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Cannes Profiles: Meet Beatrice Neumann

May 24, 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 Beatrice Neumann, Acquisitions Manager for The Works Film Company

Amy Binns: How would you describe what you do?

Beatrice Neumann: My job is to identify projects which we can sell. I work mostly on the international side, so I speak to producers from all over the world. We acquire at many stages, from scripts up to finished films. I go to a lot of festivals, co-production markets and talk to many different people to find some good stuff for us to sell. Although, not all festivals I go to are about watching films, Berlin and Cannes for example are meeting festivals for me. That’s when a lot of producers come from overseas and it is a chance for me to have a catch up with them all face to face. We are also very director driven, I look very carefully at directors and what they have done. We do work with new directors, but I need to see that they have made some amazing shorts or have a really strong portfolio.

AB: How did you get into the industry?

BN: I came to London about 10 years ago, I’m from Germany originally. I was on a programme where we had classes and it also included three month’s internship in London, we could find whatever we wanted to do. My aim was to see if I could find a job and stay on, because I’ve always loved London. In terms of media, it is a big hub. I was looking for a job in documentory production or TV because I started out in public television in Germany, more on the journalistic side. I ended up at Scala Productions, Nick Powell’s company. I knocked on the door and asked them if they had any internships. They said they might have something. They called me up two days later and I got the internship. They had many runners at the time, but I was lucky because they had a system where one of us worked directly with Nick, as a PA (personal assistant). I got that job for a couple of weeks. Apparently I did alright, because they recommended me on at Winchester Entertainment, a company they had made a lot of films with. At the time I didnt quite know what a sales agent was, but I thought, I’ll give it a go. I was an in house runner there. Eventually I ended up with a permanent position and worked accross all depts, mostly on the international side. I worked on script development a lot, which meant I started reading a large number of scripts. I got trained how to break them down, and all sorts of things.

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

BN: Try to do a lot of internships. You don’t have an overview of the industry and understand what different areas there are, until you start working in it. Of course you have to be clear what your interests are and what you might want to do, but you only really find out once you start getting stuck in. It can also be about being at the right place, at the right time. The only way to do that is to keep going. You must always do the best job you can, whatever they ask you to do. You might not get the most interesting things to do in the beginning, but ask a lot of questions, talk  to everyone and try to understand how it all works. When you come to the point when you are applying for your first job, even if you are not too sure about it, you have to project that it is really what you want to go for at that point in time. You can always change your mind afterwards, but give it a go.

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

BN: If I were able to see films during my time here, I would defiantly go and see the Coen Brothers’ film, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS. Normally I have time at the end of the festival to catch a film, but I’m leaving earlier this year. I always like Sorrentino’s films so THE GREAT BEAUTY would have been on my list to see. In fact, if I could, I would watch all the competition films!

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

BN: That is hard to determine, it’s usually something you don’t have on your cards. It can sometimes be a film from a new Filmmaker, who surprises us all with their talent and establishes themselves as somebody to watch. It’s the best feeling when you have a gap in your schedule and you go to watch a film that sounds quite intresting, but you have no idea what it’s going to be like and don’t expect it to be great. But then you have this amazing momtent where you are actually blown away, it doesnt happen too often. But if I had to choose, I think everybody is really waiting for ONLY GOD FORGIVES. Since DRIVE, Nicolas Winding Refn has become one of the hottest Filmmakers.

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