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Cannes Profiles: Meet Julia Short

May 17, 2013

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Photograph by Amy Binns ©

I’m here in Cannes for the 66th Film Festival as a runner for Picturehouse Cinemas. During my time I’ll be meeting up with several industry heads to get an insight into the Film business and to hear what film they’re looking forward to most at the festival.

I spoke to Julia Short, head of acquisitions at The Works Film Group.

Amy Binns: How would you describe what you do?

Julia Short: I am responsible for acquisition of all titles from the UK distribution company The Works, I also have to acquire world wide rights to other films. We have to find films at all stages of the process. On documentaries for example, we quite often acquire them at five page treatments, so it’s really just an idea. The job also involves reading a lot of scripts and then it’s about working out whether we want to get involved or not. Some scripts can get given to us when they are just a script, sometimes there is a director attached and other times there can be a director and cast connected. So we look at them in all different stages, as well as looking at completely finished films of course.

AB: How did you get into the industry?

JS: My very first job in the industry was marketing executive at Rank Films Distributors which was a very long time ago. I came from a PR background. I started to get very bored with the job I was doing, so on a Friday I wrote a letter to all film companies because  the film industry was something I wanted to get involved in. I got two job interviews, one for UIP (Universal International Pictures), and one for Rank Films. I went for the latter because they were an independent company, they weren’t a US studio. When I joined, they owned Odean Cinema Circuit, Rank laboratory and Pinewood Studios, they had every single part of the film food chain covered, which for me was great at the time because I could get involved with many different aspects of the industry and it sounded much more hands on. I loved the marketing side of things, we used to sub distribute films for another company, and they then employed me. When I originally approached these companies by writing them letters, I very much applied the skills that I’d already learned from my previous two jobs. I was very lucky to have the background I’d had, it meant I was able to argue that I was an asset to the department. I had something to bring.

AB: What advice would you give to someone trying to get their foot in the door?

JS: I think when you approach someone at a film company you need to be very specific about what it is that you want to do. You don’t have to be an expert, but you have to have some understanding of what the job entails and why you think you would be good at it. It’s important to be able to say you’ve got something to give, rather than just saying you want to work in the industry. Why should you get the job? There needs to be passion. Some sort of sense of focus and purpose is key.

AB: Which film are you looking forward to seeing most at the Festival and why?

JS: The Coen Brothers: INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS,  because I am obsessed with them and think they are some of the best filmmakers ever!

AB: What film do you predict to be the talk of Cannes this year?

JS: ONLY GOD FORGIVES. I think that THE GREAT GATSBY will also be talked about but not necessarily for the right reasons.

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