So is it cloudy or bright?
Depends where you’re looking really. That’s the Film Board’s Galway offices in the building on the lower right of that picture. We were in Galway recently for the Galway Film Fleadh. We had some great pitching sessions, it felt good to get out there again...
The industry has a lot of challenges facing it internationally and locally too, given the pressure on government spending. The Board had organised a timely round table discussion called The Real Deal focussing on the impact and implications of digital distribution in the future of film. This follows on from discussion by Mark Gill in LA last year and James Stern this year on the absence of a clear model for a financial future for film makers or distributors. This is of course exactly the same discourse that has already been played out in the music business.
Quite a bit of debate focussed on theatrical distribution and whether independent cinema can survive.
That’s something that I think each of us answers every time we go to a cinema. We sit in that space, where people gather as a group and sit in the dark, to a flickering light, and pay quiet attention as a story unfolds. For me, that space is mythic, deep in our psyche, it’s a fundamental part of being a human.
Given digital options, given that people have a choice whether to download for free at home or go out and pay, the question for theatrical becomes just this... Can it be re-invented so as the experience of it is great, truly great?
Apple have shown that if the experience is great it can work. Enough people, when they have a choice between dodgy and free or easy and paid, will choose easy and paid for a viable business model. The question is not whether theatrical distribution will endure for independent cinema, the question actually is, how great an experience are we providing? How can we improve it? How can we make it truly great?
For us here in Janey, the sky is definitely brightening. For us, the answers lie in being small and nimble, developing great projects, and working in new innovative ways, building and engaging audiences in a rich and deep manner. As film makers it is when we sit with audiences in the dark and go with them on the films journey, sensing them rise and fall with the story. Or when we read their emails, twitter posts, or YouTube comments that the work ultimately becomes rewarding. For us it’s all about the audience. We seek to embrace digital technologies, which will come as no surprise to those who know us. And we’re planning some exciting projects which focus on audiences over the coming months.