the Lapland region covering the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula in Russia generally has a good road and internet infrastructure. Wherever a production is based, the natural elements can be harsh and challenging. Lewis’ Empire Films often works on TVC campaigns for the outdoor industry and cultural documentaries whose budgets allow for ambitious shoots in undiscovered landscapes. These shoots often involve production crews of more than seventy. In 2015 a request to ﬁlm a man seemingly “inside” a solar eclipse on the horizon brought the team to Spitsbergen in Svalbard where there are no hotels,
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BASECAMp wAS SET Up ON TOp OF A GLACIER FOR TwO AND A HALF wEEKS COMpLETELy SELF SUFFICIENTLy. HEATED TENTS USED AS pRODUCTION OFFICES ENABLED LOCATION SCOUTING TO FIND THE pERFECT LOCATION FOR THE SHOOT.
restaurants or civilisation. A basecamp was set up on top of a glacier for two and a half weeks completely self-suﬃciently. “Our producers are trained expedition guides who have all spent extensive time in nature. With their expertise they not only help you work in nature but make it a comfortable productive experience,” says Lewis. Heated tents were used as production oﬃces from which comprehensive location scouting allowed the team to capture the shot when the eclipse took place. In 2019, Grilliﬁlms serviced Bollywood production War, which shot a high-octane car chase sequence on a frozen lake in Finnish Lapland. Tuovio underlines complexities of creating a proper base camp. Although the infrastructure in Lapland is relatively advanced with a good road network and widespread internet connection, locations are often an over an hour away from civilisation so heated production bases must be built from scratch in the middle of the wilderness. This was even more imperative for the action shoot. During the two week shoot for War heated garages were set up so that chase cars could be ﬁxed and tyres gritted. Soundstages and studio infrastructure do exist in proximity to these locations. FilmCamp in Troms, Norway, is a good example. The studio acts not only as a studio, but also as a rental house, and has accommodation and production oﬃce space on site. Kjetil Jensberg, director of Film Camp notes that in the vicinity of the studio, some of Norway’s rugged and dramatic locations can be accessed without the need for extra travel. Festival favourite Rare Exports was shot in entirety at the studio, ﬁnding the range of locations needed without additional travel and utilising the site’s extensive backlot. Safety too is paramount when ﬁlming in these climates, and extra precautions must be put in place when ﬁlming fast-paced and jeopardous action sequences. Hanna Tuovio explains that for War’s chase sequence “there were three or four cars on the ice: two chase cars, followed by a camera car and then the director’s car. The more speed that a car has, the thicker the ice has to be. Water is pushed underneath the ice that creates a sort of tsunami. The lake has to be big enough to accommodate all this far away from the shoreline.” February and March
Images: © Elli or Magnussen & Jordan Rosen Photography.
are the best months for these types of shoots, as the ice and snow are reliable and plentiful, but there is enough light for decent ﬁlming hours. As a rule, the further north you venture in the winter, the less light you have. In the very north the sun does not rise at all during deepest winter. However, this does not mean that shoots can’t take place. Tuovio notes that during polar nights where the sun never rises, “it is not completely dark. The snow’s white surface reﬂects the light and it is really, really beautiful”. In the summer months, the sun never sets which Lewis says “has enabled crews to double their productivity” on shoots. Heavy logistics are “cAmerAs work involved in preparing a AmAZingly well shoot in an extreme cold in sub-Zero climate, and everything conditions, but that is needed for the production must be you need A lot oF sourced and transported bAtteries becAuse in. “The cameras they run out FAst.” work amazingly well in sub-zero conditions, of course you need a lot of batteries because they run out fast,” says Tuovio. Lewis adds that when working in more remote spots there is additional equipment that “become as normal as a cell phone” to ensure productions run smoothly and safely. Iridium satellite telephones, emergency location beacons, VHF/UHF radios and, on Svalbard ﬂare guns and riﬂes are needed to protect crews from the polar bear population. All of this comes at cost, making working in the extreme cold a ﬁscal commitment. Wages in Nordic countries are generally high, hiring specialist equipment and transportation costs to remote locations all adds to budgets. However, many of these countries do provide ﬁlming incentives to ease the strain. Iceland, one of the most built up production hubs has operated an incentive scheme since 2001 which has brought in productions including Prometheus and Game of Thrones. The 25% reimbursement of production costs is in line with those in Finland and Norway. Moreover, as Svalbard is a territory of Norway, productions shooting in the archipelago beneﬁt from the 25% incentive too.
ON LOCATION 25
The art of ﬁlm needs the science of diversity
FILMMAKERS, FUNDERS AND CREATIvES TEND TO HANG OUT wITH LIKE-MIND pEOpLE wHO LIvE IN DIvERSITy-CRUSHING ECHO CHAMBERS, SAyS SIMON DAvID MILLER, wHO ARGUES THAT THE wAy FILMS ARE MADE – AND wHO MAKES THEM – HAS TO CHANGE RADICALLy.
es, ﬁlm is art, and yes, to create great art its makers need to wield magic and happenstance freely and without limits. But we have to stop believing that the greatest ﬁlms are created by great individuals, because the science of diversity tells us that it’s simply not true.
If my opening paragraph jangles every artistic bone in your body, there’s a book you should read. It’s Matthew Syed’s Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking and in this column I’m going use the science it unveils to lay out the foundations of the diversity revolution that the ﬁlm industry has barely grasped and so desperately needs. STOp wORKING wITH CLONES Making a ﬁlm is a complex artistic and technical problem and whilst diversity science has proven that such complexity is best solved by cognitively diverse teams, the industry is predominantly hiring clones. The Gender Parity Pledge that began at Cannes in 2018 was an historic moment in cinema, but it’s only a tremor compared to the avalanche required, not least because gender is only one of so many aspects of diversity. We don’t need another clone war, we need a war on clones. LIBERATE CONSTRUCTIvE DISSENT Enabling diversity to ﬂourish in the art of ﬁlm-making isn’t just about hiring diverse directors and executives, it’s about how they themselves behave. The idea that the domineering behaviour of temperamental, tortured, stressed ‘geniuses’ should be excused for the sake of the art is still endemic, but diversity science tells us that ideas ﬂourish when constructive dissent from team members is not only enabled, but expected. Artistic leaders must decide, but far better decisions are made when they open themselves up to diverse opinion. LET DIvERSE IDEAS HAvE SEX Artists can iterate ideas gradually, but giant leaps are made when diverse ideas are allowed to have sex together. It’s called recombinant innovation, and diversity science shows that the greatest innovators in history are those who place
themselves at the network nodes, the meeting places of diverse inﬂuences and ideas. Innovation isn’t about the introverted arrogance of the individual brain, it’s about the vast superiority of the collective brain. GET THE F**K OUT OF yOUR ECHO CHAMBERS Funders and creatives who hang out with like-minded people live their lives in diversity-crushing echo chambers. It’s a comfortable place to be, to be on the inside, to agree with those around you, to know the ropes. But the ﬁlm industry’s echo chambers are progress killers, not just because they homogenise the art they make, but because they belittle and de-legitimise new ideas and change. We need to wake up and realise that the ropes we have had to learn may actually be the bars of a prison of our own making from which we need to collectively escape. For the love of art, the industry needs to fearlessly evolve out of its ﬁrst century of individualism. It is safe in the knowledge that because the grand history of ﬁlm has been so utterly restricted – with its lens half-shut, stories untold, and incandescent talent untapped – the world’s greatest ﬁlm has yet to be made. Simon David Miller is a BAFTA-nominated filmmaker and founder of New Forest Film Co, which is pioneering the use of Agile start-up processes and AI-driven audience testing in film and drama development and production. Over the past 20 years, Simon has helped to found and sell several media tech start-ups including Peoplesound (online music), Swopex (media sharing), and most recently Zeebox and Beamly (second screen TV and social and digital marketing). His first feature film, Seachd - The Inaccessible Pinnacle, was the first Scottish Gaelic film to be released in cinemas.
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CANADA northern star
almost every region of Canada has something to oﬀer the industry. as the race for stage space heats up in the wake of Covid-19, producers should consider the full range of options in the country as well as its eminent post and vFX hubs.
anada’s federal tax incentive can be combined with province and state territory level incentives. Almost all of Canada’s 13 regions operate their own incentive or funds. Even Canada’s smallest province Prince Edward Island, where some scenes for Netﬂix’s Anne with an E (pictured above) were shot, operates a rebate of up to 25%. With most regions competing for incoming productions it is worth shopping around to ﬁnd the right mix of locations and infrastructure to support your production.
ONTARIO 2019 was a record breaking year from Ontario’s ﬁlm and TV industry as it welcomed over 340 productions, an increase in production of almost 15% from 2018. While the impact of Covid-19 will likely see 2020 behind these ﬁgures, the state’s extensive stage “while the impAct oF space will be in demand when covid-19 will likely productions are able to resume.
see 2020 behind these Figures, the stAte’s extensive stAge spAce will be in demAnd when productions Are Able to resume.”
Toronto is the main ﬁlming hub for projects like Star Trek: Discovery, but Northern Ontario, Ottawa and Central and Southwestern Ontario all see regular ﬁlming and are supported by regional ﬁlm oﬃces. In February the second series of Apple TV’s See began ﬁlming on location in Southern Ontario.
QUEBEC Alongside physical production, Quebec is renowned for its post-production industry and operates incentives for VFX, animation, games and dubbing. There are over 40 visual eﬀects companies in the province. Feature ﬁlms to have completed VFX work
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Founded in 1753, the World Heritage site is a traditional ﬁshing town which still boasts much of its original architecture. The waterfront buildings have brightly coloured facades and the historic harbour is still home to traditional tall ships and ﬁshing schooners. Surrounded by rocky coastlines, beaches and farmland, the town is just over an hour from the province’s capital Halifax. Numerous productions have been drawn to Lunenburg. Most recently, the town hosted ﬁlming for Netﬂix series Locke & Key (pictured above) based on a fantasy comic book series set in a small Massachusetts town where the Locke family discover a series of magical keys. Lunenburg doubled for the ﬁctional town, while nearby natural caves also featured in the series. Studio space in Toronto also hosted the series which has been renewed for a second series.
EssENtial FaCts iNCENtivEs
16-25% The Canadian Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC) is a 16.5% refundable credit for foreign production companies on qualiﬁed Canadian labour expenditures or services rendered in Canada by Canadian residents. There is a minimum global production spend of CAD1 million for features, CAD100,000 an episode per half hour TV series & CAD200,000 an episode for longer series. There is no per project cap. The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) is a 25% refundable credit on qualifying Canadian labour spend on oﬃcial co-productions or which pass cultural tests. Qualiﬁed labour expenditures cannot be more than 60% of production costs (net of assistance). Co-ProduCtioN trEatiEs
57 including UK, Ireland, China & India. ata CarNEt
Canada is increasing its studio capacity. Pinewood Studios (Toronto), Martini Film Studios (Vancouver), Vancouver Mammoth Studios (Vancouver), Cinespace Film Studios (Toronto) & Film Alberta Studios (Alberta) are some of the facilities now available. rECENt ProduCtioNs
Mrs America, The Organ Donor, Schitt’s Creek, Star Trek Discovery, Deadpool 2 & Altered Carbon. Images: Locke & Key © Christos Kalohoridis & Netflix, Anne with an E © Chris Reardon & Netflix, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina © Diyah Pera & Netflix.
in the state include Disney’s Aladdin and Dumbo and DC’s Aquaman. Framestore, MPC, Method Studios and Rodeo FX all have studios in Montreal. Montreal based studios are strengthening ties with Hollywood, with studios like Folks VFX recently joining forces with LA based VFX company FuseFX. Together the companies will have access to over 600 artists in seven locations across North and South America. Labour-based computer aided special eﬀects, animation and shooting of scenes in front of chroma-key screen activities qualify for the 16% labour based rebate with no minimum spend or funding cap. This is alongside a 20% cash rebate on expenses for physical production.
BRITISH COLUMBIA Vancouver, BC’s ﬁlming hub averages 65 ﬁlms, and 55 TV series on top of commercials and other projects each year. Stage space is in demand across the globe, and that’s no diﬀerent in British Columbia where expansion is ongoing. Martini Film Studios, one of the city’s production facilities that has hosted Netﬂix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (pictured above) is expanding with a new site that will triple its current capacity, which will increase Greater Vancouver’s ﬁlm capacity by up to 15%. The new site will be a studio campus layout, “allowing for more modular ﬁt for shows… it’s much more ﬂexible” says founder and CEO Gemma Martini. Over 30 productions in British Columbia were temporarily suspended or postponed due to the outbreak of Covid-19. One such production was ﬁrst series of The Power from Reed Morano, the director of Toronto-shot The Handmaid’s Tale. The book to screen adaptation that envisions a world where teen girls develop the power of electrocution that reshapes the power imbalance between genders was greenlit by Amazon in early 2019.
MANITOBA Manitoba’s most recent large production was Amazon Prime sci-ﬁ series Tales from the Loop. Set in Midwest US, Manitoba’s varied locations from small towns to Winnipeg suburbs and wide-open landscapes feature in the reality-warping series. The province provides ﬂexibility to producers as there are two choices for Manitoba’s tax credits. To gain full access to the cost of salaries tax credit that covers up to 65%, incoming productions should work with a Manitoba company. The second option, of a 30% tax credit, oﬀers a fully refundable rebate on eligible production costs including labour. There are no limits on minimum or maximum budget requirements or funding caps for individual productions.
over 30 productions in british columbiA were temporArily suspended or postponed due to the outbreAk oF covid-19.
Did you know that IMAX is a Canadian corporation? Founded by Canadian ﬁlmmakers in 1968, IMAX is a ﬁlm format that allows for images with higher resolution and a widescreen technique, using 70mm ﬁlm rather than the 35mm format. Graeme Ferguson, Roman Koitor and Robert Kerr formed the company under the name Multiscreen Corporation. The ﬁrst ﬁlm using the technology was Tiger Child featured at Expo’70 in Osaka, Japan. The Cinesphere in Toronto was the ﬁrst IMAX theatre in the world, built in 1971. Now there are over 1,500 IMAX theatres in over 80 countries. The company also introduced stadium style seating and laser projection technology in its lifetime. In 1996 the company was awarded the Oscar for Scientiﬁc and Technical Achievement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, citing innovations in creating and developing a method of ﬁlming and exhibiting large-format, wide-angle pictures.
Focus on Mental Health
The coronavirus crisis has only emphasised recent research which shows that people working in the creative industries experience much higher levels of mental ill health than the wider population. What is it about this industriy that takes such a toll on mental health? makers reports.
ental health has shot to the top of the agenda in 2020 in the creative industries. First, high proﬁle cases, such as the suicides of former participants on UK series The Jeremy Kyle Show and Love Island sparked debate, which only intensiﬁed after Love Island presenter Caroline Flack took her own life in February. This was against a background when the Harvey Weinstein revelations had already led to a closer examination of the culture of the creative industry itself. Then, of course, came the shutdown of production due to coronavirus. The move instantly plunged
most of the industry’s freelancers out of work – and severely out of pocket – creating unprecedented levels of stress. This came after the UK’s The Film and TV Charity had published in February the ﬁndings of a survey about the well-being of TV workers. It was astonished to receive nearly 9,000 responses to the survey. “The responses ﬂooded in,” says The Film and TV Charity’s CEO Alex Pumfrey, describing a “huge outpouring of emotion” and “pent up feelings” in the replies.
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The survey found that nearly nine people in 10 working in the UK’s ﬁlm, TV and cinema industries have experienced a mental health problem. That compares with two in three people in the UK population. THE HAMSTER wHEEL IS TURNING FASTER AND THAT TRANSLATES TO INCREASING pRESSURE ON pEOpLE.
Asked what might be causing the problems, Pumfrey points to the structure of an industry where two thirds of workers are freelance, subject to the ups and downs that come with this way of working. She cites three speciﬁc factors. The ﬁrst is to do with industry working practices: the intensity of production work and its long hours, tight deadlines and often being away from home. This, of course, has long been a feature of the industry, but the survey gives a strong sense that this is accelerating as budgets get tighter and expectations become higher. “The hamster wheel is turning faster and that translates to increasing pressure on people,” says Pumfrey. Secondly, she says that while there has been some progress on sexual harassment in the wake of Time’s Up and MeToo movements, bullying is as prevalent as it ever has been, and was “a very strong feature in what we saw in the research.” Thirdly, she explains that there is a lack of support that is easily available and accessible for the freelance community. “As a freelancer, you could be working under the auspices of a broadcaster which has got fantastic support in place for its employees. But it’s very diﬃcult for them to extend any meaningful support to you as a freelancer.” This last factor has only been emphasised during the coronavirus crisis, with many of the freelance sector struggling to access government support. Indeed, the long-term impact of Covid-19 on TV’s freelance workforce is only now beginning to emerge with another survey ﬁnding that more than half could leave the industry if opportunities continue to stagnate. The poll of almost 1,000 freelancers by Viva La PD, a grassroots organisation of producer-directors, said growing anxiety levels due to the coronavirus shutdown were identiﬁed as a key driver for pushing people into seeking work in more secure industries. “These people have extremely worrying stress levels about the future and how they are going to support themselves and their families,” said the Viva La PD report. “Childcare bills and rents are still being paid, but the vast majority have zero income coming in.” Once lockdown restrictions are lifted, “the market
will be ﬂooded with a workforce all ﬁghting over a limited number of jobs,” it added. Tamara Abood, who retrained as a psychotherapist after working in TV at Dragonﬂy and Channel 4, says many therapists are concerned that there is a trend towards labelling day-to-day stresses and challenges as “mental health issues” when in fact they are just the normal stresses of life. “That said, I know from my own experience that the TV industry is a very demanding one, and the scale of the response to The Film & TV Charity survey speaks volumes.” In her psychotherapy practice, Abood sees a lot of TV people who are experiencing very high levels of stress, some of which relates to the actual demands of the work and some to dysfunctional personalities or toxic work environments. “The two go hand in hand. In stressful environments people behave badly,” says Abood. In this respect, she doesn’t think that TV is diﬀerent to any other industry. “I think where TV diﬀers, or why the incidence of mental health issues might be higher, relates to the short-termism of the industry,” says Abood. It means employers can ask people to work long hours and give up their weekends, or they can bury their heads about a problem director or series producer, because they know that person will move on when the production ends. “The diﬃculty for many people working in production is that what they may be willing to tolerate over the course of a production, in fact becomes their way of life because the people running their next project take the same short term approach.” Abood also thinks that there is not enough honesty within the industry about the amount of work it really takes to get programmes onscreen. The goodwill of freelancers, in particular, is relied on to help deliver productions on time and on budget. The lack of respect for people’s work-life balance is enabled in part, of course, because there is an implicit understanding that if they don’t do it, there are hundreds behind them who would jump at the chance. Although, this might not be the case for long if there is a mass exodus from the industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
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CHILE safe hands as much by these locations as the resources of service companies and crew members with experience working on advertising shoots with quick turnarounds. Chile’s dramatic landscapes and extreme sporting destinations are well set up for shoots conceived and ﬁlmed months in advance of seasonal campaigns as Chile’s operates on opposing seasons to the US and Europe. Being in the same time zone as New York also means that US clients are regular visitors and is a factor to consider for clients who want to work remotely in coming months.
an established centre for commercials production, Chile is a safe bet for ﬁlmmakers wanting versatile locations. With a strong and successful national industry, incoming productions will ﬁnd skillful technicians and ﬁlm friendly administrations.
Two years ago, Chile introduced a pilot incentive that meant productions could access a rebate of 25-30% on eligible local expenditures. The pilot scheme has closed but the Film Commission and the Chilean Economic Development Agency are in talks with the Ministry of Economy to see how to implement a fresh programme expected for 2021. ne of the most famous features to have shot in Chile is The Motorcycle Diaries which documents the life changing motorcycle road trip that Che Guevara went on in his youth. The 2004 ﬁlm shot sequences in authentic locations where possible, many of which were in Chile. The ﬁlm documents fully the sheer variety of landscapes that can be found in the country, from lakes mountains and volcanoes of Freire and Lautaro, the historic cities of Valparaiso, the capital Santiago’s wide boulevards and the Atacama desert in the north.
“two yeArs Ago chile introduced A pilot incentive thAt meAnt productions could Access A rebAte oF 25-30% on eligible locAl expenditures.”
In 2019, independent feature Nomad, described as a love story of seven continents, ﬁlmed a solar eclipse in the Ulqui Valley. Serviced by Jacaranda Films, the feature captured a solar eclipse that director Taron Lexton wanted to capture in person, rather than relying on VFX. The Elqui Valley was chosen because its high altitude, low population and clear visibility created the perfect conditions needed for the time sensitive shot.
The high-end advertising work which is the driving force of the Chilean audiovisual industry is attracted
The Araucanía region of Chile lies to the South of Santiago, and is an area of unspoilt natural beauty encompassing lakes, mountains and volcanoes. The Villarrica volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Chile, and is often covered in snow where intrepid skiers can go oﬀ piste. Pablo Larrain’s 2016 biopic Neruda documents the dramatic life of Pablo Neruda, a senator, former ambassador and well-known poet who spoke out against the suppression of communists in Chile in 1948. The ﬁlm documents his escape from Santiago across the Andes, and Araucanía hosted some ﬁlming for these scenes.
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interview ed guiney with & andrew lowe ndrew Lowe and Ed Guiney (pictured below) are the co-founders of Irish-UK producer, distributor and exhibitor Element Pictures. The Dublin, London and Belfastbased indie recently produced the acclaimed adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People (pictured left) for BBC3 and Hulu. Recent credits include Yorgos Lanthimos’s Oscar winner The Favourite, and Lenny Abrahamson’s Oscar winner Room. Upcoming Element productions include Phyllida Lloyd’s Sundance hit Herself and Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir Part Two. Element also operates the Light House Cinema in Dublin and Pálás Cinema in Galway. Guiney focuses on the creative production side of the business, running its development slate and working as lead producer. Lowe focuses on distribution and exhibition, and production ﬁnance.
How did you come to produce Normal People? ED GUINEY
We read the book when it was still in manuscript form in spring 2018, and felt it would make a great piece of TV. It's a very intense, extremely relatable love story – something for all age groups. We work very closely with Lenny Abrahamson, so gave him the book, and he loved it. We also have a very close relationship with the BBC, in particular with [BBC Films director] Rose Garnett. She read it at the same time as well, and felt that it would be a brilliant piece for TV. The book had intense interest from lots of parties trying to get the rights. The BBC did a really bold thing to encourage our bid. They
greenlit the show on the basis of the book and Lenny's interest in it. We were able to say to Sally [Rooney], ‘If we get this, we are making the show.’ That was incredibly powerful. Sally was a huge fan of Lenny’s work; the combination of his interest, this gesture from the BBC, and that we're an Irish company with an insider knowledge of some things in the book spoke for us. MAKERS
What can you tell us about Element? ANDREW LOWE
The ethos of the company is to align ourselves with creative talent and support them in the work that they want to do – it’s about getting behind talent we believe in and are excited by. Ed and I have a very good working relationship and a complementary set of skills. When we set up the company, the idea was that by pooling our resources we could achieve more than we would individually. In the early years, we were probably guilty of chasing market trends. We learned, sometimes by bitter experience, that you can't really second guess what the market wants. That has helped us pivot towards just focusing on the talent that we really believe in, on the basis that if the work is good and distinctive enough, we'll ﬁnd an opportunity in the marketplace. We’ve also learned, like a lot of entrepreneurs who start their own company, that we're probably pretty terrible managers. We have had to learn painfully how to manage a team.
