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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.

Cannes Profiles: Meet Matt Smith

May 15, 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.

This morning I caught up with Matt Smith, Head of Distribution for Lionsgate UK.

Amy Binns: How would you describe what you do?

Matt Smith: I oversee the theatrical release of all of our films, including setting the date of release, discussing with my boss Zygi the level of P and A (press and advertising), how many cinemas to put the film in, what kind of cinemas, doing the deals with the cinemas and making sure that all areas of the theatrical release work together properly. Things like trailering, poster appeal, the advertising and the publicity all come in to it.

AB: How did you get into the industry?

MS: [laughs] My first job was at EDI, who are now Rentrak. I applied for a position right after graduating from York university along with applying for about 100 other research agencies. EDI was called ‘Entertainment Data’, which I thought sounded like a fun area of research. This was in 1994 in the pre-internet days. I knew nothing about them, other than what the local company listings at my library could tell me, which was that they did something to do with film. I must of pulled a blinder because they gave me the job! I was working in their office calling up cinemas, getting box office grosses from them and giving the reports to distribution companies. With the distribution companies being our clients, I got to know them all and decided that’s where I wanted to go. Eventually I moved into distribution by going to PolyGram Filmed Entertainment a year later.

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

MS: I would say, put yourself in front of people. Keep trying, keep going. It is very much about personalities and Film is one of the few remaining people orientated businesses. I think the phrase ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ has stayed truer for longer in the Film industry. Offer to do internships, to be a runner and while doing that you also have to be patient. People at our company have been interns for a year and a half, but when a position comes up we do employ them and move them up the ladder.  It is tough, but the persistent ones keep cropping up and you think ‘this person really does want it’.

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

MS: OUT OF THE FURNACE, because it’s a film we’re releasing and it’s my first opportunity to see it. I would also really like to see BLOOD TIES, but I’ll be back in the UK when that is playing.

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

MS: That is a very difficult question this early on in the festival! I would have to say, ONLY GOD FORGIVES.

OUT OF THE FURNACE is due to be released in the UK this November and ONLY GOD FORGIVES  on 2nd August. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing OGF. Catch the trailer below, it is going to be big!

Cannes Film Festival begins

May 15, 2013

So, I’ve done my nails which were inspired by the 66th Cannes Film Festival’s poster. And I’ve nearly finished reading The Great Gatsby. This can only mean one thing….LET THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL COMMENCE!

Olympic Triathlon – London 2012

August 7, 2012

Off to Hyde Park I went, to witness our British boys do their best in the Men’s Triathlon.

I arrived over an hour before the race started, but the Park was already rammed and a spot along the cycle route was the best I could get. The atmosphere was wonderful, flags everywhere, beaming faces and non-stop cheering. Many people who couldn’t get tickets had come from all over the country, just for the day.

And the very best Team GB did! Alistair Brownlee got the Gold and younger brother Jonny Brownlee got Bronze, despite having a 15 second penalty. I didn’t get to see the Medal Ceremony, due to queues outside the big screen. But luckily there were speakers everywhere so while swamped in the sea of the crowd, we all stood there together and sang the National Anthem. Well done to the Brownlee Bros, and their team mate  Stuart Hayes!

The Brownlee Bros.

Olympic Boxing – London 2012

August 6, 2012

 

Amir Khan….

The Judges

Aw bromance!

Good sportsmanship!

Luke Campbell. Team GB!

He won!

The big boys came out.

We had to watch the 100m sprint on the iPad….

Cannes 2012 – Day ten

May 26, 2012

Cannes 2012 – Day nine

May 24, 2012