Looking back on Birmingham Film & TV Marketplace 2018
A year of planning culminated in the Birmingham Film & TV Marketplace, which took place on 25 October at Resorts World at the NEC. As one industry expert said, “It was a day full of drama and almost worthy of a screenplay in itself!”
Who was there?
48 filmmakers and/or scriptwriters, some in teams of two, came to pitch their projects to the industry. This year’s promotion of the event helped us to reach across the entire UK.
10 individuals from the industry were there to listen to the pitches. They included company directors, acquisition managers, investment managers, directors and development executives. The companies represented were Animus Pictures, Artemesia, Bankside Films, Ffilm Cyrmu Wales, Film 4, Ingenious, Iron Box, Starline Entertainment, and Unstoppable, who had individuals representing the separate film and TV arms of the company. And as one industry expert put it: I heard pitches for some very interesting projects and I was very impressed with the experience, track record and know-how of everyone I spoke to.
Our sponsors participated in the Fringe show – hosting a table where they could meet with participants on the day: Michael Gubbins from West Midlands Screen Bureau, Denyse Blackman from Film Birmingham joined in the evening by Sindy Campbell, Kevin McDonagh and Dean Williams of Birmingham Film Festival and Daniel Skermer from The Genting Hotel.
Three other organisations at the Fringe were BFI Network (Alekzandra Jackson), Performance Film & Media (Michael Wood and colleague) and London Film School who were there in spirit and have supported the Marketplace for several years.
And of course, there was the team from The Producers’ Forum: Pip Piper, Carole Manship, Alison Grade, Caroline Officer, Abbie Allen and Serena Patel.
All participants from the day were invited to the evening reception and were joined by 30 or so other invited guests.
How is success measured? It takes a good long while to know if a project pitched will get taken up. However, feedback from Luke Foster of Iron Box shows there’s great potential: It felt as though some projects had greater commercial potential, and the opportunity to reach a wider, more international audience than others, but all of the projects at least had a clear, target audience, which is the most important thing and Piers Nightingale of Starline Entertainment told us, it was definitely a worthwhile use of his time, adding, “It’s important for us to keep tabs on UK projects as well as build up a contact base of producers and film makers beyond London.”
And as someone who has attended several marketplaces, Belinda Basson says, “The Marketplace provides a great opportunity to meet with highly experienced industry advisers to receive feedback on film projects and to network with other filmmakers. It is always a very useful, enjoyable and inspiring event.”