We come from ﬁlm, and I guess ﬁlm is very director centric. We’re always surprised by how often directors are a bit of an afterthought in TV. The primary creator is often the writer, and that is right and proper a lot of the time. We will always aim to bring a director into the mix very early on, because that's what we're used to. We’ve realised that the things that make for success in TV are exactly the same things that make for success in ﬁlm. It’s about trying to ﬁnd things that are diﬀerent and rise above the mass of stuﬀ that's out there. Increasingly, you have to be diﬀerent to be successful. That hasn’t always been the case. It used to be that you had to be a little bit the same as everything else because you were playing to a mass audience. But now you're playing to loads of niche audiences so you need to speak very passionately, and directly to a particular audience – and hope from there you can kind of bleed out into the mainstream. MAKERS
Why did you expand to exhibition and distribution too? ANDREW LOWE
Part of the logic of that was diversifying risk, and that has proven to be the case. There are periods of time when distribution
or exhibition has been strong and helps to support the rest of the enterprise, and then other times when production is booming and helps the other parts of the business when things are tougher there. MAKERS
What’s next? ED GUINEY
We have great people working within the company. We feel that growth for us is really about our production capacity – so we need to grow our producer capacity, and in turn we need to allow those people to really own what they do, and feel proud of it. We’re obviously known for our relationship with Lenny, Yorgos, Sally Rooney, Sebastián Lelio, Joanna Hogg, and all of these signature ﬁlmmakers. We want to build up a producing capacity to allow us to build a wider pool of ﬁlmmakers that we can work with and properly look after. ANDREW LOWE
Exhibition is a business where we also see a lot of potential for growth. The Irish market is interesting in that it's got the highest per capita cinema going in Europe, apart from Iceland. And we also have a very young population here, and it’s still growing and so we see a lot of opportunity just by serving that market.
We learned that you need to hire really good people to work with, and we’re lucky to have a really good team working across all areas of the company. Images: © Element Pictures/Enda Bowe.
ELEMENT PICTURES ROOM
Casting a Closer Eye on Diversity
Casting directors are the mediators between talent and productions, and are uniquely placed to keep diversity and inclusion on the agenda. as the industry continues to grapple with a lack of representation on screen, do casting directors hold the key to cracking the problem?
or the ﬁrst time in over 20 years BAFTA introduced a new category to its 2020 ﬁlm and TV awards. Casting directors now have a dedicated award, something a long time coming according to Sarah Crowe, one of the casting directors nominated for the inaugural award. “Everyone with an upfront credit has an award category in all of the awards, but we haven’t had the recognition. And suddenly in the last three years they've introduced a BIFA and now, the BAFTA. I think others will follow, and it’s almost inevitable that at some point within the next few years there’ll be an Oscar.”
“We are delighted this year to be including the highly skilled work of casting directors for the ﬁrst time,” said BAFTA chair Pippa Harris on the announcement. “Casting is “i think it is A essential to the screen industries, and vital in terms of promoting Job thAt is A bit diversity and inclusion on screen,” mysterious. some she added.
people don’t know where A cAsting directors role begins.”
Diversity and inclusion are issues the industry continues to grapple with. BAFTA itself came under ﬁre when the 2020 nominations saw lead actor categories devoid of any BAME nominees, which led to the decision to review the voting process by the association. But where do casting directors ﬁt in industry-wide action on the issue, and could they hold the key to cracking the problem?
“I think it is a job that is a bit mysterious,” says Crowe. “Some people don’t know where a casting director’s role begins.” At the development stage, casting directors work with producers and directors to ﬁnd the stars that bring characters in a ﬁlm or TV drama to life. Lists are drawn up of potential actors for each part, as well as negotiating deal points, fees and availability. “Casting directors work diﬀerently with diﬀerent directors, and it is a collaboration,” says Crowe. When it comes to diversity, the casting department is in a position to keep the issue on the agenda. “We are there to serve the story. We are in close contact daily with the core team – the director and producers. This gives us a real opportunity to open up conversation around diversity if needed,” says Heather Basten, a casting director who has worked with directors such as Rob Savage (Britannia) and Ana Rocha De Sousa (Listen) and was selected in January 2020 as a Film London Lodestar, which honours innovative ﬁlmmakers and craftspeople from across the city. Ultimately decisions come down to the production itself. “We [casting directors] just have to keep asking the question: ‘Does this role need to be white, does it need to be male?’ I think you just have to be inclusive and keep putting the question on the agenda,” says Crowe who received a BAFTA nomination for her work as casting director on Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperﬁeld (pictured right) which stars Dev Patel, a British born actor of Indian heritage in the titular role. “We talked a lot about tone at the start
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wE ARE IN CLOSE CONTACT DAILy wITH THE CORE TEAM – THE DIRECTOR AND pRODUCERS. THIS GIvES US A REAL OppORTUNITy TO OpEN Up CONvERSATION AROUND DIvERSITy IF NEEDED.
of the casting process and I think he always imagined Dev, just because Dev encompasses so much of who David is. I think his vision was always to bring some modernity to reﬂect today. It becomes an organic process because if you can access the whole of the acting pool, from a casting point of view it’s just a very freeing experience. But I think we got the balance right. It’s bold, brilliant and funny, and you forget about the diversity.” Not all projects lend themselves to colour blind casting, but there is an industry-wide receptiveness and a willingness to go beyond lip service. According to a UCLA report, which looks at the top two hundred theatrical ﬁlm releases in 2018 and 2019 ranked by global box oﬃce, on screen diversity has made bigger improvements than behind the screen roles. People of colour made up 27.6% of leading roles in 2019 – up from just 10.5% in 2011 and the number of women in lead roles reached 44.1% in 2019. The number of ﬁlms with predominantly white casts dropped from 51% in 2011 to 15.9% in 2019. “I feel the industry is growing and developing. We’re not quite there yet, but I feel it moving forward. We are seeing bolder casting choices now that shift away from tokenism and type casting to serve the story in super interesting ways,” says Basten. One key role of casting directors is keeping an eye on upcoming talent and nurturing opportunities. “I think there’s some incredibly exciting young actors, It’s a really exciting time,” says Crowe who names Rebekah Murrell, who has starred in Scenes with Girls at the Royal Court, Michael Ward who won the EE Rising Star BAFTA 2020 category having taken on leading roles in Blue Story and Top Boy (main image), and Sope Dirisu a “powerful actor with a big career ahead of him” as some actors to look out for. Basten names both Priya Blackburn, a British, mixed-race actress who starred in Bohemian Rhapsody and deaf child actress Maisie Sly who was cast in the Oscar winning short ﬁlm The Silent Child by Chris Overton. “She really is a star, you just can’t take her eyes oﬀ her,” says Basten who recently cast her in feature ﬁlm Listen (pictured above), coming out this year.
is beginning to support talent who have come from diﬀerent backgrounds. There are some great theatre groups we work with, one of which supports socially excluded young people. There is some great talent to be found there,” says Crowe. For talent the casting process is the ﬁrst impression of a new project. Casting directors who will create physically accessible auditions and allow an open dialogue with agents about clients’ needs are particularly crucial when it comes to casting actors with disabilities. Basten also says that in the wake of coronavirus, making sure that talent “i think the industry is not discriminated is beginning to against based on health support tAlent issues is a priority. who hAve come
Basten often carries out From diFFerent street casting, which bAckgrounds. there puts everyone to the test. Are some greAt “We need to know the theAtre groups we person has the stamina work with.” without formal training, to do 10 takes or more of the same scene. They go through an intense casting process most of the time. We make sure we are there with them every step of the way.” This should include after-care. Basten is currently working closely with the Casting Directors Guild in developing a new ethical code of conduct that ensures the proper after-care for street-cast talent. “They give us their all, sometimes drawing on heavy personal, potentially traumatic life experiences to ﬁt the ﬁctional character. I think it's important to give them the tools to thrive and to be conﬁdent and able to compete on a level playing ﬁeld to everyone else,” she says. This can involve advice on acting lessons, advice on how to get an agent if they feel like continuing in the industry. Without the support of every other department and level of the industry, casting directors can’t solve the issue alone. But if the industry commits to championing diverse and inclusive sets of creatives, executives and crews, casting directors will be able to ﬁll the on-screen roles in a diverse and inclusive way. Until then, casting directors will keep asking the questions.
Both casting directors highlight the need to engage with marginalised communities who face more barriers to enter the industry. “I think the industry Images: Top Boy © Chris Harris/Netflix, e Personal History of David Copperfield © Lionsgate UK, Listen © Pinball London.
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GREECE a second look
greece’s mix of ancient history, blue skies and idyllic coastline has brought in large productions over the years. With the help of a 35% cash rebate and proactive professionals, the country is now attracting a wide range of high-end projects.
ost people have a stereotyped idea of the Greek Cycladic islands like Santorini and Mykonos or bigger islands like Crete and Rhodes” says Venia Vergou, director of the Hellenic Film Commission. “Of course, these places oﬀer heaven-like locations to productions. However, one can ﬁnd a variety of locations across the entire country which can accommodate versatile types of productions; from medieval old towns to ﬁlm friendly volcanoes, from palm tree forests to neoclassical tones in big cities.”
“One needs to invest in location scouting to explore forests, lakes, rivers, gorges and snow-capped mountains which can be the backdrop in all sorts of productions,” adds Vergou. The array of recent productions that have ﬁlmed in Greece in the last eighteen months are a testament to this versatility, showing that the country can host anything, even “the ArrAy thriller and war epics.
oF recent productions thAt hAve Filmed in greece in the lAst eighteen months Are A testAment to its versAtility.”
One of the biggest productions to ﬁlm in Greece in 2019 was conspiracy thriller Born to be Murdered, directed by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino and produced by Marco Morabito and Luca Guadagnino. The feature ﬁlm starring John David Washington and Alicia Vikander shot in central locations in Athens where a demanding riot scene and an election speech to a large crowd were ﬁlmed at Syntagma Square (pictured above), in front of the Greek Parliament. Part of the ﬁlming also took place at the photogenic spiritual site of Meteora and Zagorochoria, a cluster of picturesque traditional villages in Epirus.
Stephanos Crater, Nisyros
The small island of Nisyros in the Dodecanese is home to one of Greece’s active volcanoes. Although the entire island is the tip of an active volcano, the island is alive with vegetation. The Stephanos crater is a ‘ﬁlm friendly’ volcano, where sulphurous smoke creates a special atmosphere. Recently, the Spanish-Greek co-production Window to the Sea starring Emma Suárez and Akylas Karazisis and directed by Miguel Angél Jiménez, was mainly ﬁlmed on the island of Nisyros. Many breathtaking scenes were actually shot in the crater of the volcano (pictured above) that captures the unique energy of the island. According to the Greek mythology, the small island was created during a battle between Poseidon and the giant Polyvotis. Any quakes on Nisyros are caused by the cry of Polyvotis trying to break free of the rock which has trapped him ever since. Greece does have other active volcanoes, on the islands of Methana, Santorini, Milos and Is.
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david hErmaN svP Executive Producer mcCann New york
Q: Can you give a brief description
of the spot? A: We created a ﬁlm for Mastercard in conjunction with Mercy Corps that featured the beneﬁts to refugees of receiving a debit card that is re-loaded every week with money as opposed to receiving cash directly from aid agencies. We not only shot a ﬁlm, which was challenging and wonderful and exhausting, but we came back and did a livestream of a concert from a refugee camp on Lesbos directly to a University here in the United States, which we pulled oﬀ ﬂawlessly. Q: How did you source the real life cast
for the spot? A: We worked with Mercy Corps directly to ﬁnd
refugees that would be willing to talk with us and be ﬁlmed and STEFI & Lynx Productions helped us ﬁnd everyone else – including a very authentic Greek shopkeeper. Steﬁ also helped us source refugees as potential cast and their resourcefulness was unrelenting and provided us with options where it seemed we might have none. For the livestream Steﬁ was absolutely critical to the process of sourcing refugee-musicians and establishing contact and a rapport with the refugee camp such that we were able to allow them to agree for us to do a livestream at the refugee camp. They created opportunities for us where it seemed impossible. Q: Have you shot in Greece before? A: This was the ﬁrst time I’ve shot in Greece. Every country has their particular way of doing things and it’s important as a visiting producer to follow the lead of the local production company. STEFI & Lynx Productions was beyond accommodating and went above and beyond ‘normal’ production and really made some wonderful things possible.
Michael Winterbottom has returned to work in the country twice in the last eighteen months, ﬁrst based on the island of Mykonos for his most recent feature Greed, which stared Steve Coogan as a self-centred billionaire celebrating his 60th birthday in luxurious settings. The neighbouring island of Delos, one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece, also featured. Winterbottom and Coogan both returned to ﬁlm BBC series The Trip (pictured next page) to Greece in 2019. The amusing travelogue takes Homer’s Odyssey as its inspiration. The comedic duo of Coogan and Rob Brydon trace the mythological hero’s journey home through Greece to the island of Ithaca. A marathon of archaeological sites star in the series, ranging from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi to the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, the island of Hydra, the Caves of Diros, and the Niokastro Fortress in Pylos. The country’s breadth of hotels and restaurants are also shown oﬀ. TV and features coming to Greece are supported by the country’s 35% cash rebate. The scheme has an annual total of EUR75 million available until 2022. As well as TV series, feature ﬁlms and documentaries, the funding also applies to animated ﬁlms and digital games and post-production. During lockdown, EKOME, Greece's National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication, continued to operate in full ensuring the payments for projects through the 35% Cash Rebate programme. Keen to capture post-coronavirus work, a number of measures have been introduced including the release of safety guidelines for ﬁlming in Greece. Authorities will boost the healthcare capacity of several tourist destinations by providing tests and doctors, as well as an operational plan for the handling of possible infections. A reduction in value-added tax in transportation from 23% to 13%, will make boat, plane, and bus tickets cheaper. These measures will also aﬀect cast and crew of ﬁlm productions wishing to enter the country. “Greece oﬀers attractive ﬁnancial incentives, highly skilled crews and outstanding ﬁlming locations throughout its territory. But most importantly, Greece is a safe country and the opportunity for foreign productions to travel and shoot here is now bigger than ever”, says Panos Kouanis, President and CEO of EKOME. A provisional increase to 40% may also be on the way if voted through the Greek Parliament. Currently, the country can accommodate two to three larger-scale productions at one time, and the industry is equipped with English-speaking crew members. The majority of production service companies and professionals are based in Athens, the capital of Greece. However, ﬁlm professionals are also based in Thessaloniki, the capital of the north which hosts country’s International Film
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EssENtial FaCts iNCENtivEs
35% Feature ﬁlms & documentaries have a minimum spend requirement of EUR100,000. For digital games it’s EUR60,000 and for TV series it’s EUR30,000 per episode and EUR100,000 on all eligible expenses. Applications must be submitted no later than two months before the beginning of production or post-production in Greece and projects must pass a cultural test. Co-ProduCtioN trEatiEs
France, Canada & EU Convention on Cinematic Co-production. ata CarNEt
A handful of studios can be found in Athens with soundstages ranging up to 12,000 sqm. rECENt ProduCtioNs
Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip to Greece & Greed. The Durrells, The Little Drummer Girl & Born to be Murdered starring John David Washington & Alicia Vikander. Window to the Sea starring Emma Suárez, and A Beautiful Time Ago starring Amin Rudaina Khalil. timE ZoNE
GMT +3 iNtErNatioNal talENt
Directors Yorgos Lanthimos & Athina Rachel Tsangari. Editor Yorgos Mavropsaridis. Cinematographers Giorgos Arvanitis & Phedon Papamichael. Actress Daphne Patakia. travEl
15 international airports & 27 domestic airports. Over 40 seaports and hundreds of marinas across the country Images: The Trip © Sky UK Limited, Window At e Sea © Giorgos Karnavas.
Festival, as well as in Crete, the biggest of the islands, and in Corfu meaning that productions can source expertise whether they decide to shoot on the mainland or islands. Thessaloniki will also be home to a new studio venture between Nu Boyana Film Studios and New York’s York Studios. York Studios CEO John Kalafatis announced the plans in November 2019, explaining that the new studio will “start with eight soundstages and anticipate to build at least 13", and will increase international cooperation between Greece and other ﬁlming hubs. The total value of the investment when completed is estimated to reach EUR20 million. With such investment underway, attention will be given to the skill base within the country. Venia Vergou, director of the Hellenic Film Commission notes: “We are very keen on setting up training and professional development courses with acclaimed professionals with extensive experience abroad, combined with open day discussions with these professionals. Greek crews are well-known for being experienced and resourceful. Oﬀering them networking opportunities and developing their skillset will be our goal within the following three years”. Aside from on-location production, Greece has a growing post-production industry, mostly based in the capital of Athens who work with European productions. One of the largest is IXOR Digital, which provides CGI and post, and also has oﬃces in London and Los Angeles. Credits include Levan Akin’s The Circle.
In January 2020, the Greek government granted Oscar winning actor Tom Hanks (pictured with Rita Wilson above) an honorary citizenship, citing exceptional services to Greece during the wildﬁres in the resort town of Mati. The ﬁres left over one hundred people dead. “The Hanks family gave a signal all over the world for immediate relief actions to help our ﬁre-stricken fellow citizens,” said the order originally signed by the Greek president. The oﬀer was extended to the Hanks family who have a home on the island of Antiparos. Commenting on the honour at the Golden Globes, Hanks stated “I’ve been Hellenic now for the better part of 32 years. Greece is a haven … the land, the sky, the water, it’s good for the soul. It’s a healing place, particularly if you get into that fabulous, fabulous Greek schedule of sleeping until noon, staying up until three o’clock in the morning and arguing in a taverna until 3am. It’s just the best life one can have.”
Making of White Lines
THE CREATORS OF MONEY HEIST AND THE CROWN TEAM UP FOR IBIZA SET THRILLER
BACK TO CONTENTS et in Ibiza, White Lines boasts a stellar Anglo-Spanish production team behind two of Netﬂix’s biggest hits: it’s written by Money Heist creator Alex Pina, who serves as showrunner, and is produced through The Crown producer Left Bank as well as Pina’s Vancouver Media.
Tabernas Desert near Almeria in Southern Spain, and in Manchester and Bolton in the UK. It also has Anglo-Spanish cast including Laura Haddock, Marta Milans and Juan Diego Botto, while directors Nick Hamm, Luis Prieto, Ashley Way and Alvaro Brechner represent both nations too.
Debuting on Netﬂix in May, the 10-episode series shot last summer in the Balearic Islands of Mallorca and Ibiza as well as in Madrid, the arid
Netﬂix reportedly bought the series on the spot when Pina and Left Bank’s Andy Harries ﬂew to Los Angeles in 2018 to pitch the series. It tells
the story of a legendary Manchester DJ who is murdered in Ibiza in the 1990s, and his sister’s investigation into his death 20 years later. The shoot ended last October, meaning White Lines largely escaped disruption from the coronavirus pandemic. Netﬂix will be hoping that viewers, for now unable to travel, will be lapping up its Balearic locations and intrigue.
Images: White Lines © Des Willie, Chris Harris & Netflix.
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Image: Obsession for OK GO © Double A Public & AOI Pro.
Separated by the largest ocean on the planet, New Zealand, Hawaii and Japan have each developed into creative industry heavy hitters. All three Paciﬁc islands are now principal players in varied sectors from advertising and visual eﬀects to on-location television production.
HAWAII In 1968, at a time when most series were shot in LA studios and backlots, CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 was the ﬁrst series to ﬁlm entirely on location. Since then, the Paciﬁc state has proven to be the backdrop for more landmark TV series.
Soon after Hawaii Five-0 wrapped in 1980, the islands became home to another one of TV’s longest running hits, Magnum P.I, which took advantage of the soundstage and crew that had been built up. Honolulu ﬁlm commissioner Walea Constantinau notes “TV is quite the factory that helps you to build the crew. You also gain a pretty good reputation, because if you can service TV on a weekly basis that means that you can consistently deliver what can be a very demanding thing, so productions come in with a very strong comfort level. With knowing that production can work, the question “the most then becomes do you have epic locations that can make the important thing diﬀerence to a feature ﬁlm.”
for incoming producers is to understand the Japanese culture, especially the way Japanese people work.”
While feature ﬁlms, such as Marvel’s Inhumans and Jurassic Park have used these epic landscapes to great eﬀect, in the early 2000’s Hawaii was involved in another landmark TV series when it provided the locations for ABC’s desert island disaster series Lost. “Lost was so amazing for us,” says Walea. “The series was so ambitious it burgeoned the new milestone of TV which was ‘Epic.’”
Hawaii’s natural landscapes of jungles that edge onto beaches, mountains, valleys and waterfalls, plus a 20 to 25% incentive and experienced infrastructure have made these Paciﬁc isles a favourite with feature ﬁlm, TV and commercial projects alike. In 2010, CBS returned for a reboot of Hawaii Five-0 running for 10 years until April 2020 under the watch of showrunner Peter Lankov. Once again proving a hit with global audiences, the period was almost a renaissance for Hawaii’s ﬁlming industry. Constantinau comments: “It was great to be part of these milestones, seeing that kind of growth of the industry. I’m not sure what’s next, I hope we are a part of it, it has been very cool so far.”
JAPAN With the third biggest economy in the world, Japan is a highly eﬃcient, tech driven country. It is one of the biggest spenders on R&D in the world, characterised by the recent launch of Society 5.0, a government eﬀort to incorporate recent innovations such as the internet of things, robotics, AI and Big Data to improve society. With a large pool of dynamic brands and products to work with, the Japanese advertising market is particularly industrious. The Japanese advertising industry is the third largest market in the world whose work is consistently internationally recognised at festivals such as Cannes Lions and AdFest. The Japanese industry also has a unique makeup where behemoth agencies are the norm. In 2018 the top 10 advertising agencies accounted for almost half
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Image: Shopliers © FUJI TV Network & AOI Pro.
of total revenue of all advertising agencies in the country. Dentsu is the largest, taking a 28.8% share of the Japanese advertising market in 2018, based on spend. With AVATAR 2 and 3 James Cameron is onCe again looking to push limits. With muCh of the sequels set underWater, Weta had to get to grips With underWater performanCe Capture.
