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Feature Film Financing - finally?


Phil Jang Kane (screenwriter), Carmello Musca (Producer) and myself (director) have a 20 minute meet-n-greet market briefing with the Film Finance Corporation and a major Oz film distributor this afternoon. Based on our synopsis, they will advise us of sales opportunities in today's marketplace.

Should be interesting. We're going about things the traditional, Australian way. Which isn't a bad thing.

The Australian way of raising feature film finance isn't a bad one. We have limited funds and fewer good scripts than the US (where everybody in LA is working on a feature screenplay).
In Australia, screenplays are thoroughly scrutinised by industry professionals before they are even allowed to jump through a series of hoops. You also need private cash, a distributor and the FFC on board for budgets over about $2m. The system only allows scripts which have been thoroughly vetted to make it to the screen. And for writers, it adds to their growing pile of rejection letters along the way - which I think (seriously) counts for something.

The majority of filmmakers could learn a great deal from a little humility and having the odd chomp on humble pie.

I love the films which show a certain degree of humanity (or writerly humility). Most screenplays don't reflect the plights of real people because, sadly, there are so very few real people in our industry.


The Phone Call


What happens when someone calls you up out of the blue and offers you the opportunity to direct a feature film - with a small (but realisable) budget?

This is exactly what happened to me the other day.

In an effort to bring a pre-existing screenplay to the screen, two investment brokers, on behalf of their clients, were scouting around for a director. They called a friend of mine (who they found in the Yellow Pages and on Monday, I get to be the first director to read the script.

I have hitherto said "no" to feature screenplays (often written by well-known Australian writers and with money on the table) - so I was very surprised to hear my mouth say yes to this particular project - sight unseen. I guess my body has heard me say no one too many times.

I told the writer that I probably wouldn't like his screenplay and would want to make changes. He seemed very amenable to this idea and so . . . a new process begins.

We shoot in January and we need to have spent all the investors' money by June 30th. A situation we are all familiar with in this industry.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Well done to all of you!
I know Carmello has been trying to get a feature up for years... I wrote a musical feature script for Charlie Giglia in the early 80's which Carmello was going to produce, but couldn't get the funding up... So sincere congratulations!

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