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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Children's film - is the time now?



Myself and Danny went to hear a discussion at BAFTA about the future of children's film. This was of much interest to us as we continue to develop our own micro budget kids feature, Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg?

The event was sponsored by the Children's Media Foundation (of whom I am a patron) and overall was probably more upbeat about the future than I thought it would be. Here's the blurb…
The discussion was chaired by Briony Hanson, Director of Film at the British Council. Panellists were Linda James, Sly Fox Films and Board Member, CMF; Justin Johnson, British Film Institute; Rupert Preston, Vertigo Films; and Jocelyn Stevenson of Mind Candy, co-writer and producer of Moshi Monsters: The Movie.
My three takeaways from the discussion were these;

One: How profitable the whole genre can be. 3 children's movies together took over £50m during half term week, in the UK. This means that UK-centric kids films can survive on UK takings alone. International sales are not so critical as they are for other genres. This means if you have a story that is a UK focused, that's okay!

Two: BBC Films, Film Four and most of the larger production companies are not so interested in children's films. But the BFI is, and is attempting to support the genre and increase interest.

Three: The big screen can be important. This was perhaps the most eye-opening part for me. Angus Reid was in the audience and he described the joy he had of showing his zero-budget kids film to a jam packed auditorium - and how they arrived from schools by the bus load. We'd put Nelson Nutmeg into the digital distribution arena in our minds. Yes, we are shooting on 4K, but that was more to create a strong digital master rather than to create a 4K cinema release. Now, inspired by Angus and by the support that the BFI can bring we perhaps should look again at the big screen.

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