Historically speaking, advertising agencies in Japan can manage competing accounts because care is taken to minimise client conﬂict. Major agencies also extend their activities far beyond brand advertising, producing entertainment content such as animation and ﬁlm, and the marketing and broadcasting rights of popular sporting events, such as Dentsu for Tokyo Olympics, now postponed to 2021. These factors make agencies a key player in the Japanese creative landscape. However, business culture in Japan is often considered to be the biggest obstacle for foreign businesses seeking to establish themselves in the Japanese market. With experience in navigating the cultural complexities involved in production, Riki Sakai, head of global production and producer at AOI Pro notes “the most important thing for incoming producers to be aware of is to understand the Japanese culture, especially the way Japanese people work.” The full-service production company works with international and domestic clients on commercials and digital content, as well as successfully expanding into feature ﬁlm having co-ﬁnanced and co-produced Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 2018 Cannes Palme d’Or winning Shoplifters. “In Japanese society, it's very important to always have respect for others and think of how other people would perceive on the things you do. For example, even if you get a shooting permit on streets in Tokyo, the police always have the right to stop us shooting as soon as people on the streets feel disturbed. Another unique thing in Japan is that things are not always answered in "yes" or "no", but rather hits somewhere in the middle, which often confuses incoming producers and crew.” Sakai adds: "It's often hard for incoming crew to understand this unique Japanese culture if it's your ﬁrst time in Japan.”
Image: Avatar © Twentieth Century Fox.
NEW ZEALAND 6,500 miles from LA, New Zealand’s capital Wellington is an unlikely leading VFX hub. Since launching in 1993, Weta Digital has played a crucial role in bringing some of cinema’s most boundary-pushing and box oﬃce rated VFX heavy hits to the screen. New Zealand has spawned a sizeable VFX and post-production industry working on everything from feature blockbusters to commercial projects.
Founded by Peter “LOST was so Jackson, Weta Digital amazing for us,” has created characters says honolulu such as Gollum, Kong film commissioner and Caesar from walea constantinau. The Planet of the Apes and the environments “the series was so of Middle-Earth and ambitious it Pandora, for Avatar. In burgeoned the new 2009, the studio pushed milestone of tV VFX forwards for the which was ‘epic.’” feature, with innovations such as mapping facial movements onto virtual characters, tissue movement and virtual production that let directors see actors on a motion capture stage in the digital environment. With Avatar 2 and 3 director James Cameron is once again looking to push limits. With much of the sequels set underwater, the team had to get to grips with underwater performance capture. While Weta Digital is one of the larger VFX studios in New Zealand, there are others such as PRPVFX and Park Road post production that produce high end work that is seen by international audiences. The New Zealand Screen incentive is central to supporting the industry, with incoming work spending over NZ500,000 supported by the 20% Post, Digital and Visual Eﬀects Grant. The baseline grant provides up to NZ25 million, with anything over this receiving a grant at 18% of QNZPE. Certain projects are also selected for the 5% uplift, with VFX heavy projects including Mortal Engines, Pete’s Dragon, Ghost in the Shell and The Meg all being past recipients of the uplift.
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ICELAND hero locations
iceland has supplied many hero locations for big budget blockbusters thanks to production friendly authorities, skilled service companies and a well-oiled rebate. Access to iceland’s iconic spots has never been easier as tourism takes a hit in the wake of coronavirus.
celand has supplied hero locations to Hollywood for decades, serving the backdrop for epic fantasy ﬁghts in Game of Thrones and Star Wars: the Last Jedi to action heroics in James Bond’s Die Another Day and Fast and the Furious or surreal dramas like Black Mirror: Crocodile.
The country has become a go to spot for big features looking for impactful locations. One of the most recent productions to take place in Iceland was Good Morning Midnight, a post-apocalyptic tale directed and starring George Clooney as Augustine, a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe. Truenorth serviced the production which took place on one of Iceland’s glaciers, with between two and 300 people involved in the two week “production on shoot. Leifur Dagﬁnnsson, executive the busy island producer at Truenorth, says the was halted due service provider has recently to coronaVirus worked back to back on projects that also include feature ﬁlm Eurovision but the country Song Contest: The Story of Fire was one of the Saga, starring Will Ferrell , Apple first to start TV series Foundation and The filming again.” Tommorrow War starring Chris Pratt. “It was all within ﬁve weeks of each other from October into November. Weather-wise it was kind of on the borderline, because from late November into December we start to get the winter weather, but in some sense the elements that were needed were icy, snowy landscapes.”
Kraﬂa Lava Fields
The Kraﬂa Caldera is a 10km long active volcanic zone (pictured above) in North East Iceland. The area has a volcanic crater whose name, Víti Maar, translates to Crater of Hell. There is also volcanic terrain with sulphur pits, black and red lava ﬁelds. Due to the amount of tourists visiting the site a 30 minute trail has been set up which leads around the Viti Crater lake and to a hot spring. Kraﬂa Volcano which looms over the area has erupted nearly 30 times, with the latest series between 1975 and 1984. Iceland only emerged around 16-18 million years ago, and has been used as a location for prehistoric earth in ﬁlm and TV such as Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. The lava ﬁelds feature in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life which follows the story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956 but also contemplates the secret life of the cosmos. Scenes depicting prehistoric earth were shot at the Kraﬂa Lava Fields.
Production on the busy island was halted due to coronavirus but the country was one of the ﬁrst regions to start ﬁlming again. Heightened interest in 53
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the country from international clients came after Ted Sarandos, Netﬂix’s chief content oﬃcer, said the company was ﬁlming in Iceland and South Korea, where the lessons learnt would aﬀect how Netﬂix would roll out production in other markets around the globe.
ESSENtiAl FActS iNcENtivES
There is a 25% reimbursement on locally incurred expenditures in Iceland. The scheme only applies to feature ﬁlms & TV shows. Applications must be sent to the Icelandic Film Centre prior to the start of production. co-ProductioN trEAtiES
Canada & the EU Convention on Cinematic Co-Production. iNtErNAtioNAl tAlENt
Joker composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, Everest, Adrift & Katla director & producer Baltasar Kormakur Samper. AtA cArNEt
BESt tiME oF tHE YEAr
Winter landscapes last until April & have longer daylight hours than December & January. May to October is Icelandic summer which is mild and green. trAvEl
Keﬂavik International Airport is the main entry to the country with direct ﬂights from New York. tiME ZoNE
RVK Studios. Main image: Eurovision Song Contest: e Story of Fire Saga © Elizabeth Viggiano & Netflix.
After rigorous test, tracing and isolating was implemented and the crisis was brought under control, the country lifted restrictions on the numbers of gatherings to 50. Proposals were made to help the production sector which relies on incoming crews and access to on location shooting. In particular, testing for incoming crews was fast-tracked meaning that the two-week quarantine was shortened to as little as 24 hours. Steve Lewis, executive producer at The Empire says there has been an inﬂux of interest. “We are working creatively with producers and directors to develop concepts, some that were initially to be shot in tropical locations. Our services are almost always focused on taking our clients into pure nature, and I think that it is appealing to producers at the moment to be able to shoot outside of civilisation and away from the hotspot of Reykjavik”. Iceland’s isolation is a particular strength during this time. “Iceland is more isolated so more diﬃcult to access. Iceland has also a much lower population count than the rest of the Nordic countries. With travel restrictions on tourism that gives an unique opportunity to shoot in the incredible Icelandic landscapes with absolutely no human interference, just completely alone in nature" says Kiljan Paoli, production manager at Comrade Films. Without the usual numbers of tourists on the island the cost and availability of infrastructure is positive for productions too. Bui Baldvinsson, executive producer at Hero Productions points to the deals on hotels and transportation hire for ﬁlming. “We are getting great deals on hotels and transportation hires for the ﬁlming to come, as prices have gone down and will stay that way until the tourism starts booming again”. Dagﬁnnsson adds that the exchange rate has dropped 15-20% against the euro. Iceland’s production incentive already provides incoming productions with a 25% reimbursement scheme for the costs incurred in the production of ﬁlms and TV programmes. In place since 2001, the scheme is smooth and straightforward for productions.
in particular, testing for incoming crews was fast-tracked meaning that the two-week quarantine was shortened to as little as 24 hours.
Not only do Iceland’s volcanic roots provide its ﬁlm locations, they have also allowed the country to completely transition to renewable energy sources. Now, Iceland produces all of its electricity from environmentally friendly renewables, mostly drawing on hydropower and geothermal energy. According to the UN Chronicle, nine out of every 10 houses are heated directly with geothermal energy. However, this transition only started in the 1970’s when the country turned away from the ﬂuctuating oil prices that were aﬀecting world energy markets. Despite its natural resources, Iceland faced the same challenges as many countries are facing today when trying to transition to sustainable energy and Iceland’s experience can provide a good example to other countries looking to transition to renewable sources of any sort. This includes cohesion and collaboration between municipalities, government and the public, strong public engagement, government incentives and support as well as a favourable legal and regulatory framework, long-term planning and showcasing every success.
Ad Funded Streamers THE 2010S WERE THE DECADE OF SVOD STREAMERS. WILL AVOD BE THE BIG STORY OF THE 2020S?
They’re the minnows of the streaming sector. But all of a sudden, the industry and investors are focusing on video platforms which are free to view and funded by commercials. makers reports on the rise of the AVODs.
treaming has been the big focus of the ﬁlm and TV industry for the past ﬁve years, with ﬁrms like Netﬂix and Amazon Prime Video dominating the conversation. Such is their success that their paid-for, subscription video on demand (SVOD) model has been adopted by most of the big platforms that are new to market or are set to launch this year. Disney+, for example, is charging USD6.99 a month and Apple+ costs USD4.99, while HBO Max is priced at USD15 a month. Short-form service Quibi starts at USD4.99 a month with ads. All of a sudden, however, there’s an increasing focus on a diﬀerent kind of streaming business – video platforms which are free to view and funded by commercials. Slowly but surely advertiser video on demand (AVOD) streamers like Roku TV, Walmart’s Vudu,
Pluto, Crackle, Tubi, Xumo and Amazon’s IMDb TV are starting to build scale and to roll out internationally. Earlier this year, for example, San Francisco-based Tubi – which is currently available in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – announced it will launch in Mexico, on top of a planned debut in the UK this year. Meanwhile, Viacom’s Pluto TV announced it is expanding its UK oﬀering with new channels dedicated to British ﬁlm and TV miniseries. The platforms have caught the eye of investors too. In February, Comcast acquired AVOD Xumo for more than USD100 million. Then in March, Fox acquired Tubi for USD440 million. This follows Viacom’s acquisition of Pluto TV for USD340 million in 2019.
BACK TO CONTENTS These deals, of course, were before the coronavirus crisis, which has led to a major slump in advertising – casting a serious pall over the AVOD sector as brands cut back on spend. But, longer term, many are optimistic. While the 2010s were undoubtedly the decade of SVOD, some believe that the 2020s will be the decade of AVOD services.
the Coronavirus Crisis, WhiCh has led to a maJor slump in advertising, has Cast a short-term but serious pall over the avod seCtor as brands Cut baCk on spend.
Research published by Ampere Analysis said that usage of the key US AVOD services is still relatively low. It found that monthly users of services like Crackle, Roku TV, Tubi, Vudu and Pluto represented only between three and six percent of US online households. “But the low usage, especially when compared to SVOD peers, belies the quiet before the storm. Where SVOD once trod, AVOD will now head, with implications for content licencing and the global advertising market.” Ampere Analysis research director Ed Border says that the AVOD market is likely to grow as online viewing’s share of total TV viewing increases. Indeed, this seems only natural. SVODs have thrived by luring subscribers away from traditional pay-TV businesses with premium content and a relatively cheap and very convenient service. AVOD platforms similarly look set to disrupt free-to-air commercial broadcasters, by oﬀering a huge range of content online for free in one convenient place. Tubi, for example, has 20,000 titles available in the US, ranging from reality shows through to indie ﬁlms. Most of the content on AVOD players is old. Ampere found that new AVOD players average nearly 80% of catalogue over ﬁve years old, providing a new and lucrative market for distributors for licencing deep archive. In fact, some believe that AVOD companies such as Tubi, Roku and Pluto TV pose an existential threat to the future of traditional broadcasters. Many TV and ﬁlm distributors, for example, say that AVOD has already become an important customer-base – and believe that AVOD will grow at the expense of linear broadcasters. Others, however, note that the sector remains ripe for consolidation, with too many services chasing advertising dollars. Ampere’s Ed Border points out that it’s important to distinguish between the many diﬀerent types of AVOD services. Take YouTube, which is a good example of an AVOD service but has built its business largely via short form, user generated content.
Images: Tubi, e Crown © Des Willie/Netflix, House of Cards © David Giesbrecht/Netflix.
Commercial broadcasters also oﬀer their own AVOD services, most of which are catch up oﬀers such as ITV Hub and All4 in the UK. Both of these also oﬀer paid for services without the ads, ITV Hub+ and All4+. In the US, NBC Universal is following a similar model with its Peacock streaming service. Peacock has three tiers: one with ads that's free but has limited content, one that's USD5 a month with ads, and one that's USD10 a month without ads. Pluto TV, meanwhile, streams a selection of live channels such as Get.Factual or TV Westerns, oﬀering a wide variety of library content that is scheduled “where sVod like a linear broadcaster. once trod, aVod Others like Tubi, Crackle, Vudu and Roku are purer VOD services, oﬀering a wide selection of free content on their platforms.
will now head, with implications for content licencing and the global adVertising market.”
Tubi chief content oﬃcer Adam Lewinson bills the service, which launched in the US and Canada in 2014, in a straightforward fashion: “Essentially, it’s free Netﬂix.” However, Lewinson says Tubi is a very diﬀerent kind of oﬀer. SVOD services, he argues, fund premium content such as The Crown or House of Cards. “We refer to that as the 1% of content. It’s amazing, and is truly some of the best that TV has to oﬀer. But it is just a fraction of what viewers want to watch.” TV viewership, argues Lewinson, has become “highly fractionalised.” Beyond premium series, or communal events like the Superbowl or Premier League matches, everybody is watching diﬀerent kinds of programmes. “That is where AVOD ﬁts in. We have amassed a very deep library. We’re not focused on this 1% of content that SVOD is focused on. We’re focused on everything else.”
BACK TO CONTENTS Tubi, he adds, has no plans to invest its USD100 million plus content budget in original programming. “Our content library is so signiﬁcant and our viewers are more than satisﬁed with our content oﬀering – it’s a very risky road to have originals.” In the US, he says Tubi tends to appeal to a young demographic, with a median age in the low 30s. “It’s among the youngest of the streamers in the States. And they are very cost conscious.”
Images: Deutschland 86 & Greyzone.
the sCariness about avod is that it is ad supported, so you live or die by the number of streams you get.
Lewinson says that US households may have one or two SVOD subscriptions, but then are using Tubi to complement this. And what are they watching? Reality TV is “an incredibly strong category”, says Lewinson, as are indie movies through to mainstream Hollywood action and comedy ﬁlms. Niche areas such as black cinema, anime, LGBTQ and Latinx are also fast growing genres. In the US, he says that every single one of Tubi’s 20,000 titles get viewed once a month. Tubi’s upcoming Mexico launch is its ﬁrst move into a non-English language territory. “The demographics are absolutely perfect for AVOD,” says Lewinson, reiterating that ad funded streamers appeal to a young, cost conscious audience. Advertisers are also embracing services like Tubi, says Lewinson. “Linear is in secular decline. We’re seeing a trend for media buyers moving their money from linear and digital, and in particular moving it in to AVOD.” Mainstream brands – from car manufacturers, fast food restaurants, insurance companies through to drinks ﬁrms – advertise on Tubi. “The ad experience doesn’t look and feel that diﬀerent than watching linear TV – with the exception that we have less than half the ad load of regular TV. It’s much better for the viewer and for the advertiser, because there is less clutter.” He pushes back on the suggestion that younger audiences who are used to an ad free experience on SVOD platforms are put oﬀ by commercials on AVOD. Being careful not to run too many ads is key, he says, as is not repeating the same commercial over and over – which has historically been a big complaint of AVOD viewers. “There’s an understanding that this is a fair transaction for their time. It’s free content in exchange for ads.” Ampere argues that the rush to AVOD means that “more ad spend will shift to online video, and as AVOD platforms are already spreading globally, that will have implications across multiple markets.” Ampere adds that the trend will be “supercharged” by some of the studio direct models, including
AD FUNDED PLUTO TV 58
Disney’s Hulu and NBCUniversal’s Peacock, adopting a hybrid SVOD/AVOD model. Walter Iuzzolino, co-founder of international drama streaming service Walter Presents, which is available in markets such as the UK, US, Australia, Italy and Belgium, says launching as an AVOD has been key to its success, helping to shape the service from outset. “It meant we had to be mainstream, and not niche,” says Iuzzolino. “The scariness about AVOD is that it is ad supported, so you live or die by the number of streams you get. If you don’t get any, you can’t acquire any programming. “But it was a winning strategy – ultimately anyone could get Walter Presents free of charge. When we launched with Deutschland 83 we truly were in the households of millions of British people. That tipped the balance. Had we taken another path, it might have been much harder to reach the level of penetration in people’s consciousness that we have achieved.” One challenging issue facing AVODs, however, is how to get viewers to watch their shows in the ﬁrst place. With so many OTT services, how can AVODs achieve the prominence to get people to the platform? One way could be by searching for speciﬁc content through an aggregation service, such as Apple TV, which can take viewers to the relevant AVOD players. Ampere’s Ed Border notes that AVOD players are increasingly partnering with hardware ﬁrms to boost consumer awareness. Tubi, for example, announced a deal earlier this year with Hisense, the third-largest TV manufacturer in the world, to oﬀer its library of over 20,000 movies and TV shows on Hisense’s new Vidaa platform – which will see Tubi preloaded and prominently placed on its home screen. Tubi’s Rawlinson say there will promotions at retail stores too. Often they are not just partnering with manufacturers, but with local partners too to drive awareness. For its Mexico launch, Tubi has partnered with local broadcaster TV Azteca which will oﬀer advertising sales for Tubi in Mexico and promote the service to its audience via online and other platforms. The streaming world will be watching closely to see how Tubi and other AVOD platforms fare as they look to expand in coming months. If anything, by the end of the year we’ll have a much clearer idea about whether the 2020s really will be AVODs decade.
Coronavirus lockdowns have completely disrupted the 2020 festival and markets calendar, with many like Cannes’s Marche du Film launching online editions. Does this mean virtual festivals and markets are the future?
ike so many plans in 2020, this one was derailed by coronavirus. The current issue of makers was meant to be published just ahead of the Cannes Lions and Cannes Film festivals so it could be, as usual, widely available at the world’s leading advertising and ﬁlm events. Both festivals, of course, have been cancelled in the wake of Covid-19 lockdowns and social distancing regulations, as have so many other festivals and markets around the world. The list of cancelled events in 2020 is a long one, including MipTV, the LA Screenings, Annecy Animation Festival, BFI Flare, ComicCon, CPH:Dox, Edinburgh TV Festival, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, the Melbourne Film Festival, Series Mania and SXSW.
Some major events are still hoping to take place. As makers went to press, the Venice Film Festival looked set to go ahead as scheduled from September 2-12. If so, it would be the ﬁrst major ﬁlm industry gathering not recently postponed or cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic – although it would likely happen in a severely slimmed down form. October’s Mipcom TV market is also still, at the time of writing, booked in the calendar, even though many TV buyers and sellers have privately questioned the feasibility of thousands of people gathering in Cannes’s cavernous Palais. Many festivals have pivoted from physical events to online, including Annecy, BFI Flare, MipTV, Series Mania, Sheﬃeld Doc/Fest, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival and Krakow Film Festival. Several planning scenarios are being mooted for the
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BFI London Film Festival, set to take place October 7-18. Among the options being considered are a hybrid model and an online-only venture.
counterparts. After all, the networking is as important as the ﬁlms for most participants at festivals the world over.
Perhaps the most ambitious online undertaking is that planned by the Cannes Film Festival, which is set to run a digital version of the Marché du Film between 22-26 June 2020.
Another worry is that – with cinemas closed and likely to run at a reduced capacity while social distancing measures are in place – potential buyers are going to be thin on the ground for new theatrical projects, or at least cautious about investing large sums of money. Demands for discounts and extended payment terms are likely to be the order of the day.
The Marché du Film Online is intended to recreate the market experience in Cannes, with live and real-time meetings. The platform will be based on Cinando’s technology with strict security measures. Cannes comprehensive and well received oﬀering includes online screenings in 15 virtual cinemas with reruns to suit multiple time zones, as well as virtual pavilions and industry conferences. Conﬁrmed keynotes so far include HBO Max and Quibi. Participants will also be able to connect via the market app Meet&Match. “I found the project well thought out and more sophisticated than I imagined,” one Cannes regular who had seen a presentation about the Marché du Film Online told makers. The Marché du Film Online will run alongside a U.S. agencies-led virtual market, announced in the middle of March by CAA Media Finance, Endeavor Content, UTA Independent Film Group and ICM Partners to ensure that business was done in the absence of a physical market. Naturally, it has led some to think that two separate Cannes markets are running. That’s not how Cannes Marché chief Jerome Paillard sees it. “I don’t view it as a parallel market,” Paillard told Deadline recently. “They are organising private presentations.” THE LACK OF A LATE NIGHT BAR OR A RESTAURANT TO SWAP SMALL TALK, EXCHANGE MARKET INTELLIGENCE OR TO WEIGH UP POTENTIAL BUSINESS PARTNERS MEANS THAT ONLINE EVENTS ARE UNLIKELY TO BE AS FRUITFUL AFFAIRS AS THEIR PHYSICAL COUNTERPARTS.
Paillard added that he expects to have between 200-300 sales companies taking part in the Marché du Film Online, with 5,000-10,000 participants in total – compared to the 12,000-13,000 that usually attend the market in person each year. One of the main challenges facing the Marché and all other online events is that a large part of the buzz evaporates if face-to-face meetings aren’t possible and participants can’t gauge the mood of other attendees at festival screenings. As important, the lack of a late night bar or a restaurant to swap small talk, exchange market intelligence or to weigh up potential business partners means that online events are unlikely to be as fruitful aﬀairs as their physical
For this reason, a number of independent and arthouse ﬁlm projects are likely to delay launching until it’s possible to attend festivals and markets once again. The consensus among Cannes regulars is that nothing can beat actually meeting in the South of France, but that the online market does have the potential to be a success given the circumstances. Looking ahead, Cannes is now likely to include a digital component to its regular oﬀer. Indeed, Paillard has conﬁrmed that next year there will be a hybrid market, with an online element available for those who aren’t able to attend in person.
“A NUMBER OF INDEPENDENT AND ARTHOUSE FILM PROJECTS ARE LIKELY TO DELAY LAUNCHING UNTIL IT’S POSSIBLE TO ATTEND FESTIVALS AND MARKETS ONCE AGAIN.”
This hybrid model is likely to be one that many other festivals follow. There are, of course, advantages for participants. Events like Cannes can be hugely expensive for individuals and companies to attend. By contrast, the Marché is charging just Euros95 for accreditation. Environmental concerns also mean that companies are becoming increasingly conscious about ﬂying staﬀ around the world for business – and a digital oﬀer will allow festivals to present a greener front to the industry. That said, the rose wine is still likely be ﬂowing along the Croisette next year – but just not in the same kind of quantity as years gone by.
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Production in Paradise TROPICAL ISLANDS ARE GREAT FOR A RELAXING GETAWAY BUT WHAT DOES CAPTURING A SLICE OF PARADISE ON FILM ENTAIL?
