GLOBAL FILM SHOWCASE PANEL IN CANNES
On May 14, 2018 Russian Pavilion at the 71st Cannes International Film Festival hosted the Global Film Showcase panel co-organized by Cloud 21 International, Roskino, and Kultura PR International. Leading industry specialists discussed topical issues on today’s agenda focusing on the most relevant global trends such as gender equality, female empowerment, documentary cinema boom, international co-productions and other crucial industry subjects.
The discussion was moderated and curated by Eileen Tasca, producer and managing director of Alien films and Task Films. The list of speakers who shared their experiences included the acclaimed actress Sariann Monaco, Roskino CEO and Channel One’s film expert Katya Mtsitouridze, director and Bad Hat Films founder David Raynor, director and Heartland Films Inc. founder Sue Vicory, and Fusion Features CEO Debbie Vandermeulen.
A showreel of the speakers’ companies and episodes of internationally successful Russian and Soviet films were screened as introduction.
Debbie Vandermeulen, UK open the discussion by sharing her views on successful investment strategies in film:
‘First of all, investors are very sensitive to the transparency of information the producers provide on the project. They have to be sure you offer full details in all honesty. All the fragments of the puzzle have to fit and be transparent. Moverover, producer have to be always open for new partnerships and collaborations with filmmakers of different countries and regions.’
Ms. Vandermeulen illustrated two British financial mechanisms that provide tax advantages for the investors: the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, or SEIS, that allows filmmakers to raise up to $200,000 and results in up to 50% of tax relief for the investor, and the EIS (Enterprise Investment scheme) that allows to raise up to $5 mln from up to 3 investors each getting a 30% tax relief. Eligible projects must be produced by British tax residents with both production and post-production taking place in the UK. Both SEIS and EIS are applicable for TV and other creative projects as well as merchandising.
Speaking of international promotion Ms. Vandermeulen touched upon the increasing interest in international projects and documentaries of the US audiences that is proved by Netflix acquisition strategies.
Sue Vicory, USA shared her experiences of working on documentary projects. The director spent 3 years touring the various states for her Homelessness & the Power of One project. She believes documentaries have more opportunities and openings today owing to streaming platforms. Sue Vicory places a special emphasis on supporting women working in the industry. She thinks documentary films are an important area for female directors. Sariann Monaco, USA joined in to tell about her precious experience of making Absent with Sue Vicory.
Katya Mtsitouridze took up the female rights discussion to shed some lights on the state of affairs in the Russian film industry.
‘’Unfortunately Russia is hardly among the world leaders in female empowerment but we are working to get things gradually changing. Women hold some of the topmost positions in our government and banking system. For instance, our Federation Council, the supreme chamber of Parliament, is chaired by Valentina Matviyenko, a unique personality. However we are still behind the US and many other countries. A shift took place last year when several leading female journalists accused a powerful member of parliament of sexual harassment and got wide support. And yet Russian women were among the last ones to join the #metoo movement. My own THR interview received mixed reactions and even people I relied on were frustrated by the fact that a taboo issue has been raised in Russia. On the other hand, I got calls from men I considered rather conservative and offered their support. I think it is wonderful how bravely this subject is discussed around the globe owing to The New York Times and the New Yorker journalists. Many large and developed countries have achieved a lot as far as female rights and human rights in general are concerned by in less economically stable regions neither women nor men can be sure of their safety. But I believe that open dialogue can encourage them as well, which is the main goal of the whole movement. This is why the filmmakers of the world unite, fully supported by the Cannes festival. We stand together and we stand strong.’
Eileen Tasca was interested in Katya Mtsitouridze’s views on streaming platforms in the light of her vast experience in global promotion of Russian films. Roskino CEO said that personally she believed in both cinematic and VOD perspectives. ‘Watching a movie in a dark hall with other people is a unique experience that creates a special connection. We must uphold both distribution strategies and keep them balanced.’
The only man present, the Australian David Raynor, dwelt on a socially relevant issue he has been treating in his films, namely teenage suicides.
