Wednesday, 11 November 2015

11th of November

Good news this morning. Following our TV broadcast of our film (CONCERTO – A BEETHOVEN JOURNEY) the CD box set of Leif Ove Andsnes’ Beethoven Journey has gone to number one in the UK charts.  That’s wonderful – above all because it means more and more people are hearing  the wonderful performances by Leif Ove and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.   The film went out on BBC4 a few days ago and received quite a  respectable audience figure.   We had limited marketing support so we were pleased to see just how many of you managed to find the film and watch it.  We were particularly delighted with the number of very positive comments that we received. As the marketplace gets more and more congested, marketing becomes even more vital.  If folk don’t know your film is on – or aren’t drawn to see it through articles or ads – you don’t stand a chance.  The question is with limited funds where do you focus your attention? Do we focus on arts journalists or social media, flyers or quarter-page ads in magazines?   It’s not uncommon for films to spend as much on the marketing as the production itself.  Can you imagine how much the latest Bond film Spectre spent?  Anyway, we do what we can.  Next up we have the cinema release to plan for in Norway, USA, Canada, Poland, Australia and New Zealand….and then more after that.  They are limited releases to independent cinemas, largely.  I actually think it’s one of the best films I’ve directed so I want people to see it! Or perhaps more importantly, hear it!   I had a whistle-stop to the USA last week and did a couple of screenings – people were absolutely knocked out by Leif Ove’s performance and character.

Of course, as ever, our main focus as a company is EXHIBITION ON SCREEN.  We had a super Season 3 launch at the National Gallery on Monday morning.  Xavier Bray the curator took our 80 guests (largely press) around the exhibition and then we showed some clips of the season ahead. Many kind words were spoken about the films and the ambition in general but words are one thing, actions another.  

GOYA – VISIONS OF FLESH AND BLOOD is the first film to be released (180 cinemas in the UK) so let’s hope that gets us off to a good start. My colleague David Bickerstaff directed it and I think he’s every bit an artist too.   It’s a super exhibition – and once again a credit to a curator (and his support at the National Gallery) to manage to get so many loans.  It’s easy to take that for granted but every painting that comes from abroad is a story of persistence.  Some have never been to the UK before and maybe won’t again.  That alone is good reason to visit the show (or see the film).  I think the film works well because we take the story well outside the gallery walls – especially to extensive and sometimes privileged filming in Spain. It’s a fascinating story & biography.

As is the film I personally have just finished about Renoir.  I won’t begin to tell you the fuss we’ve had deciding on whether the film should be RENOIR – REVERED AND REVILED or RENOIR – REVILED AND REVERED.  We’re going with the former and which ever way you cut it what it reflects is that this is an artist that provokes extreme reactions both for and against.  There has been a campaign with the childish title of #RenoirSucksAtPainting .  Childish but effective. The international coverage of this handful of people in Boston has been remarkable.  Our response is simple: it’s not for us to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t like but, before making up your mind about Renoir, watch the film.  That’s all we film-makers try to aspire to: to give you the information to come to informed decisions.

Well, that’s all for today.  I hate to boast but tomorrow I’m off to Beijing!

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