Technology and the increasing ease of travel have made the world smaller, and shooting in paradise more possible than ever. But what should producers be aware of before embarking on a shoot in the tropics? This guide takes a look at weather patterns, infrastructure, crew welfare and what filming rebates can be found where.
he region of the Earth that surrounds the equator, known as the tropics, includes mainland countries in Africa, South America and Asia as well as numerous islands. These often remote, small and idyllic settings attract production for scripts as varied as fantasy thrillers, such as Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island which shot in Fiji, glamourous island getaways in Crazy Rich Asians which ﬁlmed in Langkawi island in Malaysia, to action adventures like Pirates of the Caribbean, which ﬁlmed in various Caribbean islands. These seductive settings are varied in population, culture
and ecosystems because they stretch right across the centre of the world, encompassing the Caribbean to French Polynesia, Indonesia and Paciﬁc Islands like Hawaii. Many of the easiest to reach have capitalised on the tourist trade but some have also turned their attention to the ﬁlm industry by gradually building up production infrastructure and launching ﬁlming incentives. The experience of ﬁlming on a tropical island can vary greatly depending on these factors, but capturing a slice of paradise on ﬁlm is rarely going
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HEAVY RAIN OR MONSOONS AND THE RISK OF STORMS AND UNPREDICTABLE HURRICANES INTENSIFY DURING THE WET SEASON, SO IT IS GENERALLY ADVISED TO FILM DURING THE MORE RELIABLE DRY MONTHS
to be as simple as ﬁlming in your own backyard. So what are the key things to consider before embarking? makers provides some top tips with help from Tim Key, executive producer of Death in Paradise (main image), and Alex Jones, joint MD of Red Planet Pictures, the production company behind the drama. Red Planet has ﬁlmed over ten series of the BBC drama series about a detective inspector and his team solving murders on a beautiful Caribbean island, shot on the island of Guadeloupe. Although every island has unique characteristics, some of the commonalities between these places are the similar climactic patterns of warm year-round temperatures and generally high rainfall that produces the lush green tropical vegetation associated with these locations. Temperatures tend to range between 20-30 Celsius with only slight variations throughout the year and seasons are deﬁned by the amount of rainfall. Heavy rain or monsoons and the risk of storms and unpredictable hurricanes intensify during the wet season, so it is generally advised to ﬁlm during the more reliable dry months. Daylight hours are also aﬀected by a location’s proximity to the equator where daylight hours stay at a constant twelve hours year round. However, every region is subject to speciﬁc climactic trends inﬂuenced by local conditions, which is why the help of a local service provider or ﬁlm commission is essential to getting the most out of your shoot on a tropical island. Knowing the shooting plan, including what equipment you will need and when is also key to success. When venturing to the most remote spots it is useful to consider the nearest travel and ﬁlming hubs. Shoots in the Caribbean can rely on US hubs, while those in Fiji or French Polynesia may look to Australia and New Zealand to save the day.
ON LOCATION TROPICAL ISLANDS
But a self-reliant, fully prepared production which has shipped all necessary equipment in can expect a smoother ride. Death in Paradise ﬁlms on the island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean and its producers know a thing or two about how to run a larger scale production on a tropical island with a limited ﬁlming infrastructure function. Jones says: “The nature of TV and drama production now is people get so used to turning things around quickly. The reality is you just can’t do that and turn it around on Guadeloupe, and I imagine that’s the same for a lot of islands like that.” Key explains, “although “pinewood other productions have dominican and do shoot there, they republic’s 60,500 tend to be smaller and sq ft horizon shorter. So in terms of water tank with something of the scale blue screen that we do with Death capabilities came in Paradise, we’ve had in useful for to create our own infrastructure, over the ocean-based years we have honed thriller 47 METERS that and made it work as DOWN and XXX: THE much as it possibly can RETURN OF XANDER for us. It is only ever CAGE.” going to be as good as we are going to make it. There are no facilities houses, there are no prop stores, anything you need to get hold of that isn’t immediately available in Guadeloupe – which from a TV point of view, is most things – we have to ship over somehow, or there is a 24 hour lag in getting anything that is essential. That throws up its own challenges. We know very well what we can and can’t immediately ﬁnd and what to take with us at the beginning”.
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maybe there Could be a DEATH IN PARADISE Without guadeloupe, but for it to get to Where it is noW, guadeloupe is absolutely part of the reason that shoW has kept going.
That is not to say that all tropical islands lack a ﬁlming infrastructure. The Dominican Republic is one example of an island whose facilities attract production as much as their locations. The island is home to Pinewood Studios, which has hosted shoots for productions including the BBC’s The Last Song doubling for a Jamaican plantation and Netﬂix’s The I-Land (pictured above). The studio’s 60,500 sqft horizon water tank with blue screen capabilities has come in useful for ocean-based thriller 47 Meters Down (pictured below) and XXX: The Return of Xander Cage. Locations with studio facilities such as the Dominican Republic and Hawaii have a larger crew and equipment base than smaller counterparts. Many tropical islands also oﬀer ﬁlming incentives to incoming producers. Guadeloupe is a French Department meaning that Death in Paradise can access France’s TRIP rebate which amounts to 30% of production costs; the tax rebate is granted to projects that incur EUR1 million or 50% of global budget in French expenditures. There are a number of other French departments too, including La Reunion in the Indian Ocean, French Guiana in the Atlantic, and French Polynesia in the Paciﬁc. Mauritius has a 30-40% rebate on qualiﬁed production expenditure incurred in the country. The US Virgin Islands has a dedicated transferable tax credit depending on the amount of resident hires or up to 29% cash rebate. Elsewhere in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago oﬀer incentives of up to 25-35% respectively. Combined with the generally low cost of services in these locations, budgets can stretch surprisingly far. And what productions gain in return from venturing to tropical climes can be priceless. “Guadeloupe is part of the DNA of the show now in a way. The hero locations, the town we shoot in, all of those places are part of the feel and fabric of the show,” says Key. “We’ve looked at all the diﬀerent models of making this show. You could shoot some of the interiors on a soundstage in the UK. In a lot of ways this would be a lot more practical: it would be a more manageable space, it would be easier sound-wise and the temperature would be a lot more bearable.
Images: Death in Paradise © BBC & Red Planet Pictures, e I-Land © Netflix, 47 Meters Down © Matt Humphrey.
DEATH IN PARADISE
GLOBAL PRODUCTION 66
However, it just wouldn’t feel the same. It wouldn’t look the same. Maybe there could be a Death in Paradise without Guadeloupe, but for it to get to where it is now, Guadeloupe is absolutely part of the reason that show has kept going.” Once on location Key and Jones are keen to impart the importance of crew welfare, especially during longer shoots. “Finding the right people to take “many tropical with you is really islands offer important,” says Key. filming incentiVes “A lot of people think to incoming they really want to do producers. this but there are people combined with the who found it much generally low cost tougher than they thought it was going to of serVices in these be. The heat and the locations, budgets humidity are part of it, can stretch but actually being away surprisingly far.” from home that long too. It is probably that group morale side of it that perhaps needed the most work over the years. There is a real danger that you are in this beautiful part of the world, but it gets dark immediately at six o’clock. There is very little to do in the evening. You have to have the right mix of people with you, to support each other, to give each other space when needed, to have each other’s backs”. The production oﬃce has organised screenings of ﬁlms or big sporting events and trips on the weekend to boost morale. On the ﬂip side, the atmosphere created on set can be tremendously rewarding, says Jones. “What is quite unique about Death in Paradise as well is that because if someone is ill or if there is an issue we can’t just bring in a daily, everyone mucks in. We had a situation when our grip was unwell, the gaﬀer and best boy were helping with the dolly – there is a real teamwork out there and that creates a kind of really nice atmosphere. Because it is tough, it is tough ﬁlming in the heat and humidity and it is not what you are used to. Some people love it, some people just struggle with it.”
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Swedish creative agency AcNE says it builds brands by “combining art and industry,” and explains to makers how this oﬀer to clients has been bolstered by its 2017 acquisition by consultancy deloitte.
kEY StAFF ExEcutivE chairman: victor PrEss GrouP cEo: DaviD olsson mD, crEativE aGEncy: ori macE ExEc crEativE DirEctors: Johan BEllo, aDam sPrinGfElDt, Erik BErGqvist mD, film: frEDrik skoGlunD mD, PhotoGraPhy: maria WiDEmar oFFicES stockholm, lonDon, Paris, BErlin
PROFILE ACNE et’s deal with the name ﬁrst. ACNE, says executive creative director Adam Springfeldt, “reﬂects our underdog, rebel, teenage spirit, as well as being the ultimate exercise in branding – to turn something negative into something positive.”
ACNE, of course, is the creative collective founded in Stockholm in 1996 whose recent work includes The Babysitter for Volvo’s electric car brand Polestar, which was directed by ACNE co-founder Tomas Skoging.
So what is ACNE’s pitch to clients? “We can oﬀer a very broad set of skills, ranging from creative consultancy partnering with Deloitte, to a creative agency with communication and branding skills, combined with production capabilities and roster of photographers and ﬁlm directors, as well as post-production, all through one single contact. I think that’s quite a diﬀerent oﬀer from other commercials producers,” says Springfeldt.
With bases in Stockholm, London, Paris and Berlin, ACNE is a full service creative agency whose work spans communication and brand design as well as production.
How HAS covid-19 AFFEctEd AcNE?
Out of its collective of art directors, writers, strategists, ﬁlm directors, photographers, designers and producers there have also sprung out brands and products over the years – such as Acne Studios, the fashion brand; ACNE JR, a toy brand; as well as numerous ﬁlms, TV shows and computer games and apps. These brands have now gone their own way and are no longer part of the ACNE group.
“We are open for business as usual. Covid-19 has obviously aﬀected us, but Sweden is one of the most open countries in the world, so we can still shoot in a safe way on location or in a studio, as long as we are under 50 people and keep social distancing regulations.”
The company, explains Springfeldt, builds brands by “combining Art and Industry – emotions and reason, design and data, humans and technology, creativity and business.”
“Creatively passionate, collaboratively apt and attitudinally nice people.”
wHAt kiNd oF tAlENt do You likE to work witH?
wHAt iS tHE coMMErciAlS MArkEt likE At tHE MoMENt?
“Obviously a lot of challenges, but at the same time some amazing opportunities, loads of interesting collaborations, new ways of working and new clients.”
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together to build brands and tell stories,” says Springfeldt. Recently, the company also built its own post-production facility at its Stockholm HQ.
wHAt’S tHE BAlANcE BEtwEEN coMMErciAlS / BrANdEd coNtENt / FilM Etc At AcNE?
In 2017, ACNE was notably acquired by the consultancy network Deloitte. The acquisition has meant, says Springfeldt, that “we can truly deliver on the art and industry / creativity and business combination – adding global scale, deep industry knowledge in any ﬁeld, as well as technology expertise to build just about anything.” The creative agency is heavy on the creative side – around half of its 100+ staﬀ are creatives of some sort. “Then together with strategists, account directors and managers, and producers we all work
“It’s a good balance between it all. Hard to say exactly as it’s all blending together, and we don’t really separate them in that way – feels a bit dated. Our core is to produce great storytelling, regardless of format, channel or label, for any client.” wHicH couNtriES HAvE You SHot iN rEcENtlY – ANY FAvouritE?
“We have shot a lot in Barcelona, Capetown and Budapest in recent years. I think Barcelona is our favourite.”
Future of Formats
Not so long ago, entertainment TV was widely regarded as moribund, with long running behemoths crowding out new shows and innovation. Now big bets are being taken on new entertainment formats, by both broadcasters and streamers – and many look set to come into their own as we emerge from coronavirus lockdowns.
f a producer cracks the entertainment market, the pay-oﬀ can last for years. Leading entertainment formats are notable for their longevity on screen, like Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (which launched in 1998), Survivor (1997), Idol (2001), The X Factor (2004), Dancing with the Stars (2004), and The Voice (2011). Some even date back to the 1950s, like The Price is Right. The shows are also big global sellers. Who Wants to be a Millionaire? is made in 102 countries, while The Voice in 67.
At the turn of the millennium, entertainment was known as the most innovative genre in TV – best symbolised by the launch of the ground-breaking 70
Big Brother in 1999. However, entertainment TV became a victim of its own success, with a handful of hit brands dominating the schedules, crowding out new shows and innovation. Before long, the genre was widely regarded as moribund, and ratings for shows like The X Factor were in freefall. Worse, entertainment was eclipsed by drama as the most dynamic and talked about genre in TV. All of a sudden, however, entertainment is back in focus – and big bets are being taken on the genre by broadcasters and streamers.
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The success of South Korean format The Masked Singer has galvanised the sector. Fox has already played three versions of the format in the US (main image) since January 2019. The format has been licensed to over 50 countries, according to K7 Media’s Top 100 Travelling Formats Report for 2020. Other hit new formats include The Wall and dating reality show 5 Guys A Week. i do think We are potentially entering our seCond golden age of formats.
Meanwhile, the streamers are pushing into the genre. Netﬂix has enjoyed success with Too Hot to Handle, Love is Blind, and has ordered three international versions of The Circle. Amazon has ordered a French version of Love Island, while its UK team has ordered shows including The Grand Tour, and Richard Hammond-fronted The Great Escapist. “I do think we are potentially entering our second golden age of formats,” says Tuesday’s Child CEO Karen Smith, whose Channel 4 format Lego Master launched on Fox in the US in February. The reasons for the renewed focus on entertainment are clear. At a time of spiraling drama budgets, entertainment is the place to go for a cost eﬀective way to win audiences. “We can make things more economically as well as creating big shows that deliver big audiences,” says Smith. This looks likely to become even more true as societies emerge from coronavirus lockdowns. With production halted across the globe on all genres of TV, entertainment is seen by many broadcasters as a quick and relatively inexpensive way to replenish their depleted schedules – although shows may have to be ﬁlmed without audiences for some time. Crucially, entertainment can also appeal to a broad range of audiences – and therefore big numbers of viewers. Some 11.3 million people, young and old, tuned into the ﬁnal of Strictly Come Dancing in the UK last year. “There’s a real appetite for shared viewing on linear and shows that appeal to all ages,” conﬁrms BBC head of entertainment Kate Phillips. For traditional broadcasters, oﬀering live entertainment plays to their strengths and diﬀerentiates them from the streamers. And diﬀerence is key to success for new shows, say producers. The Masked Singer, for example, is cited by many as a show with scale that took risks and had a sense of mischief – and delivered as a result.
Images: e Masked Singer © Fox TV, Lego Master © Channel 4, Too Hot To Handle © Netflix.
The UK producers of Masked Singer – Daniel Nettleton and Derek McLean of indie Bandicoot – have their own take on why it worked so well on ITV in the UK, and on Fox in the US, Nettleton says: “There was genuinely something diﬀerent about the show. As much as it’s a singing and celebrity talent show, it’s a guessing game – that was the game changer.” Nettleton says the ‘tone’ of Masked Singer has also helped it to cut through. “It’s an incredibly joyous show, and I think the public have tired of cynical shows.” When a show like Masked Singer works, it gives broadcasters across the board a sense of conﬁdence to take risks and look for other fun, big entertainment ideas. At the BBC, in particular, there’s a real sense that there is much more room for experimentation. A big recent success has been The Wall, presented by Danny Dyer. “You can still launch a new show very successfully,” says the BBC’s Kate Phillips. “But what you need to do is to get people talking about them. I always say that indiﬀerence is the enemy, not contempt.” That thinking explains the casting of soap actor Danny Dyer as host, she says. “It’s not what people were expecting.” Looking ahead, producers see real opportunities beyond traditional broadcasters. “Streamers are the new frontier for entertainment,” says Bandicoot’s McLean. “They’ve done so well in every other genre. But I don’t think they have really cracked an entertainment show brilliantly yet. But the appetite is there for them to do that.” There’s also the possibility of the SVODs co-producing entertainment with traditional broadcasters, as they have done with drama. This is something the BBC’s Kate Phillips says she would be open to. “We still have healthy budgets, but we are not averse to it going forwards. What has changed is that everyone needs more content. The SVODs have shown that younger viewers are burning through content.” What is clear is that entertainment looks set to change. “The way scripted funding has gone in recent years, unscripted will follow,” says Phillips. “I think we do need to be clever with our funding because we just need so much more content now. That’s not just the BBC, I think you’ll see it with all broadcasters.”
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PORTUGAL sunny side up
Portugal’s sunny climes have long been an advertising go-to for reliable weather and charming locations. Now a regular number of international feature ﬁlms are working in the country making use of the 30% incentive for physical and post-production.
ince Portugal reviewed its ﬁlming incentive in 2018, a swarm of international features have made use of the oﬀer. The cash rebate covers 25-30% of qualifying Portuguese production expenditure on both physical and post-production. The rate for each project is determined by a cultural test on project’s characteristics, and there is a EUR4 million cap per project, which includes above the line expenses up to 35% of the total QPE.
“Since the implementation of the Portugal cash rebate we have already supported 46 projects, representing an overall investment on production in Portugal, via those projects, of around EUR55 million” says Teresa Graça, project oﬃcer at the Portugal Film Commission. In June 2019, the Portugal Film Commission was created by the Portuguese “the film Government to promote cinema commission also and audiovisual and the serVes as a central internationalisation of Portugal supporting as a ﬁlming destination. The mechanism for commission also serves as a central supporting mechanism for incoming incoming productions. “We are productions.” in contact with international producers with several interesting projects, which unfortunately we cannot disclose but in fact there is a huge interest in Portugal as a ﬁlming destination,” says Graça. “Upfront payments in installments and decisions within 20 working days are some of many other good reasons that make Portugal is so attractive and a great place for ﬁlming.” Financially backed physical productions range from Ira Sach’s family drama Frankie, to period Fátima (pictured above), a spiritual story of a 10-year-old
Cabo Espichel, Sesimbra, Portugal About 25 miles to the south of Lisbon, the Cabo Espichel cape (pictured above) is a windswept headland. The rugged cliﬀs face onto the Atlantic Ocean. Dotted along the headland is a lighthouse dating from the late eighteenth century which is still operational. Having long been a place of pilgrimage, there is a chapel and a church. The dramatic location is a particularly picturesque setting during sunset. The Cabo Espichel appeared in the 2001 feature ﬁlm The Invisible Circus, one of Cameron Diaz’ breakout roles. The ﬁlm sees a teenage Phoebe travel to Paris in the 1970s to track down the boyfriend of older sister Faith, played by Diaz who committed suicide in Portugal years earlier. From Paris she travels to Portugal whilst discovering more about her sister’s politically radical life in Europe. The Cabo Espichel features at the climax of the ﬁlm, where Phoebe makes a breakthrough about her sister’s history.
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shepherd and her two young cousins in Fátima, Portugal, who report seeing visions of the Virgin Mary, and Portugal’s entry to 2020 Oscars A Herdade (The Estate) by Tiago Guedes. A number of these features ﬁlmed entirely in the country, drawn not only by the ﬁnancial support but by the country’s attractive locations that are suitable for a range of projects. The most obvious example is historic Sintra, one of Portugal’s most wanted ﬁlming destinations. The UNESCO World Heritage town is nestled in mountains and forests of a national park, yet is only a 30 minute drive from the capital city where much of the country’s ﬁlming infrastructure is located. Its 18th century castle and palatial gardens overlook the countryside, while the small town has cobbled streets and historic homes. Two recent features supported by the rebate scheme ﬁlmed entirely in Sintra. In Ira Sach’s Frankie the location plays itself as the setting for a revealing family get together. Richard Stanley, meanwhile, pictured Sintra’s historic winding streets as less of a fairytale vacation spot and more as a horror-worthy setting for The Colour Out of Space, a feature based on a H.P. Lovecraft novel starring Nicolas Cage. Even before the incentive was introduced the location attracted the attention of Terry George for the period feature The Promise starring Oscar Isaac as a young Armenian who dreams of studying medicine during the last days of the Ottoman Empire. Sintra, alongside locations in Spain and Malta, doubled for Ottoman era Turkey. Advertising producers have long known the virtues of working in Portugal, one of which is the range of locations available in the country. Stretching down the western coastline of the Iberian peninsula, distances from coastal locations to the mountains and rich valleys of central Portugal are short. Moreover, travelling from the more verdant North to Southern Algarve takes less than ﬁve hours by car. This is particularly practical for advertising campaigns looking to shoot a range of landscapes in a short period of time. To clinch the deal, the major cities of Lisbon and Porto provide many options for modern and historic architecture which appeals to productions looking for both ﬂare and elegance. Graça also notes that “Portugal oﬀers long hours of sunlight and clear skies – almost 300 days of sunshine per year and low levels of precipitation, allowing for year-round production.” Filming infrastructure, including facilities crews and service companies, are mainly based in the capital of Lisbon. However regional ﬁlm commissions support shoots throughout the country. Most recently, the country’s famous Algarve featured in a series of spots for On the Beach Holidays. The campaign from Uncommon narrated by Iggy Pop explains why it is the worst week of each subject’s
NAtASHA HowES ProducEr
Q: The ﬁlm is based on a true story, were
any of the locations authentic? A: Fatima is an historical drama, titled after its namesake, which was a mountain village, and is today a city in the centre of Portugal. Our locations emulated key sites of the original story for historical authenticity and we found all of them within Portugal. The location which is true to the story is the city of Coimbra, which is the opening shot of the movie. Q: Where did you source the majority of
cast and crew? A: The majority were sourced from Portugal, which was both ﬁnancially expedient to maximize the cash rebate, and advantageous to ﬁnd skilled and ﬂuent English-speaking talent. Q: What were the highlights of Portugal as
a ﬁlming destination? A: We were the ﬁrst recipient of the cash rebate and were shepherded through a new process to receive the incentive on time. We found incredible locations to achieve the authentic aesthetic of this historical movie. Q: Do you have any recommendations
for producers thinking about working in Portugal? A: We were a studio-sized international movie that ﬁlmed in locations throughout Portugal, which was a new experience for some regional municipalities. Working with local hires who understand the personalities and priorities speciﬁc to the area is highly recommended. The Portuguese embrace new challenges well, and proved themselves to be responsive and adaptable to circumstance.
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One of the most recognisable characteristics of Portugal is the use of brightly and intricately decorated tiling. Known as Azujelos, tiles decorate exteriors and interiors in most Portuguese cities. In the capital Lisbon there is a tile museum dedicated to preserving and sharing their unique history in the country. With records going back as far as the 13th century, tiling has evolved with time from simple designs with neutral colours to more ornate patterns as well as intricate artworks that tell religious, political and historic tales for public consumption on the street. A number of places including Sintra Palace (pictured above), Fronteira Palace and the monastery of São Vicente de Fora should be on the list for any set designers looking to be inspired by the artform. Public transport hubs such as the Lisbon metro and Porto’s Sao Bento station have Azujelo artwork on display.
life, but you would never know it as they lie soaking up the sun. The spots were serviced by PSP Production Portugal in the Algarve, whose shoreline is deﬁned by rocky outcrops and cove beaches and bays. The sector was one of the ﬁrst up and running after the coronavirus lockdown. From the 4th of May productions were allowed to submit permits for public areas and Patricia Lino, executive producer at PSP Production Portugal anticipated shooting would commence again from the end of May, adhering to guidelines for safe shoots. Lino notes that at PSP, these will “be shared with all crew, suppliers and talent prior to the shoot, through our own PSP app to avoid using paper.” Post-production, one of the sectors still able to work during the coronavirus lockdown, has been a growing feature of the Portuguese production landscape. Titles supported by the credit include a number of ﬁlms ranging from Rambo V to Hellboy and Angel Has Fallen mainly serviced by Nu Boyana FX Portugal, an arm of the Bulgaria’s Nu Boyana Studios. The FX arm of the company, which provides VFX, animation and VR services, also works on advertising campaigns alongside feature output. Smaller post production facilities providing audio, grading and VFX work can also be found in Portugal, mainly centred in the capital Lisbon.