‘Last year 3000 Australians committed suicide, and 35 of them were teenagers. This is a lot for a country with a population of 25 million. It is a serious problem that has to be addressed publicly, in films, in the education system, and at home.’’
Answering the journalists’ questions the panel speakers touched upon many other globally relevant issues such as sports and moral dilemmas but in the end they all agreed that the key prerequisite to a movie is the author’s involvement. As David Raynor put it: ‘One must be completely obsessed with the idea of the film. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night to write down an idea. It had never happened to me before I became a filmmaker. When you are completely immersed into your subject it cannot fail to emotionally convince the audience.’
Eileen Tasca is managing director for production at Alien Films and Task Films, co-owned by the legendary Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski. In 2015 Eileen was the executive producer of Skolimowski’s 11 Minutes that premiered in Venice, won the grand prix in Lisbon and was Poland’s Academy Award submission in 2016.
Actress/Producer Sariann Monaco is writer of the Telly-awarded films "Down Stage" and writer and co-director of "Absent." She has co-produced several projects for Heartland Films, Inc. Monaco is the narrator of the Telly-award winning film "One" and voices the sassy waitress in 2016's "Top Cat Begins" animation film, directed by Charlie Adler. She has been recognized internationally for her voice-over work for Nature Made Vitamins and Sambazon Acai. Ms. Monaco is represented by VOX Inc., LA and is a Second City Chicago alumna. Her on-camera work includes "The Saddle" and "Between Bullets” and her commercial appearance in ''Check Your Sources: Hashtags" San Diego won an ADDY award. She was nominated for best actress at the 2015 San Diego Film Awards. She has judged the regional Emmy awards and the annual San Diego Film Festival and serves on the advisory board for “My Power of One" charity.
Australian filmmaker and president of Bad Hat Films (badhatfilms.com.au) David Raynor debuted the short film “We Need To Talk” about youth suicide prevention in 2017. Mr. Raynor received accolades for how he handled this important yet sensitive topic, with thoughtfulness and integrity. The film is being developed into a feature film, with an accompanying book and music video. His other notable, award-winning works include “Hello Tom Sullivan,” “Karlisha and Morgan” and “So This Is It Then.” In 2018, he will direct and produce the French noir inspired feature “Ubiquitous," for which he also wrote the screenplay. He is currently shooting a pilot titled "Boomerang" for US television. Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Mr. Raynor was one of the top names in the global beauty industry.
Debbie Vandermeulen, CEO, Fusion Features, has 24 years of experience successfully working with filmmakers assisting them in turning their story ideas into cinematic entertainment that has proven to be profitable and earn recognition at renowned entertainment festivals, including Cannes, Sundance and Toronto.
Founder of Fusion Features, she has facilitated many aspects of film production and directly participates in all main producing phases, including development and financing to post-productions, marketing and distribution. She is known for creating and utilizing Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) in the UK to aid film projects in generating development and production funds that will provide tax advantages for the investors.
Vandermeulen has producer credits for 10 features. The most recent feature film "Crystal Swan" won the Grand Prize for Works In Progress at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in November 2017 and premiered on Opening Night of East Meets West at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic.
Three time Telly Award-winning filmmaker, Sue Vicory has been creating community-based films and projects within her not for profit production company, Heartland Films, Inc. ((www.heartlandfilm.org) since 2003. Her works include “Homelessness & the Power of One,” feature documentaries “One” and “Kansas City Jazz & Blues; Past, Present & Future” and short films “Absent” and “1898, The W.F. Norman Story. In 2015, she founded Team XX, an all female team of 25 filmmakers that created the award-winning film “Down Stage.” Ms. Vicory is a member of the Los Angeles-based Alliance of Women Directors and creator of the website www.womendocumentaryfilmmakers.com, designed to increase visibility for female filmmakers. She is the creator of the non-profit brand "My Power of One" (MPO1). In 2015 under the MPO1 banner, she filmed a 48 state tour completing "12 Acts of Kindness." A feature titled "Ruby's Heartbeat" based on this journey is currently in the works.