ESSENtiAl FActS iNcENtivES
25-30% Both ﬁlm & TV qualify. Minimum expenditure on production expenses is EUR500,000 for ﬁction and animation and EUR250,000 for documentaries and post-production. The maximum rebate is EUR4 million per project. The rebate rate is determined by a cultural test that focuses on the project characteristics. co-ProductioN trEAtiES
EU Convention on Cinematic Co-production, Italy, Belgium, Angola, Cape Verde, Spain, Mozambique Germany, Brazil, France, Israel & Morocco. AtA cArNEt
Studios are available in the Lisbon & Porto areas with professional stages. iNtErNAtioNAl tAlENt
Directors Terese Villaverde, Michael Gomes & Antonio Ferreira. rEcENt ProductioNS
Frankie, Fátima, S.O.S. Mulheres ao Mar 2.5, The Color Out of Space & A Herdade. tiME ZoNE
GMT+1 BESt tiME oF YEAr
Portugal averages nearly 300 sunny days a year & low levels of precipitation. For less intense heat Spring and late summer are a safe bet. Main image: Fatima © 2020 Claudio Iannone & Picturehouse.
Spotlight on FOCUS
FOCUS, the Meeting Place for International Production, enjoyed record attendance for its fifth edition, held in London in December.
ver 3,400 professionals – including visitors, exhibitors and international delegations – from all sectors of the creative screen industries, and from over 80 countries, packed London’s Business Design Centre for the annual FOCUS show in December 2019. This represented a 30% increase in footfall on the previous year. Taking place over two days from December 3-4, visitors were able to meet with 271 exhibiting companies (up from 244 in 2018), including international ﬁlm commissions, agencies, location providers and production service companies, oﬀering production solutions for all types of projects and millions of dollars worth of ﬁlming incentives.
“It just gets bigger every year,” said agent Sara Putt, of Sara Putt Associates. “It truly is the meeting place for international production.” This year there was a signiﬁcant increase in exhibitors from post-production and new sectors exhibiting at the show included casting and travel agencies. New territories for 2019 included The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Faroe Islands, Ireland, Latvia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Panama, Philippines, Slovakia, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey and Uzbekistan . The networking opportunities presented at FOCUS included 28 receptions, parties and happy hours.
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WE ARE THRILLED THAT FOCUS HAS ONCE AGAIN WELCOMED EVEN MORE DELEGATES AND EXHIBITORS, FROM ALL SECTORS OF THE CREATIVE SCREEN INDUSTRIES.
New initiatives for 2019 included Producer meet-andgreets in association with the Producers Guild of America (PGA) at the Fresco Film Producers Lounge, in addition to regular events such as the Location Managers Christmas Drinks, the Advertising Producers Association Christmas Party, and the Producers Brunch in association with Variety. “It just seems to get busier and busier every year – actually two days isn't enough!” said The Personal History of David Copperﬁeld location manager Harriet Lawrence. There were also a wide range of receptions hosted by international partners and delegates who were able to meet at the Nu Boyana Studios Bar. The event culminated with a special event at BAFTA to launch the makers and shakers Awards, celebrating excellence in global production, presented by makers magazine, The Location Guide and FOCUS, in association with Equals. Sustainability continues to play a major role at FOCUS. For 2019, in association with AdGreen and BAFTA’s albert, the expanded Green Zone showcased eco-friendly companies and oﬀered dedicated training sessions. Dresd created a space age themed environment from reclaimed ﬁlm and TV set dressing. Film London convened two special sessions focusing on sustainability themes. The conference programme responded to the fast pace of change in the creative industries, with an overarching theme “Forces of Change – What’s next?”. 76 keynotes, panels, workshops and presentations featured over 200 industry leaders – a 25% increase on the previous year. The programme was curated by Sue Hayes and presented in association with media partner Variety. Production Service Network was the new content sponsor for this year’s edition. Speakers included Adrian Wootton CEO, Film London, Finola Dwyer Producer, Wildgaze Films, Julie Clark Head of Production, Scripted, Studio Lambert, Kayvan Mashayekh Co Chairman, International Committee PGA, Melissa Parmenter Producer, Revolution Films, Melissa Silverstein Founder, Women and Hollywood, Nick Smith Executive VP, Formats, all3media, Peter Watson CEO, RPC/Vice Chairman, Hanway Films, Phil Hunt Founder, Bankside & Head Gear Films, and Sol Papadopoulos Producer/Director, Hurricane Films.
The FOCUS programme is developed in consultation with a Content Advisory Board (CAB) featuring representatives from leading industry bodies. Chair of the CAB was Neil Hatton (CEO, UK Screen Alliance) and members included Dawn McCarthy-Simpson, MBE (Director of International Strategy at Pact UK), Alison Small (CEO, The Production Guild), Steve Davies (CEO, Advertising Producers Association), Kaye Elliott (Director HETV Screen Skills), Gina Jackson (Development Director, Soldout Software), Anna Mansi (Head of Certiﬁcation, BFI), Agnieszka Moody (Director, Creative Europe Media Desk UK), Samantha Perahia MBE (Head of Production UK, British Film Commission), Sara Putt (Managing Director, Sara Putt Associates, representing “it Just gets bigger Women in Film and eVery year. it truly TV) and Andrea Corbett is the meeting place (Skills and Career for international Development Manager, production.” Directors UK). FOCUS Managing Director Jean-Frédéric Garcia said: “We are thrilled that FOCUS has once again welcomed even more delegates and exhibitors, from all sectors of the creative screen industries, who enjoyed an intense two days of meetings, networking and an inspiring conference programme. Many thanks to the CAB, all our speakers, exhibitors, partners and sponsors and we look forward to seeing everyone again for FOCUS 2020.”
PrEPAriNG For FocuS 2020
FOCUS, The Meeting Place for International Production, will return to the Business Design Centre, Islington, London on 8/9 December 2020 for its sixth edition. FOCUS is committed to delivering an event that adheres to strict safety guidelines, and is monitoring the fast changing situation regarding coronavirus. The organising team is closely following Health and Safety advice from the UK government, the World Health Organisation, and colleagues at the Business Design Centre. FOCUS’s priority is safety, and the show’s organisers will provide regular updates to exhibitors and attendees. For the latest information about the show, visit tlgfocus.com.
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focus on Brexit or years, Brexit was the biggest story in the UK – dominating headlines in news bulletins and newspapers – until it was overtaken by the coronavirus crisis.
Despite the upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK government has said it will not seek an extension to the post-Brexit transition period, which ends on December 31. Trade negotiations between the EU and UK will be ﬁnalised this year, insists the UK government. This means that little will change in the short term for the ﬁlm, TV and advertising industries. But longer term, and depending on the outcome of the negotiations, Brexit is likely to lead to both challenges and opportunities for the UK’s creative industries. MAkErS
Will creative talent be able to move easily in and out of the UK post Brexit? This is the biggest issue for UK ﬁlm and TV, which has thrived on the free movement of people within Europe and easy access to talent. The government intends freedom of movement to end after the UK leaves the EU, introducing an Australian style points-based immigration system from January 2021. This will be applicable to both EEA and non-EEA nationals. Those moving to the UK for permanent employment, such as many vfx roles, must have a job oﬀer in a high-skilled profession
and be able to speak English. They must then reach a ‘points’ threshold via a combination of salary level (always above GBP20,480), qualiﬁcations and whether they are working in an occupation with recognised skills shortages. Employers will need to pay an immigration skills charge as well as an NHS surcharge. Those moving to the UK for temporary work, such as to join a ﬁlm or high-end TV production, must adhere to the tier 5 (creative and sporting) visa system currently in place for non-EEA nationals. This requires a job oﬀer from a recognised sponsor. However, if the UK treats EEA citizens as ‘non-visa nationals’ as expected, they will be able to travel to the UK to work for up to three months without a visa if other documentation is provided. Meanwhile, the Withdrawal Agreement will guarantee the rights of EU citizens already resident in the UK before the end of the transition period. MAkErS
What about UK and European tax incentives? Tax reliefs will not be aﬀected by Brexit. This includes those available for ﬁlm, high-end TV, animation, children’s TV and video games, according to the BFI. Pact has told members that “the cultural test (required to gauge a title’s British content and access tax reliefs) will not be changing post-Brexit, and companies will still be able to qualify for UK tax reliefs under this test.”
British productions, however, may ﬁnd it harder to access European tax credits. Currently, UK personnel can qualify for other European member states’ cultural tests and can access tax credits there, but will lose this status after Brexit.
The UK’s bi-lateral treaties with Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Israel, Jamaica, Morocco, New Zealand, Occupied Palestinian Territories and South Africa form part of UK legislation, and are not aﬀected by Brexit.
“Amendments to European Member States legislation will be needed to ensure that UK content and workers will continue to be able to access the same tax credits after the UK leaves the EU,” says Pact.
Will UK content still count towards EU broadcasting quotas?
In some cases, though, there is no change. Access to French tax credits will remain unchanged by Brexit as UK content can qualify for these under the UK-France co-production treaty. MAkErS
What about co-productions? Brexit will have no impact on companies’ ability to co-produce. Co-production treaties between the UK and another country are not governed by EU law, says Pact, which points out that co-production agreements form part of UK legislation. All co-production agreements, including bi-lateral co-production treaties and the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production signed by the UK, will remain in place after Brexit. “The European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production is governed by the Council of Europe (an entirely separate body from the EU), not the European Union, and the UK will continue to be a party to the Convention, “ highlights the BFI.
Crucially, UK ﬁlms and TV programmes will still count towards European quotas – which dictate that 30% of content on broadcasters and VOD platforms such as Netﬂix must be European – even after the end of the transition period. This means that the sale of British-made content by producers and distributors can continue unaﬀected by Brexit. This is because the UK is party to the Council of Europe’s Convention on Transfrontier Television – which has nothing to do with EU membership – meaning it is included within the ‘European Works’ content quota. MAkErS
Will UK productions be able to access Creative Europe funding? During the implementation period, UK companies will still be able to apply for Creative Europe funding, which was worth EUR15.9 million in 2018, even where their funded activity is set to take place after December 2020. The UK will not seek to participate in the 2021-2027 Creative Europe programme.
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SPAIN the time is right
Having increased its production incentive to 30%, Spain should attract post covid-19 tv and ﬁlm shoots, adding to the high-end advertising productions that have long formed the bedrock of its audiovisual industry.
pain’s incentive increase has come at an opportune moment given the increased pressure on productions following the global pandemic. Incentives are a proven way to attract production, and a bottleneck of productions see producers scouring the globe for locations and skills.
The new scheme provides a 30% rebate on the ﬁrst EUR1 million of Spanish production costs and 25% thereafter. Crucially the rebate cap has been lifted to EUR10 million per shoot, up from the EUR3 million previously oﬀered.
This is good news for high-end TV series, a format Spain is already familiar with hosting. Throughout seven seasons of HBO’s landmark Game of Thrones, Spanish locations were repeatedly called upon for settings “there was no that spanned its fantasy world and other choice than ran for close to a decade. As such, the city of arts competent crew and technicians and sciences in and high-end service companies Valencia for the are not in short supply. headquarters of delos corporation.”
HBO returned to Spain to shoot key locations for Westworld, the sci-ﬁ series which revolves around a futuristic amusement park where guests interact with robots in scenarios developed and overseen by a creative team. Supervising location manager Mandi Dillin says “there was no other choice than the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia” for the headquarters of the Delos corporation which runs the amusement parks. “Nothing else could have portrayed the sleek corporate campus of the future. The CAS looked
Castillo de San Sebastián, Cadiz The 18th century castle looks over the rugged Caleta Bay. It is rumoured to have been built on the location of the Temple of Kronos notable in Greek mythology. The fortress is set on an islet separated from the city of Cadiz by the Fernando Quinones Promenade (pictured bove) which stretches from the town centre to the castle. On the opposite side of the bay is the Santa Catalina castle, built in the 17th century also to protect the city. Both the bay’s fortresses feature in James Bond’s Die Another Day. The fortresses themselves stood in for a ﬁctional gene therapy facility on the “Isla Los Organos” in Cuba. Areas of Cadiz doubled for Havana which was oﬀ limits for the production during ﬁlming in 2002. As one of Spain’s oldest cities, much of Cadiz’s exteriors could double for the colonial style of Havana. Main image courtesy of Numéro Magazine, Shoot Canarias & photographer Txema Yeste.
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like the future when it was built and it still looks like the future, perhaps a little bit closer than before. It was really an embarrassment of riches.” In Barcelona, the series ﬁlmed at Spanish architect Ricardo Boﬁll’s home and studio, La Fabrica. “It was a major coup for us to have the opportunity,” says Dillin. “La Fabrica is a pre-World War I cement factory where he impressively carved out a space that feels both modern and ancient, that is warm but also industrial and where the well thought out garden appears to be swallowing the buildings whole. It’s truly a Brutalist compound of science ﬁction dreams that also appeals to architecture buﬀs.”
GuStAv GEldENHuYS ProducEr, SMuGGlEr
In contrast to these futuristic locations, the Catalonian medieval town of Besalu was used as the setting for Warworld theme park, based on Italy during the second world war. It was chosen due to the medieval bridge that spans the river and leads into the town’s cobbled streets. Spain even delivers choice when it comes to island settings, with the Balearics in the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic battling it out for productions. While the Balearics provide golden sandy beaches, beaches in the Canaries often have black volcanic sands. The Canary islands are a good option for winter sun, with ﬂights of just over four hours from the UK. But both sets of islands regularly attract advertising shoots due to the good weather. In most of Spain, international shoots can access the 30% tax rebate. However, in the Canary Islands the incentive now extends to 45-50% of expenditure if EUR1 million is spent in the islands, and over 50% of the work is shot in Spain. Concha Diaz from the Tenerife Film Commission explains “commercials have always been shot in Tenerife because of its great weather and unexpected locations. In 2009, there was a turning point when Clash of the Titans shot there. That was the opportunity to demonstrate that Tenerife could be the location for all type of projects.” Its success, and the subsequent introduction of a ﬁlming incentive meant that many more ﬁlms were attracted to the Canary Islands. Since then, Wrath of the Titans, Fast and Furious 6, Jason Bourne, Wonder Woman 1984, Rambo: Last Blood as well as television series including Dr Who and Silent Witness have shot in Tenerife, but there are six other islands that all accommodate productions. The advertising industry has long been a bedrock of the Spanish audiovisual industry and although coronavirus temporarily halted shoots, the industry was able to prep for ‘clean shoots’ with smaller crews and the remote ﬁlming before lockdown was lifted. “From the beginning of the state of alarm in our country, we were working daily to adapt ourselves
Q: What was the brief for the project? A: To ﬁnd a modern, global, generic city, with locations that include: residential apartments, modern oﬃces, industrial landscapes, streets alive with colours and people from all walks of life for a global banking campaign. Q: Why was Spain, and Barcelona, the
right ﬁt for the project? A: Barcelona immediately jumped to mind because it’s a cosmopolitan city with architecture, ranging from modern to classical, to generic. It’s renowned for having a diverse talent pool, the best production support and top notch crew as well as an easy permitting process. We were shooting in December and the available daylight hours and weather played a major role. Q: How long was the shoot, and how many
cast and crew were involved? A: It was a three day location shoot with 11 principal talent, 70 extras and around 70 crew. Q: As a producer who works in Spain
often, do you have any recommendations for producers considering shooting there? A: We always feel we’re in safe hands in Spain with solid production support. Incredible locations, top crews, diverse talent, excellent weather and of course, amazing food and hospitality at its best.
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ESSENtiAl FActS iNcENtivES
In mainland Spain there is a general incentive of 30% which is applicable to the ﬁrst million euros followed by 25% for the rest of the expenditure in Spain. The minimum spend is EUR1 million. The rebate limit EUR10 million. The Canary Islands has an incentive of 50% applicable to the ﬁrst million euros followed by 45% for the rest of the expenditure. The rebate limit is EUR5.4 million. The Navarre region oﬀers 35% tax credit. The rebate is applied with no quota limit but at least 25% of the deduction base must correspond to expenses incurred in Navarre. co-ProductioN trEAtiES
21 including China, Israel, India, Austria, New Zealand, Chile, Puerto Rico, Mexico & Germany. AtA cArNEt
Wonder Woman 1984, The Witcher, Game of Thrones, Money Heist & Snatch. iNtErNAtioNAl tAlENt
Costume designer Paco Delgado, makeup & special eﬀects artists Davoid Marti & Montse Ribe, composer Alberto Iglesias, production designer Pilar Revuelta, directors Pedro Almodovar & Alejandro Amenabar, animator Sergio Pablos, actors Javier Bardem & Penelope Cruz. Image: Klaus © Netflix.
to the new work methodologies always taking into consideration the workers’ health,” says Albert Soler, president of the Spanish Association of Advertising Producers (APCP). The APCP set out protocols for its members. Veriﬁed “Clean Shoots” produced under these protocols will be awarded a quality hallmark that lets brands and production companies have the conﬁdence that both the workers and public health interests were protected. In yet more positive news, in 2020 Spain’s animation and postproduction industry received recognition on the international stage with SPA Studios gaining a nomination for best animated ﬁlm category at the Academy Awards with Netﬂix feature Klaus (pictured below). The Madrid based studio is operated by Sergio Pablos, director of Klaus and co-creator of Universal’s Despicable Me. According to Pablos aesthetically Klaus “is something that until a few years ago would have been impossible. We are picking up traditional animation where it was left oﬀ some time the 90’s… In a world where CGI hadn’t been invented, where would traditional animated ﬁlms be today?” he says. Providing visual development, character design, storyboarding and animation, the company has provided production and pre-production services for clients such as Twentieth Century Fox for Rio, Sony with The Smurfs and Warner Bros’ with Small Foot.
The Spanish director and screenwriter Pedro Almodóvar penned a series of essays on life under lockdown in Madrid for Indiewire. The double Academy Award winning director behind Pain and Glory, Volver and Talk to Her contemplated a wide range of topics in the essays. These ranged from scandalous dinner parties with Madonna, the exceptional act of getting dressed to leave the house for a trip to the supermarket and the plight of sexual workers during lockdown. Some creatives saw enforced lockdown as an opportune moment to develop projects and scripts, citing the fact that Shakespeare wrote King Lear and Macbeth during a 1606 outbreak of the bubonic plague. Almodóvar by contrast admits he has turned to reading and watching DVDs during the lockdown. The seventy-year-old ﬁlmmaker said: “I’ve abandoned writing my scripts for now, I’m letting them rest. Fictions also need a rest, it is a natural way of letting them settle so they can mature”.
Is anybody watching television advertising anymore?
Bernstein Research estimates that the first-quarter 2020 will have seen a 10% decline in TV advertising, a 40% drop in the second quarter, a 15% pullback in the third quarter, and a 5% loss in the fourth quarter.
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the tWin threats of Covid-19 and Competition from ad-free streaming platforms look to be undermining the very foundations of the CommerCial tv seCtor, leaving some to Wonder about the effeCtiveness of tv advertising. but, disCovers MAKERS, media agenCies remain fans for the medium – and improvements in measuring fragmented tv vieWing Could bode Well for the seCtor this year.
t is proving to be a terrible year for the commercial TV and advertising sectors. Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on both businesses. As makers went to press, analysts were predicting a 40-50% decline in TV ad revenue during the second quarter for commercial broadcasters as brands switch oﬀ spending during the pandemic.
For the younger demographics – 16 through to 44s – advertising served on YouTube and Facebook was found to match the reach delivered by traditional linear TV advertisements.
With the postponement until 2021 of the Tokyo Olympic Games, the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, and other live sports, TV advertising revenue is sure to contract even more during the year.
This all comes, of course, on top of a long term decline in TV’s share of the advertising market. Internet media accounted for half—49.6 percent— of US ad spending in 2019, according to Publicis Groupe’s Zenith. TV remains very much in “understanding the game, though its how we are able to share of the pie has follow audiences fallen to 27.7% from 35% 10 years ago. across platforms
Bernstein Research, for example, estimates that the ﬁrst-quarter 2020 will have seen a 10% decline in TV advertising, a 40% drop in the second quarter, a 15% pullback in the third quarter, and a 5% loss in the fourth quarter. As a result of falling ad income, broadcasters like Channel 4 and ITV have announced deep cuts in programming investment. The impact of Covid-19 comes on top of a period of huge disruption to the sector, one which has seen growing competition for eyeballs from SVODs such as Netﬂix and Amazon as well as new entrants like Disney+ and Apple TV+.
However, for the older demographics, Ebiquity said TV advertising remains superior in reach and impact compared with alternative online platforms.
will become a huge
Yet, despite the short growth opportunity term threat of Covid-19, for tV.” and the longer term one of digital disruption, there are many who remain optimistic about TV’s future as a prominent advertising medium. On the plus side, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, TV viewing shot up as viewers looked for information and entertainment during the lockdown.
There are no ads on these popular subscription services, leading some to wonder whether viewers – particularly younger ones – are willing to sit through ads any more when they can pay about the price of a cappuccino for a premium monthly subscription streaming service.
Adherents of commercial TV, such as TV advertising body Thinkbox, argue that audiences have rediscovered the value of TV, noting that viewing has grown around 17% year on year having been tracking down about 4% this year.
More pressing, viewers are increasingly watching video on mobile phones and other portable devices, or away from the main TV set. This is all viewing that, for the time being, traditional audience measuring systems ﬁnd diﬃcult to record.
Moreover, relative to other media, traditional TV is likely to fare relatively better because of these improvements in audience levels, while sectors such as outdoor advertising may be worse oﬀ with lower levels of foot traﬃc in many places.
This was all underlined by a recent report, titled Mind the Gap, by respected marketing and media consultancy ﬁrm Ebiquity, which said linear TV’s audience is shrinking as it continues to battle with the global VOD powers – and is expected to result in a 21% fall in overall adult commercial impacts for advertisers by 2025.
Of course, some advertisers, like travel brands, have had little choice but to reduce their TV spend, meaning that as TV viewing shoots up, the average price for a TV spot comes down (in TV terms, this means demand is down and supply is up).
For the 18-24 viewing demographic, the ﬁgure was even more startling: more than half (56%) of the impacts will have disappeared in ﬁve years, reckons Ebiquity, which cited the increasingly important role online video platforms such as YouTube and Facebook are playing in the advertising spheres.
“The impact of this for advertisers is that TV advertising pricing will oﬀer even better value over the next couple of months,” says Thinkbox, noting that brands that maintained or built during the crisis will emerge much stronger for it. It also points to recent research from WPP agencies, titled Demand Generation, that linear TV and broadcaster VOD deliver the highest returns for
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advertisers with the least risk compared to mediums such as online display, cinema and social media. Most advertising channels boost the eﬃciency of others, but the scale and consistency of the eﬀect diﬀers signiﬁcantly. TV generates the highest ‘multiplier eﬀect’ across all other channels, argues the Demand Generation research, which bodes well for TV advertising. Talk to media buying agencies themselves, and one ﬁnds them surprisingly upbeat about TV as an advertising medium. All, of course, are aware of the challenges facing linear TV from digital and streaming disruptors. “It’s something we talk to clients a lot about, particularly regarding younger audiences, because it is splashed across the press that young people are not watching telly anymore,” says Liz Duﬀ, head of media and investment at media planning and buying agency Total Media, whose clients include TikTok, Slack and Lenovo. “And in terms of linear TV, that’s true.” She points to Ofcom research which shows that the amount of traditional TV watched by 16-24s has halved since 2010 from 169 mins to 85 mins a day. Duﬀ argues, however, that these audiences have not totally stopped consuming TV content – they’re just doing so on diﬀerent device platforms rather than the traditional television in the corner of the living room. “A lot of this is a measurement rather than a consumption issue,” says Duﬀ. Indeed, despite years of planning, systems of audience measurement have still not kept up with the changes in audience behavior. In the UK, for example, audience measurement body BARB is still testing its system for integrating conventional and online data, Project Dovetail. The slow pace of change has arguably cost media owners dear. “Understanding how we are able to follow audiences across platforms will become a huge growth opportunity for TV and out of home over the course of this year,” says Ian Stevens, head of media at Wavemaker UK, the WPP owned media agency whose global clients include Netﬂix, Adobe, Huawei and British Airways.
ADVERTISING COMMERCIAL TV
Like Duﬀ, he recognises that measurement is the big issue facing the TV industry. “You don’t need a crystal ball to predict that linear TV viewing will decline further in the future. But looking at the bigger picture, it also shouldn’t be a surprise to see total viewing – including video – continue to grow.” He says the growth in platforms will drive up viewing, and cites upcoming technology like 5G as a real growth opportunity for streaming outside the home. “Live content should be the biggest to beneﬁt here as we wave goodbye to buﬀering,” adds Stevens. In the world of TV, the opportunity to measure and understand these shifts correctly is being driven by C-Flight, says Stevens. C-Flight is a uniﬁed advertising measuring system that captures all live, time-shifted and on-demand commercial impressions on every viewing platform. Launched in 2018, CFlight was created by NBCUniversal – which shares Comcast as a parent company with European pay-TV operator Sky. Sky is leading the roll out of C-Flight, starting in the UK in the autumn last year and expanding across its European territories this year. “It oﬀers a more immediate solution to single source measurement of linear and on demand viewing, while the industry continues to wait for BARB’s Project Dovetail,” says Stevens, who notes that ITV and Channel 4 have both demonstrated an appetite to be part of it too. It doesn’t end there. C-Flight is signiﬁcant because it will not only change the way TV is planned, but it will also change the way TV is bought and traded, argues Stevens. Currently TV and on demand are very separate buys for advertisers and agencies, as he explains. “They buy against diﬀerent audiences: social demographic on TV versus things like [consumer classiﬁcation system] Mosaic and genre for VOD; are priced diﬀerently – TV works oﬀ a supply and demand mechanic versus ﬁxed CPT [cost per thousand] for VOD; trade oﬀ diﬀerent currencies – TV is versus individuals whereas VOD is versus household impressions; have diﬀerent reporting capabilities – spot lists for TV versus VOD impression report; and they even invoice separately - splitting budgets across TV and on demand.”
Stevens adds: “In the future the industry will move to a single approval, versus one audience, with a blended CPT, against an agreed currency resulting in one invoice and one report – generally just making life a whole lot easier!” There are a number of issues to iron out, however. The immediate growth opportunity, argues Stevens, is the ability to measure TV and VOD campaigns together, enabling a genuine representation of broadcast content viewing across devices and touchpoints. “In the future, moving to a single buying currency will ensure the long-term sustainability of the TV market as a whole.” When this ﬁnally happens, it bodes well for the TV sector. Media agencies believe TV is still a strong and eﬀective medium – and that it will remain one of the most signiﬁcant factors in marketing.
“the impact of coVid-19 comes on top of a period of huge disruption to the sector, one which has seen growing competition for eyeballs from sVods.”
“Broadcast quality video content is still the best way to drive real emotional engagement with audiences,” says Duﬀ. “You don’t get the same sort of audience reaction and you don’t reach them in the same mindset when they’re ﬂicking through YouTube for something to pass the time.”
Indeed, Duﬀ has noted a shift in mindset in some advertising clients who embraced digital in recent years to drive performance and sales activity. “This year in particular, we’re seeing some clients who went heavily into digital actually shifting back to TV now. What we might be starting to see is the realisation that actually, you need to keep doing the brand building activity. TV has been undervalued by advertisers recently, and we’re starting to see a shift back to people understanding the value of it.”
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The Asian Market
ASIA HAS LONG BEEN USED FOR BUDGET SHOOTS NOW AN ARRAY OF FINANCIAL INCENTIVES ARE SUSTAINING THE REGION’S REPUTATION.
Image: Parasite © 2019 CJ ENM Corporation, Barunson E&A.
Beyond distinctive locations delivering onscreen punch, the comparatively lower costs of production in Asia have long been one the region’s big attractions. In recent years many of the most sought-after filming destinations have introduced competitive filming incentives, and brought with it a new influx of long-form productions.
or incoming producers, the charm of working in Asia lies in the combination of attractive locations and the generally low cost of goods, services and labour compared to US and western countries. For many years now country after country in Asia has launched or revised ﬁlming incentives that only makes the ﬁscal beneﬁts of ﬁlming in the region more impactful. So what are the current incentives available in Asia, and what are some productions to have ﬁlmed here?
Malaysia’s 30% cash rebate is based on qualifying Malaysian Production Expenditure. It was the ﬁrst country in southeast Asia to introduce an incentive in 2013, and as such is used to guiding productions along the process and the incentive applies to postproduction work too, a burgeoning industry in the country. The country’s location bordering both Thailand and Indonesia make it a good base for productions exploring the region. With Peninsula Malaysia and East Malaysia, there is a diverse set of locations within the country too. Crazy Rich Asians, set mostly in Singapore, also ﬁlmed in the country to double for the cosmopolitan island city.
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Image: Changeland © 2018 Firestorm LLC.
In 2014 MARCO POLO had a 70% InternatIonal and 30% local composItIon. the 2018-19 productIon of chInese fIlm SKY FIRE reversed to a 30% InternatIonal and 70% local composItIon.
Malaysia has also had a head start when it comes to the knock-on beneﬁts of incentives. Antony Tulloch, general manager of studios operations at Malaysia’s Iskandar Studios says that in the last ﬁve years, crew numbers and experience has steadily increased, with a particular growth in world class grips, camera assistants and art department practitioners. “An indication of the development is shown by the switch in crew composition,” explains Tulloch. “In 2014, Marco Polo – a large-scale Netﬂix project – had a 70% international and 30% local composition. The 2018-19 production of Chinese production Sky Fire, recently released, reversed to a 30% international and 70% local composition.” Thailand’s 15-20% cash rebate is available to productions spending THB75 million Thai spend, with the higher levels added for productions who meet additional qualiﬁcations by employing Thai nationals in key creative and crew positions and that positively represent Thai locations and culture. Recent productions to have beneﬁtted from the programme include Seth Meyer’s directorial debut Changeland (pictured above), which ﬁlmed in Krabi, Phuket and Phang Nga and US action thriller Triple Threat which shot in Bangkok and central Thailand. Taiwan has both a 30% rebate for feature and TV projects exceeding USD1 million spend. A previous iteration of the national scheme required the attachment of highly acclaimed directors to funded projects. As a result the island saw Ang Lee’s Life
of Pi, Luc Besson’s Lucy and Martin Scorsese’s Silence produce in the country which strengthened the island’s ﬁlming base. However, this is no longer a strict requirement and smaller independent features can also access funding. Recently the Taipei Film Commission opened a USD1 million yearly fund for co-produced or co-funded TV series and features that meet criteria such as showing key elements of the city or that use the city as “Taiwan has seen its base. Taiwan is a ang Lee’s LIFE OF welcoming centre for PI, Luc Besson’s international trade and LUCY and MarTin the capital Taipei oﬀers scorsese’s SILENCE both city locations with produce in The mixtures of Chinese and counTry which western styles but is sTrengThened also the hub of the The isLand’s Taiwanese production sector with two studios. fiLMing Base.” The Philippines has a 20% cash rebate Film Location Incentive Programme (FLIP) as well as an International Co-production Fund (ICOF) providing one-oﬀ grants for those in co-production with a Filipino production company. The ICOF has a lower qualifying production expenditure of PHP5 million rather than FLIP which requires PHP8 million local spend. Both are capped at PHP10 million and cover postproduction, VFX or animation. The country has facilitated many big productions over the years such as The Bourne Legacy and Apocalypse Now. Most recently Marvel’s Avengers: Inﬁnity War used some of the country’s rice paddies as the setting for rural farmland. South Korea has had a year on the international stage after Boon Jong Ho’s Parasite (main image) won the best picture category at the 2020 Academy Awards. Attention to the country may bring a fresh inﬂux of productions looking for the cool Korean look. A 25%-30% incentive of total qualiﬁed expenditure is available to productions shooting over three days, and the 30% rebate is for those shooting over ten days in the country. Regional support is also on oﬀer, such as the Seoul Film Commission which operates a 30% rebate for productions shooting at least four days in the capital and caps at USD265,000. Incheon Film Commission also has a fund for productions meeting speciﬁc requirements to do with Incheon.
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usIng local studIos as a base for fIlmIng In the regIon Is one way that productIons can meet mInImum spendIng requIrements needed to access fIlmIng IncentIves In the regIon.
Japan launched a pilot rebate in 2019, suggesting that the country was interested in capturing the attention of international production. But as yet no formal incentive has been launched and the country remains one of the more expensive to shoot in. However the compelling nature of Japanese culture has brought series such as Avengers: Endgame and BBC series Giri/Haji to the country. Moreover, there are some local funds operated by regional commissions across the country.
Set design and art departments are particularly skilled and have experience from working on a high number of advertising campaigns, as well as frequent international feature ﬁlms. A recent spot from Directors Think Tank and Think Tank Indonesia narrates the journey of searching the perfect gift throughout a clockmaker’s life. The intricate clockmaking studio (pictured below) changes throughout the spot, and was constructed over three days in Jakarta by Indonesia’s top art director Budi Gareng and his team.
Vietnam does not oﬀer international ﬁlming incentives, but its pivotal role in US history saw feature ﬁlms shot in the country, including The Quiet American. Spike Lee Netﬂix ﬁlm Da 5 Bloods also reportedly ﬁlmed in the country as well as neighbouring Thailand. Other recent shoots include Kong: Skull Island which ﬁlmed on the island of Phong Nha.
In terms of large-scale “The use of LocaL soundstages there are a service coMpanies number of options in is BoTh a cosT the region. Studio Park and TiMe saving is Thailand’s biggest decision when facility with ﬁve purpose working in asia. built soundstages, and uTiLising The half of the 90,000 sqm services can heLp site is a backlot facility. In China, there are navigaTe The LocaL a number of expansive fiLMing do’s and studios including donT’s.” Hengdian World Studios, Zhouzxhou World Studios and Wanda Studios. Because of the local Chinese production industry, these studios also boast a large number of standing sets including palaces and palacial gardens, period street sets for both republic and dynasty China. In Malaysia, the Iskandar Malaysia Studio has seen a rebrand after mutually splitting from Pinewood Studios Group. Currently in progress is the development of permanent outdoor period sets based on period Chinese and British colonial Penang/Singapore with plans in the pipeline for further investment into equipment and support services.
Indonesia, the world’s largest island country does not operate a ﬁlming incentive. However, with tourist destinations of Bali, Java and Sumatra the country does attract a proportion of advertising work. Big features are further in between but Eat Pray Love’s depiction of the country helped put the country ﬁrmly on the bucket list for many international travellers. China, and India, by far the largest countries in the region do not oﬀer incentives to incoming projects. However incoming productions will be able to make use of the infrastructure that supports the two countries’ domestic production sector – the biggest competitors to the US industry in terms of output and box oﬃce returns. In fact, productions from these two countries are some of the most frequent users of Asia’s existing ﬁlming incentives. Using local studios as a base for ﬁlming in the region is one way that productions can meet minimum spending requirements needed to access ﬁlming incentives in the region. “This is one of our main advantages,” says Malaysia’s Iskandar Studios’ Antony Tulloch. “We are currently in talks with a few major projects that are looking to use the studios as a hub in the region for shows that are exploring India, tropical islands, rainforests and capitalising on Malaysia’s broad range of locations.” Most recently series including Leftbanks’ Strikeback series seven, Netﬂix’s Ghost Bride and Chinese series Little Nyonya have used the facility as well as Meridian Entertainment feature ﬁlm Skyﬁre. FILMMAKING
Image: Directors ink Tank & ink Tank Indonesia.
Lastly, the use of local service companies is both a cost and time saving decision when working in Asia. Utilising the services can help navigate the local cultural do’s and dont’s, language barriers and permitting procedures that have given the region a bureaucratic reputation in the past. However, as the Asian market becomes increasingly competitive when it comes to attracting incoming productions, the local market has also recognised the importance of meeting the needs of incoming productions. Here, local ﬁlm commissions are able to anticipate and help with the needs of modern productions.
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URUGUAY ready, sets, go Currently in construction, the Punta Del Este Studios will be a key feature of production in Uruguay in years to come. The site will provide production space, such as soundstages, city street backlots, warehouses and oﬃce buildings. Notably, all national taxes on goods, services, merchandise and raw materials for audiovisual projects facilitated at the studio will be tax exempt irrespective of budget and sector. Located in the Punta del Este peninsula, known as the St Tropez of South America, the site is in easy reach of both ﬁlming hubs of Argentina and Brazil and Uruguay’s own locations.
nestled between the hubs of Brazil and argentina, Uruguay is a more manageable option that provides just as many beneﬁts, including an incentive and great locations. With a new studio complex on the way, Uruguay oﬀers more than beach-lined coasts, and architecturally adaptable capital Montevideo.
As the second smallest country in South America, varied locations are generally in close proximity. A third of the country borders the South Atlantic and options range from coastal capital Montevideo, to the upmarket resort of Punta del Este and more remote stretches often in national parks. Argentina’s ﬁlming hub of Buenos Aires is only a few hours travel. aving welcomed high-end features such as Children of Men and Miami Vice in the mid-noughties, a 25% cash rebate introduced in early 2019 has once again sparked interest in the South American country. Netﬂix series Conquest was one of the most recent high-end productions to ﬁlm in the country, a recipient of the rebate that is revitalising the country’s feature and TV ﬁlming industry.
Executive produced by Keanu Reeves, Conquest shot in the capital city of Montevideo for a week as part of a longer South American schedule. Utilising a handful of locations in the capital, the most dramatic scenes were shot in central square Plaza “’addiTionaL Independencia (pictured above), infrasTrucTure one of the city’s popular locations projecTs are due to its size and elegant Art underway To More Nouveau buildings. firMLy esTaBLish uruguay as a fiLMing desTinaTion.”
Introduced in early 2019, the 25% cash rebate applies to audio-visual production, excluding commercials, and is capped at USD400,000 per production. Having been initially successful in increasing interest in prospective ﬁlming, additional infrastructure projects are underway to more ﬁrmly establish Uruguay as a ﬁlming destination.
Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento is a small city in southwestern Uruguay facing Buenos Aires across the estuary of the South Atlantic Ocean. The city has a small historic quarter that has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its array of colonial urban architecture. Spanish and Portuguese rulers have left a mark on the area. Cobbled streets lead down to the wide riverside. Around the city can be found quiet unassuming beaches on the wide estuary, which seems more like the ocean. The city featured in a series of spots for Bacardi, doubling for revolutionary Cuba at the turn of the 20th century.
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interview amma withderspici asante he BAFTA award winning director and screenwriter Amma Asante’s screen work spans the acclaimed ﬁlms A Way of Life, Belle and A United Kingdom. She has also directed episodes of hit TV show The Handmaid’s Tale and upcoming Hulu series Mrs America, starring Cate Blanchett, and directed a 90-second Nokia ad tied into Bond ﬁlm No Time To Die through Pulse Films. She recently became Chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts. Her next ﬁlm will be Cold War thriller, Billion Dollar Spy, the true story of a man who became the Pentagon's most valuable spy during the last years of the Cold War. Asante’s screen career began as a child actress, starring in the iconic BBC TV children’s show Grange Hill.
How was it working on the Nokia Bond commercial? aMMa aSantE
It’s a companion ﬁlm for No Time to Die, starring Lashana Lynch, the new 00 character, that came out on International Women's Day. The character that Lashana plays in the ﬁlm is incredible, so it’s really wonderful as a woman, and as a woman of colour as well, to be able to introduce audiences to her just slightly ahead of the ﬁlm.
There’s been lots of focus about the lack of gender and racial diversity during this year’s awards season. Given the reaction, are things changing? aMMa aSantE
As long as I've been in the industry, we have been having these conversations. Obviously, we have to remain optimistic because what are the options? But we have to get to a point where we see more courage, common sense and more passion for the reality that the talent and people who inspire come from a multitude of backgrounds and experiences. When we allow a level playing ﬁeld, we end up supplying better material to audiences. It has been proved time and time again that when audiences are provided with levels of diversity, whether it's through a woman writer or through the characters we see on screen, that is rewarded. We have gone through awards seasons before like this year where there's a real deﬁcit of diversity. Lots of rebuking and telling oﬀ that goes on, and then the following year, lots of people of colour and possibly some women, end up being rewarded. We have to really be careful that a couple of years later, we're not back to square one. The industry has to be careful it doesn't start to lose credibility. Let’s be honest, it just doesn't look good when it's very clear that talented people have been excluded from the mix. We’ve also got to be careful that it doesn't look like we're constantly being rewarded or becoming the face of the previous year, where
chastisement has happened. We can't be the face of the industry chastisement. The industry has got to get to a place where it's genuinely rewarding those who deserve it, and exclusion becomes something of the past. MaKERS
What kind of projects are you drawn to? aMMa aSantE
There are deﬁnitely some kinds of projects and stories that I feel that I've done and I'm looking forward to new horizons in many ways. But I think I always need my stories to be rooted in character and in the relationship that we have as human beings with the world around us, and how we ﬁt into that world and how we relate to each other. I know every story is about the human condition. But I think I'm deeply fascinated by not just the relationship that we have with others, but the relationship that we have with ourselves – and how that relationship vies with the culture that we're in at any one time. That doesn't have to be necessarily about a black woman experiencing life in 1940s Germany, as my last ﬁlm, Where Hands Touch, was about. It could be about a Russian man, you know, experiencing life in his own country of Russia, and what that feels like. Billion Dollar Spy, for instance, is about a man who loves his country but doesn't agree with the people who are running it.
Which do you prefer working in, TV or ﬁlm? aMMa aSantE
Both TV and cinema have for me their own quite separate, but important and unique qualities. I love the experience of binge watching ﬁve or six episodes, then ringing up a friend and having a conversation about them. In TV, I love that ability to be able to explore character over a period of time. But I also love the communal experiences of sitting down with lots of other people in a dark room, and the event of going to the cinema. I love to be able to direct stories that require you to look from one side of the screen to the other. That's something you can only do in cinema. I'm a storyteller and being able to bounce between those two arenas is something that's really important to me. MaKERS
What prompted you to become Chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts? aMMa aSantE
I cannot imagine how I would have responded to the world when I was a kid if there was a black female chancellor of an arts university. At that time, all of the major role models that I was looking to in that way were in America – they were African Americans. I feel that if it has the possibility to encourage someone to apply to art school who might never have applied, that is something that’s possible for me to do – simply to make myself visible and say that I'm here. And so when Norwich asked me, it was absolutely a no brainer for me to say yes. Image: Joseph Sinclair.
Seeing Double in the North of England
Expect the unexpected when you venture north. locations in the north of England are highly versatile and have successfully doubled for some surprising spots. the region’s locations have stood in for anything from period london, to north america, Scandinavia and Spain.
oubling takes creativity on behalf of every department. The work of an art department and production designer can transform a dubious shop front into a magical bazaar while background casting, wardrobe and cars on the street complete the deal. Ultimately, though, a good dupe all comes down to ﬁnding the right location. The north of England has a number of places regularly used for doubling, so much so that international audiences may be familiar with northern city streets without even knowing it. As cameras start rolling again after coronavirus, it is likely that travelling internationally during shoots will be a greater undertaking than usual – so where in the world can productions go within the conﬁnes of the UK?
The North of England, stretching from Sheﬃeld to the Scottish border has the major cities of Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, as well as the landscapes of the Lake “The spoT can District and small towns and douBLe for friendly people – an added bonus scandinavian when ﬁlming on location. Feature seTTings for ﬁlms, TV series and advertising campaigns alike regularly shoot on producTions location in the region and its major Looking To cities are growing as ﬁlming hubs iMiTaTe The complete with crews, facilities and popuLar scandi even ﬁnancial support. noir wiThin The uk.”
UK service provider LS Productions, based in Scotland, opened their second oﬃce in Manchester in 2015, followed by a London oﬃce in 2019. "The north oﬀers so many types of
locations. It’s one of the main reasons we opened our second UK oﬃce there" says Sarah Drummond, executive producer and managing director of LS Productions. “It was a great opportunity to showcase a strong area outside of London to shoot, complemented by a strong crew base and a diverse range of locations that can also double as other parts of the country or the world.” LS’s scouting trips there have led to discoveries such as an American style diner with existing 80’s furnishings, a realistic double for an American high school, and industrial settings that can double for New York and Brooklyn. Manchester’s China Town recently appeared in a spot for Chef May and the ﬁre escapes and red brick buildings can be doubled for China, or New York. Outside of Manchester, LS points to a road fringed by pinewoods near the Peak District. The spot can double for Scandinavian settings for productions looking to imitate the popular Scandi noir within the UK. Liverpool is another city familiar to international audiences. The Three Graces is part of Liverpool’s iconic and distinctive architecture, which is also popular for ﬁlming, often masquerading as other iconic cities. Left Bank Pictures took over Liverpool’s famous Three Graces buildings on the waterfront, with a vintage 1960s set to stand in for the United States’ Capital, Washington DC, in Netﬂix’s The Crown (pictured above). These Grade II listed buildings often feature for London and New York such as in Red Production Co.’s BOYS, as well as Moscow in Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
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Image: Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find em © 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
st george’s hall also famously featured In warner bros’ FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM as 1920s new york, as well as fIctIonal eastern european cItIes In the bbc’s THE CITY AND THE CITY.
Elsewhere in the city, St George’s Quarter in the centre boasts the scale of Liverpool’s pristine period architecture, often doubling for a period London. Film crews from Netﬂix’s The Irregulars, Fox Searchlight’s Tolkien, and BBC’s The War Of The Worlds, have taken over the streets. St George’s Hall also famously featured in Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (pictured above) as 1920s New York, as well as ﬁctional Eastern European cities in BBC’s The City and The City. Lastly, the commercial district known as Exchange Flags boasts both neoclassical and modern features. Red Production Co. recently ﬁlmed the BBC/HBO hit Years and Years in Exchange Flags as a stand in for the Spanish capital of Madrid. UK production service company Madam regularly ﬁlms throughout the UK with high-end advertising work including recent spots with Liverpool City Football club’s Mo Salah. Michelle Stapleton, executive producer at Madam has her eye on Knowsley Hall on the outskirts of Liverpool as a potential location for upcoming shoots. “The beauty of this venue is in its ﬂexibility and adaptability, oﬀering a number of diﬀerent styles of location in one. When budgets are tight and we’re coming up with creative solutions for our clients this venue supports our desire to have more money going on screen rather than moves,” she says. With architectural range, gardens and parkland and farmland other productions to have used the Hall include Young Dracula but Stapleton argues that the range or interiors could be even more versatile. Screen Yorkshire, which provides the Film Oﬃce services for the region, also runs the Yorkshire Content Fund which has brought over 40 productions to Yorkshire. Many of these have successfully doubled in the region. Hull, a city on the east coast has stood in for London on more than one occasion. Hull’s Old Town’s passageway streets regularly step in for Victorian London, most recently doing so for The Personal History of David Copperﬁeld. Alfred Gelder Street, a wider, grander boulevard doubles for the prestigious Whitehall area of London and featured in Yorkshire Screen-funded feature Oﬃcial Secrets which detailed the true story of a British whistle-blower who leaked information to the press during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Beverley Minster (pictured below), in Yorkshire’s East Riding is one of the largest parish churches in the UK and has successfully doubled for London’s Westminster Abbey. The gothic church inside and out has stood in for the Royal Family’s preferred place of worship in series including Victoria, Gunpowder, and 2015 BBC production King Charles III which imagined Prince Charles’ succession to the throne. The north of England increasingly serves as a base for longer format shoots. There is a range of studio space – including Space Studios in Manchester with six soundstages, and Church Fenton Studios close to Leeds. More are in the works, including Liverpool’s Littlewoods studio complex. Continued training and development of production professionals means that a solid local crew base exists who are able to travel easily between the main production hubs using the M62 corridor. Furthermore, opportunities for funding are available from regional bodies. Screen Yorkshire and the Liverpool City Region Production Fund both oﬀer investment of up to GBP500,000 per project. Screen Yorkshire’s fund has been open for over “screen yorkshire’s eight years and has fund has Been open invested in productions for over eighT years wishing to ﬁlm or and has invesTed establish a base in the region such as Yardie, in producTions Hope Gap, Oﬃcial wishing To fiLM or Secrets and Ghost esTaBLish a Base in Stories. In 2019, the The region.” Liverpool Film Oﬃce was instrumental in opening the Liverpool City Regional Production and Development Funds. Open to local national and international companies with productions delivering local economic beneﬁt, the fund’s ﬁrst recipient was BBC family adventure The Snow Spider. In response to COVID-19 the Liverpool Film Oﬃce stepped up support for regionally based producers as well as out-of-region producers looking to co-produce or collaborate with Liverpool-based talent with development awards between GBP2,500 and GBP25,000.
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Florida has been behind some of the most talked about independent features of the past few years. local incentives in cities and counties compensate for the lack of a state-wide incentive, and the state remains abundant in skills, soundstages and most-famously, sunshine.
he episodic TV series, such as Ballers and Bloodline, and feature ﬁlms, like Dolphin Tale and Magic Mike, which Florida regularly attracted 10 years ago have made way for more commercial projects and independent ﬁlms in recent years. Now, Florida is setting the scene for projects such as the Academy Award winning Moonlight (pictured above) and Trey Edward Shults’s critically acclaimed Waves.
Jon Lux of Film Florida says it’s very important for agencies like his to know their audience. “Right now, our largest audience is commercials and independent ﬁlms, both “higher-end” indies and very small, genuinely independent productions. We still get some episodic TV and feature ﬁlms, we’d like to get more but we’re happy that we still get what we can”.
Other high-proﬁle independent ﬁlms that have shot in Florida in recent years include The Florida Project and Life and Nothing More, and are a “Much of The testament to the quality of work change sTeMs that the state produces.
froM The facT ThaT fLorida’s sTaTewide Tax crediT was cuT in 2016.”
Much of the change stems from the fact that Florida’s statewide tax credit was cut in 2016. What remains is the state’s strong ﬁlming infrastructure, that boasts over 50,000 skilled production professionals working in the ﬁlm, television and digital media industry, many fully functional studios and sound stages, and sixty local ﬁlm commissions or liaisons that assist on the local level as well as a VFX industry.
Florida Man Steals USD33,000 Worth of Rare Coins, Cashes Them in CoinStar Machine for USD29.30 is one example of the “Florida Man” viral trend, which sees participants type “Florida man” and their birthday into a search engine to see what wacky news story comes up. While at ﬁrst this suggests that Florida has a disproportionate number of kooky criminals compared to other US states, in reality it comes down to Florida’s robust public record system. In comparison to other states, Florida’s public records are far more open and accessible meaning that news stories titled “Florida Man…” are routinely picked up by the media. Floridian police routinely make information including documents, photos and videos created by a public agency readily available to media outlets. The “Florida Man” narrative has now taken on its own reputation, becoming a viral trend over recent years.
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DaHlia HEyMan PRoDUcER
Q: Can you tell us about iMordecai? A: iMordecai is a small budget independent ﬁlm written and directed by Marvin Samel and starring Judd Hirsch, Carol Kane, and Sean Astin. While Marvin is a longtime ﬁlm lover, he is a ﬁrst-time ﬁlmmaker. This is his (almost entirely) true telling of his family history to honour his father and the memory of his mother.
iMordecai is also a rare comedy about a holocaust survivor. So many holocaust stories are so mired in the tragedy of the dead that they forget to pursue the lives of those who survived. Many of which, while ﬁlled with sadness, were also ﬁlled with joy, and are still unfolding today. In fact, Florida has one of the largest populations of Holocaust survivors in the world (outside of Israel) making this an especially Floridian tale. Q: Where did you shoot and how long did
you spend in Florida? A: Pre-production began in early October and we were there until just before Christmas. The shoot itself was about ﬁve weeks.
It was almost completely on location, we had one day on a soundstage. North Miami and Aventura are rich in bright colors, architecture, and scenic horizons that would have been impossible to even attempt to replicate on a stage. A large portion of our shoot actually took place in the community that the real Mordecai lived in. A senior living community called Point East. Q: Do you have any recommendations for
producer considering shooting in Florida?
With the state-wide incentives gone, it has come down to counties themselves to meet the ﬁnancial considerations of incoming productions. Seven counties (Duval, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Sarasota, Pinellas and Hillsborough) and two cities, Miami Beach and North Miami, provide local programmes. Lux adds: “We hope that more will follow since they see the positive impact the ﬁlm, TV and digital media industry can have on a community.” For producers considering other spots, a statewide sales tax exemption programme means that productions can save up to 7.5% on select production related expenses. In the last 18 months, David Makes Man on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network and The Right Stuﬀ for National Geographic Channel both ﬁlmed TV series in Central Florida. Both series chose Florida because of “past relationships and the tremendous eﬀort and service of those involved with the projects, showing producers they could compete ﬁnancially with other states” explains Lux. These two projects further show the versatility of locations and skills available in Florida. From Miami native Tarell McCraney (Moonlight), David Makes Man tells the story of a young prodigy living in Florida who is looking for a way out of his neighbourhood. Based at Universal Studios the series shoots in the studio’s soundstages, various backlot locations as well as on location in Orlando. In comparison, The Right Stuﬀ from Appian Way and Warner Scripted TV is a period drama set at the crux of the Cold War that delves into the lives of the “Mercury Seven”, the seven military personnel who became instant celebrities as the test pilots at the forefront of the space race. The Right Stuﬀ showrunner and executive producer Mark Laﬀerty says: “We brought our entire team down to Florida, the birthplace of American spaceﬂight to shoot the ﬁrst season” where actors were able to visit the Kennedy Space Centre and access the reality of experimental ﬂight testing that their characters went through in NASA’s mercury programme”. In terms of locations, options abound. And with warm temperatures year-round, hundreds of miles of beaches as well as countless diverse neighborhoods and locations, Florida has long been considered the perfect setting for “Anywhere, USA”. Landscapes including countryside, rainforest, swampland and deserts add to the range of worldwide locations it can double for. Commercial productions will also beneﬁt from the fact that sun-soaked summer spots are able to ﬁlm year round, a big advantage during the winter months. Tiﬀany Vause from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity says it provides services including production support, assistance with locations, state permitting, a directory of local
A: You should hire locals if you can. There are a lot of incredibly talented people all chomping at the bit for work. We met so many local people who I will absolutely work with in the future.
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ESSEntial FactS incEntiVES
7.5% There is no state-wide incentive available but seven counties & two cities have local incentives. There is also a sales tax exemption programme on select production-related expenses up to 7.5%. co-PRoDUction tREatiES
commercIal productIons wIll also benefIt from the fact that sun-soaked summer spots are able to fIlm year round, a bIg advantage durIng the wInter months.
Florida has many soundstages in most major hubs. Universal Studios Florida is one of the biggest, but others such as Chapman/Leonard in Orlando & Ringling/Semkhor soundstages in Sarasota provide options around the state. ata caRnEt
David Makes Man, I Saw a Man with Yellow Eyes/Fear of Rain, The Right Stuﬀ, Waves, Laundromat & The Irishman. intERnational talEnt
Director and producer Barry Jenkins, writer and actor Tarell Alvin McCraney and actress Eva Mendes. tiME ZonE
GMT -4 BESt tiME oF yEaR
Producers should be aware that Florida does have a wet and a dry season. Late May until late October sees nearly 70% of the yearly rainfall. Images: Mooonlight © Spirit Entertainment, Bloodline © Saeed Adyani & Netflix.
crew and service providers, and liaison services with Florida’s network of 60-plus local ﬁlm commissions. “Our diverse location library and comprehensive production directory are both now accessible through a new Film in Florida iOS app so users can browse Florida locations as well as browse the thousands of Florida-local crew and service provider listings – any time or place. We also have an oﬃce in Los Angeles, to better serve our west-coast clients”. Producers should be aware of the weather patterns in the state, which sees a hot and humid summer and fall season from May to October. During the “wet season” nearly 70% of the year’s rainfall occurs, while the dry season sees slightly cooler temperatures. The Florida Oﬃce of Film and Entertainment does advise productions to put in place a Hurricane Preparedness Plan if shooting in Florida from June to November. A proper plan can lower production insurance, and the ﬁlm oﬃce website oﬀers guidelines on creating this. Furthermore, Florida is not short on studio space available for wet weather cover for all possible eventualities.
Tinsmith Circle, Lutz
The suburban cul-de-sac Lutz, 15 miles to the north of Tampa is a stereotypical, nondescript neighbourhood that lives up to Florida’s claim that it can double for “anywhere, USA”. The street might look familiar to fans of Tim Burton’s 1990 fantasy romance Edward Scissorhands, as the cul-de-sac (pictured below) where Johnny Depp moves to live with an “all American” family. 30 years on from the shoot, Tinsmith Circle remains recognisable despite the trees that now line driveways, and pastel coloured houses now painted over. Tim Burton returned to the Tampa area when ﬁlming 2016’s family friendly fantasy drama Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Once again Southwest Florida provided locations for “anywhere, USA”. The 2016 feature saw Burton shoot in St Petersburg Largo, the fourth largest city in the Tampa Bay Area where production took over a suburban house and a mall parking lot for ﬁlming the hometown of Jake, the ﬁlm’s young protagonist. Florida’s sunny surburbia juxtaposes nicely with the ﬁlm’s gothic tale that soon ﬁnds Jake in a house full of children with supernatural powers, whom he must help protect from monsters.
In the wake of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, intimacy coordinators have become much more prevalent on set. But when are they needed, and what exactly do they do before and during production?
n just a few years, the role of intimacy coordinator has gone from being unheard of within the ﬁlm and TV industry to a widely acknowledged on-set necessity for scenes involving nudity or simulated sex. Their status was conﬁrmed earlier this year when US actors' union SAG-AFTRA issued a landmark document that unveiled guidelines for intimacy coordinators. The guidelines are part of a wider drive to stop sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry that has gained attention in the wake of the trial of Harvey Weinstein, who was sentenced to 23 years in jail in March for sexual assault.
Allegations against him in 2017 helped fuel the #MeToo and Time's Up movements. In the two years since, the demand for intimacy coordinators in Hollywood and beyond has soared. However, the history of intimacy co-ordination goes back further than the #MeToo movement. US actors and choreographers Alicia Rodis, Tonia Sina and Siobhan Richardson founded the non-proﬁt organisation Intimacy Directors International in 2016, for example, beginning a process which would see the role become increasingly formalised and based on speciﬁc training. But the role really gained attention in 2018 on HBO porn industry drama The Deuce. Actress Emily
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our maIn goal Is to make sure that everythIng Is consensual and safe.
Meade, who played a sex worker and porn star, spoke to bosses when she found some of her nude scenes overwhelming.
descriptive language to be used in the nudity or simulated sex rider, and ensure continued consent during rehearsals.
In came Rodis, hired for the ﬁrst time by a mainstream TV network to facilitate the simulation of sex in a scene.
The on-set guidelines include the review of nudity riders, scene content, modesty garments and barriers with performers, directors and assistant directors, as well as ensuring the proper implementation of closed-set protocols.
HBO later announced that the network would contract intimacy coordinators on any show that involves nudity. Other companies, like Netﬂix, Amazon and Apple+, quickly followed suit. Industry experts estimate some 50 intimacy specialists are currently advising productions, mainly in the US and the UK, a tenfold increase over just a few years. Yarit Dor, a co-founder of Intimacy Directors International UK (IDI-UK), stresses that the role isn’t one that developed out of thin air – but was previously divided among many people in the past, including producers, directors and costume dressers. “The intimacy coordinator has taken those responsibilities oﬀ the producers, directors and the costume department, and now it’s allowing them to just focus on the work that they should be doing.” Dor has worked as a ﬁght and movement director in British theatre since 2011, and found herself working on many plays where violence and passion might be interlinked. That led her to seek out training with Alicia Rodis in the US, and she is now highly in demand as an intimacy coordinator, with credits including Channel 4’s Adult Material, Sky TV’s Domina, HBO’s The Nevers and Netﬂix’s White Lines. She says the work divides into two distinct parts: pre-production and then onset work. Prior to production, the intimacy coordinator will meet with the executive producer/writer and director at a minimum to discuss the script, and to determine the degree of nudity and the speciﬁcs of simulated sex and any other pertinent details. The meeting will give the intimacy coordinator “a sense of what their vision is and the style they are going for,” says Dor.
Images: White Lines © Des Willie & Netflix, e Deuce © 2019 Home Box Oﬃce, Inc.
Then the intimacy coordinator will meet with the actors. The SAG-AFTRA guidelines says they must ensure clear communication with actors regarding any nudity, simulated sex or hyper-exposed situation. In particular, they must meet one-on-one with performers prior to the rehearsal and ﬁlming of an intimate scene, and conﬁrm consent for the
A key provision says the coordinator “ensures continued consent throughout the ﬁlming of a scene (both consent to what their likeness is seen performing, and how the action is achieved) while minimising interference in production ﬂow.” “Our main goal is to make sure that everything is consensual and safe,” says Dor. That includes the crew as well, to make sure they “don’t feel exposed or vulnerable to anything they shouldn’t see or hear.” Dor stresses that it is vital that producers interview intimacy coordinators before they take them on for a job, ensuring they have certiﬁcations. (She is certiﬁed with Intimacy Directors and Coordinators in the US, and Intimacy Directors International in the UK). She is also certiﬁed as an adult and youth mental health ﬁrst aider, and has trained in sexual harassment & bullying, conﬂict resolution, unconscious bias, equality & diversity and LGBTQ+ awareness. Why so much training, one might ask? Dor explains that coordinators are not therapists, but actors or crew may have ‘triggers’ when it comes to scenes of violence or intimacy, that they feel either in the moment or later. Conﬂict resolution can be useful to defuse situations where an actor ‘wants to retract a level of nudity’ if they feel unsafe on set and where a production might persuade them otherwise. Dor also emphasises that coordinators are there “to support someone’s performance” at a time when they can feel very vulnerable. But she adds intimacy coordinators are only needed in certain circumstances, and that producers should not feel forced to invest in their services for every intimate scene. “Sometimes people are selling the role for wrong reasons,” explains Dor. “We are really there mostly for nudity. We’re not necessarily there to help with kissing or holding hands, unless an actor or director speciﬁcally requests it.” “Like every new wave, it needs to get to the point where it settles down and we all know exactly what the role is there for.” 111
Digital content marketplaces: a meritocracy for programme makers?
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affectIng travel to
markets such as mIptv and la screenIngs,
wIll buyers and sellers start to turn to
sales markets Instead? vuulr ceo Ian mckee offers hIs vIew.
he widespread disruption caused by the global coronavirus outbreak has led to unprecedented levels of uncertainty across the TV industry, and will no doubt lead to even more in the coming months. We’ve already seen events such as MIPTV, Series Mania, HKFilmart, SXSW, and LA Screenings cancelled during 2020, with more disruption probably to come – leaving producers, distributors and broadcasters with gaping holes in their schedules where physical TV markets once existed. For programme makers looking to sell their latest shows into the international market – an often-precarious feat at best – this uncertainty comes at a time when the global distribution market was already evolving. Indeed, the rise of online content marketplaces is now changing the rights-selling process, complementing global TV markets by allowing buyers to transact with producers and distributors online.
I’ve always felt that if someone has made a great piece of content, then they should have a way to get their ﬁlm or show in front of a buyer or distributor. This also beneﬁts the buyer as they have access to the very best content available globally. The opportunity is there for them to ﬁnd great content that their audiences will love from any content creator from anywhere, and not just choosing from what is “pitched” to them. Now, thanks to technology and the gradual adoption of a digital tool to support their business, this is possible. This will take time. But there’s no doubt that the structure and architecture of our industry is quickly changing, particularly with the proliferation of streaming services and a whole host of niche channels. Producers now have a great opportunity to capitalise on this fragmentation by ﬁnding new lucrative avenues for buyers to access their content. I for one am excited to see what the future holds.
Even before the cancellation of traditional physical markets, online content rights marketplaces had become attractive alternatives for new producers who lacked a strong track history of programming-making, were located in a territory that sits outside big global media capitals or were unable to secure distribution for whatever reason. In essence, these new platforms take away all those barriers that can often stand in the way of being able to ﬁnd a global distributor for their show. They provide them with a level playing ﬁeld with thousands of other content makers worldwide, while also quelling budgetary concerns over employing a company to go out and pitch on their behalf – an often-expensive proposition. I am not for one minute saying this is the end of traditional markets, they will always play a key role when it comes to talking strategy, forming co-productions, networking and knowledge sharing. But what digital marketplaces provide is a meritocracy; they completely democratise access to distribution for content makers, giving great content the opportunity to be found and bought by buyers in acquisitions teams globally.
Ian McKee is CEO and co-founder of the global digital content marketplace Vuulr, a Singapore-based online platform which allows broadcasters and VOD platforms to acquire programming from sellers worldwide. McKee previously launched Singapore-based digital and social media marketing agency V olcanic – which worked with a host of TV and film industry clients such as Sony and Discovery – before selling the firm to WPP.
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USA: NEW YORK
new heights acting executive director of New York State Governor’s Oﬃce of Motion Picture & Television Development says: “We encourage ﬁlmmakers to take advantage of industry growth here and the proliferation of large studios, including Netﬂix and Lionsgate, that are establishing east coast hubs in the state”.
Providing the setting for high proﬁle content including Joker, The Irishman and Succession, new york is no hidden gem. Before coronavirus struck, the state saw rapid growth amid demand for its talent, locations and tax credits.
The oﬃce also oversees the state tax credit programmes that apply to commercial, ﬁlm and TV, and post-production. The success and stability of the incentives over the past nine years have contributed to tremendous growth in industry conﬁdence and in the production of ﬁlms, TV series and pilots in New York. Since 2011, series applications have more than quadrupled, from 14 applications in 2010 to 73 in 2019. This growth, of course, has recently been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which saw New York at the epicentre of the virus’ spread in America.
uthenticity is one of the key attractions of ﬁlming in New York City,” says Eric Brown, executive producer at Fixer Films. They have oﬃces in both LA and New York. Comparing the two, Brown comments, “New York oﬀers a lot to location-based production in particular, the top thing being authenticity. You can shoot on a New York street at a backlot in Hollywood or Bulgaria but no matter how many yellow taxis there are or how much steam rises from a grate on the street, it will never look right.” Recent commercial spots from Fixer Films have involved “we encourage renting a moving subway by working together with the Metropolitan fiLMMakers To Transport Authority ﬁlm unit for Take advanTage of a Seagram’s commercial, to indusTry growTh shooting a Mango spot across here and The Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
proLiferaTion of Large sTudios ThaT are esTaBLishing easT coasT huBs.”
Traditionally ﬁlming has been focused in New York City, but in recent years the industry has expanded all over the state with areas such as Hudson Valley, Buﬀalo, Syracuse and Albany all seeing a surge in production. Scorsese’s The Irishman, for example, used nearly 120 locations over more than a 100 day shoot. Doubling largely for Philadelphia, principal photography took place in the Hudson Valley, Queens, Long Island and Manhattan. Yonsl Bokser,
Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Completed in 1931, this Art Deco landmark (above) is prime real estate and occupies a whole block in Midtown Manhattan. Designed by architects Schultze and Weaver, the 47 story building was the tallest hotel in the world when it opened in 1931. 2002 rom com Maid in Manhattan used the Waldorf Astoria for all exterior shots of the ﬁctional Beresford hotel where Jennifer Lopez’ character, a maid who falls in love with a high-proﬁle politician, works. The ﬁve-star hotel has not only starred on ﬁlm but has also hosted many historic political conferences such as the World Peace Conference in 1949. Main image: Succession © 2019 Home Box Oﬃce, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The Eastern Europe Boom BIGGER PRODUCTIONS LURED IN BY EASTERN EUROPEAN INCENTIVES HAVE HELPED CREATE THE BOOMING HUBS WE KNOW TODAY
Image: Freud © Jan Hromadko & Netflix.
There has been a boom in the number of filming incentives in Eastern Europe and the rates on offer have skyrocketed too as the region competes to capitalise on the production boom. Much has changed in the last ten years, so where should international productions look when considering shooting in the region?
ncentives are a tried and tested way to encourage production activity. As a region, Eastern Europe has successfully harnessed the tool to lure in high-end international productions. Those countries with a pre-existing ﬁlming infrastructure that included large-scale sound stages and production professionals were quickly able to facilitate large scale features and TV series. Pavlína Žipková, the Czech ﬁlm commissioner, explains that because the tradition of ﬁlmmaking had been strong in the country the latest technical equipment has always been available. “The production incentives are a powerful tool in
attracting foreign productions. We value the fact the Czech ﬁlmmakers have the chance to work closely with foreign ﬁlmmakers. This close cooperation is a perfect addition to the industry education they receive locally,” she says. “It is one of the reasons why more and more foreign productions choose Czech heads of departments. They do not need to bring in so many creative minds. They ﬁnd them right here”. Žipková adds that during the content boom “the latest trend is that the entire TV series are shot here”. These include two series of Amazon’s Carnival Row and Das Boot, as well as Haunted, Freud (pictured above) and The Letter for a King for Netﬂix.
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Image: Isle of Dogs © Twentieth Century Fox.
more and more foreIgn productIons choose czech heads of departments. they do not need to brIng In so many creatIve mInds. they fInd them rIght here.
Less established ﬁlming destinations have utilised incentives as a tool to help build up production infrastructure and a skills base naturally using quotas on the use of local crew and talent. The Croatian incentive adds an additional 5% on to the 25% incentive for productions shooting in underdeveloped regions. The country saw a record number of ﬁlming days in 2019, with nearly 10% taking place in these regions. Other incentives support speciﬁc national industries such as the Polish Rebate which earmarks 10% of its annual funds for animation projects. The Polish animation sector has previously worked on projects including Loving Vincent (pictured below), the ﬁrst ever feature length painted animation, and Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs (pictured above) which saw local animation production company WJTeam/Likaon produce dog puppets. As international ﬁlming became a mainstay of the production landscape the lower costs in Eastern Europe compared to the west drew projects to the region’s soundstages, facilities and locations. Eastern Europe’s main production hubs then began to introduce ﬁlming incentives in the early 2000’s, and the ﬁnancial appeal was cemented. Hungary, for instance, introduced its ﬁrst rebate in 2004 and the country has consistently ranked in the top international ﬁlming destinations in Europe since. Neighbouring production hubs have followed suit. In recent years incentives have proliferated in the region. Rates on oﬀer have become more competitive and now reach up to 45% of qualiﬁed production costs. New incentives can take time to bring in productions, especially with so many now on the market but countries with an existing ﬁlming infrastructure should expect interest from bigger projects. Poland introduced an incentive in 2018, having already hosted shoots for big productions including Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies and Claire Denis’ High Life. Anna Dziedzic from the Polish Film Institute says: “There is a diﬀerence in the
Image: Loving Vincent © Loving Vincent Ltd.
number and quality of requests we are getting from location managers or producers. The productions that are approaching us are bigger in terms of budget and in terms of scale of production”. To meet demand, many countries have increased soundstage space. In the midst of coronavirus lockdown, Hungary’s Maﬁlm Studios, owned by the National Film Institute, announced four new soundstages were to be built to maintain the country’s leading position and competitiveness in the market. Most of the incentives “hungary’s MafiLM on oﬀer in Eastern sTudios, owned By Europe do not cater The naTionaL fiLM to advertising work, insTiTuTe, recenTLy even though there is a announced four steady ﬂow of incoming new soundsTages To work. Serbia is one of Be BuiLT To MainTain the only countries whose incentive covers The counTry’s advertising production coMpeTiTiveness in too. TV commercials The MarkeT.” are one of the most active parts of the Serbian production industry because of its well established cash rebate that is aimed at higher budget commercial projects which oﬀers 20% for production spend over EUR150,000. Recent productions include a Stink Films and Salomon Ligthelm project for the new hybrid Lexus RX which saw Belgrade double for metropolitan cities in Asia and the US. TVCs shooting in Serbia are able to bundle a slate of projects, up to a ceiling of EUR3.2 million of local expenditure within three years. Current ﬁlming incentives and recent productions in Eastern Europe can be found below. Romania launched a 35-45% cash rebate in 2018. A minimum 20% of the total budget must be Romanian spend and there is a cap per project of EUR10 million and a required a minimum spend of EUR100,000. The maximum 45% rebate is applied
BACK TO CONTENTS Estonia’s 20-30% cash rebate on eligible production costs spans feature ﬁlms, feature documentaries, animation ﬁlms, animation series, high-end TV drama and their post-production. The amount received depends on the overall budget of the production but feature ﬁlms must have a budget of at least EUR1 million, and high-end TV dramas a budget of at least EUR200,000 per single episode to apply. Supported projects include Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated Tenet.
Images: e Witcher © Katalin Vermes & Netflix.
if the project explicitly promotes Romania and its locations. Recent productions include Killing Eve (pictured below) series 3 and Amazon’s Alex Rider TV series. In recent years IncentIves have prolIferated In the regIon. rates on offer have become more competItIve and now reach up to 45% of qualIfIed productIon costs.
Slovakia now has a 33% cash rebate. The country has facilitated shoots for Amazon series Hanna and BBC One’s Dracula adaptation. To qualify international productions must spend at least EUR300,000 for TV features, series or feature ﬁlm slates or EUR150,000 for an individual feature documentary or animated ﬁlm. There is no budget limit on eligible costs. Hungary has recently welcomed Dennis Villeneuve’s Dune, Michael Bay’s 6 Underground and Netﬂix’s The Witcher (pictured above). The Hungarian Film Fund oﬀers a 30% rebate on eligible production expenses, on features, shorts, documentaries, animation and TV series and is available until the end of 2024. There is no minimum spend, cap per project or annual budget cap. Poland’s 30% cash rebate applies to feature ﬁlms, animations, documentaries and series – ﬁction, animated and documentary. 10% of the annual budget is earmarked as support for animations. There are minimum spends and run-times needed to apply and a maximum support per project of PLN15 million. Productions to have ﬁlmed in the country include German miniseries The Turncoat, and HBO Europe’s The Thaw. Animation, VFX and post-production work has been done on Atomic Blonde, Wonder Woman and Rambo: Last Blood. Lithuania’s tax incentive covers up to 30% of the production budget and is available for feature ﬁlms, TV dramas, documentaries and animated ﬁlms. At least 80% of eligible ﬁlm production costs must be incurred in Lithuania and the total eligible spend in Lithuania must be at least EUR43,000. Productions to have recently beneﬁtted from the scheme include HBO’s Chernobyl and Catherine the Great as well as Swedish Netﬂix series Young Wallander.
Image: Killing Eve © Sid Gentle & BBC.
The Czech Incentives programme oﬀers a 20% cash rebate on qualifying Czech spending and up to 10% rebate on qualifying international spend which is calculated as a 66% rebate on withholding tax paid in the Czech Republic by international cast and crew. There are minimum expenditure levels and a cultural test required but no cap on per-project grant. Feature ﬁlms to have shot in the Czech Republic include A Boy Called Christmas and Academy Award winner “Tvc’s are one of Jojo Rabbit and TV series The Little The MosT acTive Drummer Girl. parTs of The serBian
Croatia has a 25% cash Because of iTs cash rebate with an additional reBaTe aiMed aT 5% for productions higher BudgeT ﬁlming in less developed coMMerciaL projecTs regions. Feature ﬁlms, ThaT spend over documentaries, TV eur150,000.” dramas and animations are covered by the rebate. The incentive is administered on a ﬁrst come ﬁrst serve basis and cast and crew must consist of at least 30% locals for productions ﬁlming partially in Croatia. Recent productions include Left Bank Pictures’ Strike Back, and The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. Montenegro has a 25% cash rebate system in place that can cover up to 25% of eligible expenditures for feature ﬁlms, documentaries, TV ﬁlms and series that meet the minimum EUR100,000 spend and meet qualifying tests including cultural content, use of ﬁlm crew and talents and use of production capabilities. Productions to have shot in Montenegro in the past ﬁve years include The November Man, Papillon, Coriolanus and Golden Job. Serbia’s incentives programme provides a 25% cash rebate on qualiﬁed Serbian spend for feature ﬁlms, TV series, animation ﬁlms, documentaries and visual eﬀects. This jumps to 30% on qualiﬁed Serbian spend for feature ﬁlms with a budget exceeding EUR5 million. There is also a 20% rebate for TVC’s. Chinese feature Lost in Russia and Indian feature Saaho both utilised post production studios in the country. Feature ﬁlms and TV series to have shot here include Baaghi 3, two series of The Outpost and Seal Team.
Behind the Scenes Visual Effects FROM PINOCCHIO TO THE WITCHER
A SHOWCASE OF WORLD LEADING VISUAL EFFECTS GOOD OMENS, AmAzon & BBC VFX: mILK Milk provided VFX for Amazon and BBC fantasy drama Good Omens, with highlights including its work on Satan, the CG Bentley, Soho street scenes and the wings belonging to David Tennant's Crowley and Michael Sheen's Aziraphale. Milk co-founder Jean-Claude Deguara, VFX supervisor for Good Omens says: “As we broke down the scripts with [writer] Neil [Gaiman] and [director] Douglas [Mackinnon] it was clear the challenge was going to be the sheer variety and volume of the VFX work – 650 shots across six episodes – added to a fast ﬁve month post production turnaround with a VFX crew of 60.” Many of the main VFX features such as Satan and the Kraken appear only once in the six part series, “so we had to strike a careful balance between delivering high impact yet ensuring they were immediately recognisible and grounded in reality,” says Deguara.
BACK TO CONTENTS PINOCCHIO, FEATURE FILm – VFX: onE oF Us Soho VFX studio One Of Us provided over 200 shots across nearly half an hour of screen time for Matteo Garrone's feature adaptation of Pinocchio. Garrone's is a world in which animals portrayed with little more than make-up live alongside fully digital creatures, as well as prosthetic-digital hybrids. One of Us became involved early in the pre-production process and began by testing approaches to the portrayal of Pinocchio himself, working alongside make-up and prosthetics artist Mark Coulier to be sure the digital work was in sympathy with, and added to, the world that Garrone was building. One Of Us VFX supervisor Theo Demiris, says: “The work presented both technical and artistic challenges, including a 40 second shot of a drowning donkey enveloped in a shimmering school of ﬁsh.”
BELGRAVIA, ITV – VFX: BLUEBoLT A key part of VFX house BlueBolt’s work on Julian Fellowes’s ITV drama Belgravia was to transform the shooting location, the beautifully preserved Moray Place in Edinburgh, into 1840’s Belgravia, featuring the classic white stucco buildings. To do so, BlueBolt referenced the works of master builder Thomas Cubitt, plus a reference shoot of contemporary Belgravia. The VFX transformation started with a lidar scan to create a Moray Place model which allowed BlueBolt to remodel and replace the stone work with Belgravia CG buildings. Belgravia’s distinctive porticos were also added to the Moray based shots.
BlueBolt was also tasked with creating four aerial shots of Belgravia, using plates shot from a helicopter of present day Belgravia as a base. This involved historical research, referring to maps from 1840 when the district was still under construction and at the edge of the urban area of London. Buckingham Palace had to be stripped back to an older layout and BlueBolt included building sites to tell the story that the building of the housing was ongoing.
TIMMY FAILURE, DIsnEY+ VFX: FRAmEsToRE Framestore worked on 200 VFX shots for the Disney+ feature ﬁlm Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, about an 11-year-old boy detective who runs an agency with his business partner, a polar bear named Total, directed by Oscar winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight). Framestore created the photoreal Total and was responsible for animating him in all of the 130 shots he appears in throughout the ﬁlm. To create a perfect photoreal polar bear, Framestore’s Capture Lab team visited Ontario’s Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat, capturing footage and photos for reference to match anatomy, muscle, wrinkles as well as facial expressions and physical behaviour. The modelling team then headed to the Natural Heritage Campus in Gatineau, Quebec to collect skeleton proportion ratios between male, female, young and old bears, which was crucial to building accurate anatomical structures. Framestore then created a fully-furred render of Total, and placed this directly into the edit for post-visualization. ALTERED CARBON 2, nETFLIX – VFX: DnEG As the lead VFX vendor, DNEG worked on all eight episodes of season two of Netﬂix’s sci-ﬁ drama Altered Carbon. The crew was tasked to build the mysterious homeworld of protagonist Takeshi Kovacs, Harlan's World, where the action takes place throughout the season. DNEG created landmark buildings such as the Needlecast and the State House tower and key environment assets such as orbital platforms, planet ﬁrearms, and giant excavators. In addition to CG environment work, DNEG’s TV VFX team delivered a variety of complex FX simulations especially for Poe, one of the main protagonists of the series. DNEG’s Motion Graphics team also enhanced the VFX with holograms and dramatic eﬀects. Altered Carbon. WAR OF THE WORLDS, FoX nETwoRK & CAnAL + VFX: VInE FX Vine FX created all the VFX for War of the Worlds, a staggering 500 shots, 200 of which were CGI. Cambridge-based Vine tackled the huge shot count with a modest team of artists and an ambitious time limit so it had to work as in as streamlined way as possible. There was a Vine VFX supervisor on set throughout the ﬁlming process to make sure the process ran as smoothly as possible. The team created the fully CG alien creature that appears in episode three. Damaged and war-beaten, it gets into a tussle with one of the human characters so there is a lot of physical interaction between the two. The Vine team had to make sure the CG character did not come across as being lightweight or weak as it has to move with purpose and ferocity. Some environments needed building in CG as set extensions, such as inside the alien spaceship in the ﬁnal episode. Vine also did huge amounts of matte paintings to transform ﬁlm locations, adding dead bodies scattered around scenes, damage to environments from meteors, and set extensions. War of the Worlds.
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Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made. THE WITCHER, nETFLIX – VFX: CInEsITE Cinesite’s London studio delivered over 250 shots for season one of Netﬂix fantasy The Witcher. The London visual eﬀects team led by VFX supervisor Aleksandar Pejic, worked closely with production supervisor Julian Parry to create monsters, ﬁre-breathing dragons, epic battles and the series’ ﬁery, climax sequence. Cinesite’s artists were tasked with creating the opening battle sequence of the ﬁrst episode, where Geralt of Rivia ﬁghts a massive arachnid known as the Kikimora in a dark swamp. The artists conducted research into the movement of real insects to create a realistic style of movement for the eight-legged creature, which needed to be dangerous but precise. Another early battle sequence ﬁlmed on a hillside outside Budapest required the creation of 10,000 Nilfgaardian soldiers ﬁghting the Cintrans. 15-20 extras were ﬁlmed as reference and captured with 360-degree photogrammetry and motion capture cycles, as infantry and on horses, with a range of armour and uniform. This gave the team scale, lighting, texture and movement reference; they were later replaced with Cinesite’s crowd agents and CG horses.
Jaguar, Just Imagine.
JUST IMAGINE, JAGUAR – VFX: FRAmEsToRE Launched to promote the new F-TYPE, Framestore Pictures worked with Jaguar and agency Spark44 on a series of six commercials directed by William Bartlett which show oﬀ the car in a number of scenarios. The ﬁlms use innovative storytelling techniques and combine live action and computer-generated images, allowing the viewer, as the campaign says, to ‘Just Imagine’ the thrill of driving or sitting in a new Jaguar F-TYPE. The car races alongside galloping horses to showcase the 2.0-litre Convertible model, leaps oﬀ a ski jump to promote the power of its 5.0-litre V8 R version and shows oﬀ its handling on a Hot Wheels-inspired track. Bartlett, executive creative director at Framestore, has extensive shoot experience and in-depth knowledge of VFX, allowing him to seamlessly combine live action and CG. “The combination of the technical and aesthetic challenge, mixing live action and CGI was right up my street and the sort of job that always gets me excited.”
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Tools for Greener Productions WHAT TOOLS ARE AVAILABLE TO CARBON CONSCIOUS PRODUCTIONS LOOKING TO LIMIT THEIR ENVIRONMENT IMPACT?
The entertainment industry is resource intensive. Lighting, power and travel are some of the highest carbon producing elements of productions. Luckily there are a range of options on the market for productions looking to green their productions. makers highlights some of the leading products that are changing the game.
reen Matters, a 2020 report from the British Film Institute, said that a ‘step change’ is needed in industry eﬀorts to help meet the UK’s legally binding carbon reduction commitments. Although attitudes to environmental sustainability are changing in the ﬁlm industry, it noted that current approaches lack strategic co-ordination and that tighter regulation and obligations are likely in the near future.
resource intensive nature of production is rising with producers and studios taking increasing steps to transition to greener production methods where possible. In the UK, BAFTA’s Albert Consortium leads the way on creating carbon consciousness in the TV and ﬁlm sectors, and AdGreen does the same for the UK advertising industry providing resources, carbon calculators, workshops and training to help drive sustainability in the industry.
The production industry is resource heavy, with the average one hour TV production creating thirteen tons of carbon dioxide, and this can be multiplied for the average feature ﬁlm. But recognition of the
In the US, the Producers Guild of America has been working since 2010 to develop a methodology for pro-actively greening productions with support from
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IN 2019, OSCAR NOMINATED 1917 WAS THE FIRST LARGE SCALE UK FILM TO GAIN ALBERT CERTIFICATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSISTANTS MONITORED THE TEAM THROUGHOUT PREPRODUCTION AND FILMING.
the major studios. In 2019, Oscar nominated 1917 was the ﬁrst large scale UK ﬁlm to gain albert certiﬁcation. Everything possible was done to help reduce its carbon footprint, and environmental assistants monitored the team throughout preproduction and ﬁlming. Green Matters highlighted some of the main barriers to wider adoption of green practices across the industry. These included the perception that green production is more timely and costly, which is not always the case. In fact recent case studies from albert have shown that focusing on sustainable production practises can actually save money by recycling materials and sets and reducing travel budgets. Limiting printing material alone saved Mammoth Screen's drama ABC Murders GBP10,000. A second barrier is the tendency to stick to tried and tested methods, amid a general lack of awareness. However, there are green production tools across the market that help productions who are looking to integrate more environmentally friendly production methods. Some of these are detailed below.
LIGHTING Anyone who has been on a set under intense lighting set ups can attest to the heat produced by traditional lighting systems. Halogen bulbs waste about 90% of energy in generating heat, with the remaining 10% of energy used produces the light. Alternative lighting systems speciﬁcally designed for productions needs are available on the market. Gavo Lighting is one such option, using plasma lighting technology to produce a high speed, high eﬃciency light that is designed speciﬁcally for productions. The low carbon footprint lighting system says it is the closest artiﬁcial lighting system to sunlight but converts such little energy into heat that very little wasted heat is produced. Gavo Lighting has been employed on productions ranging from Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special to a Swarovski Crystal advertising spot.
ON LOCATION POWER There are a number of alternative generators and power supplies that are able to compete with the output of traditional generators. Green Voltage is a company which has been created speciﬁcally to address the demand for environmentally conscious power within the ﬁlm, TV, broadcast and event industries. Its VOLTstack generator range includes a number of completely emission free power units ranging from 2kW and 5kW right up to 13kW and 200kW variants. Under normal operating “afTer coronavirus conditions users stand The worLd we to save an average 15kg re-join wiLL noT Be of carbon per day. Gaﬀer The saMe as The David Sinﬁeld (No one we LefT. we Time to Die, Wonder anTicipaTe The need Woman 1984) has used for reMoTe the system on a number working wiLL noT of productions and says: “These battery powered suBside in an units deliver robust, environMenTaLLyconvenient, emission conscious fuTure.” free power.” The silent power source is also a bonus in many settings. Sound production mixer Simon Hayes AMPS CAS (Les Miserables, Aladdin) adds that it is “one of the most positive steps forward in movie sound in recent years. Since the very ﬁrst ﬁlm with sound, the noise of diesel generators has created problems for sound mixers recording actors dialogue on location.” Another option comes from TCP whose range of hydrogen powered products can help power on location shoots in a greener and cleaner way. The Eco-GH2 Hydrogen DC power, paired with the LGP-2500 Power Pack generator, produces oﬀ-grid power generation of up to 5000W. The product weighs 25kg and 65kg respectively and emits only water vapour and is also near-silent in use.
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“Using a powerful hydrogen generator which has no polluting emissions or risk of ground-spill of liquid fuels has some beneﬁts in comparison to petrol of diesel generators. The fact that our generators can be used in enclosed ventilated spaces, in sensitive locations and in close proximity to operators has lent it to be used in a range of sectors,” says Andrew Barker, TCP’s managing director. sInce the very fIrst fIlm wIth sound, the noIse of dIesel generators has created problems for sound mIxers recordIng actors’ dIalogue on locatIon.
TRAVEL Remote production has been pushed into the limelight in 2020 as a result of coronavirus, but the way of working has also been touted as a future tool for greener production. The advertising industry used the remote production technology to allow international participation on shoots to continue amidst travel disruption and nation-wide lockdowns. Using remote production tools, camera feeds can be broadcast live to key participants around the globe for approval to be fed back in real time. Chinese clients stuck in lockdown became the ﬁrst group to rely on remote production tools to approve takes in real time, but as the crisis spread a whole new client base around the world has become familiarised with the technology. The advantages for environmental production is obvious in that agencies, production companies and brands can reduce international ﬂights when shooting overseas. Although some key members may still travel to set, the system has operated successfully where even directors have been remote. Yanina Barry, co-founder of Remote Filming, a system launched during the coronavirus crisis, had been working on her platform long before the crisis hit. In her role of executive producer at Good Films, the need for remote production platform was becoming increasingly evident. “The idea originally came to us because we have spent years shooting commercials, feature ﬁlms, entertainment and broadcast for overseas clients and we found it was becoming increasingly necessary for people to get feedback on the ongoing shoot from colleagues and clients back home. Despite the huge variety of software at our disposal, we realised there was nothing that could allow you to see a camera feed directly and securely with only a standard Wi-Fi connection and no expensive hardware or crew. The world we re-join will not be the same as the one we left. We anticipate the need for remote working will not subside in an environmentally-conscious future”.
The Remote Filming platform works for multi-camera, location or studio shoots and can be viewed by unlimited authorised numbers of people across the world. In order to view Remote Filming, users are provided with encrypted access keys to log in through a private portal using their usual internet browser. Once logged in, the “anyone who has images and audio from Been on a seT set are transmitted under inTense live in real-time with LighTing seT ups a latency of under can aTTesT To The 500 milliseconds and heaT produced participants can chat By TradiTionaL one on one or as a group LighTing sysTeMs. simultaneously. haLogen BuLBs
There are other options wasTe aBouT on the market too, such 90% of energy in as the Q-Take app generaTing heaT.” which integrates every aspect of a modern video assist, including logging capabilities, rapid shot selections and media import and export to live stream with only one second delay. Up to 16 devices can be connected and up to four cameras streamed simultaneously, even on location.
ON SET WASTE Reusable water bottles are increasingly issued to crew members instead of plastic water bottles to cut down on waste produced during a production. Although the use of shared water facilities is likely to be avoided in the near future due to coronavirus safety measures, other options, such as recyclable canned water rather than water bottles and decomposable food packaging could be considered.