International Buyers Praise Return of London Screenings | New

International buyers gave a generally positive response to the three-day London Screenings event held this week at Picturehouse Central from June 21-23, hosted by Film London.

“It was great to catch up after Cannes to get a broader picture of what’s coming out of the UK,” said Anna Lindstrom, acquisitions manager at Stockholm-based Lucky Dogs.

Lindstrom confirmed she made an acquisition at the event for a film she discussed at Cannes.

British titles that have been buzzing include Aisha, the Irish asylum drama by Frank Berry, starring Letitia Wright and Josh O’Connor, which premiered in Tribeca and sold by Cornerstone; New feature doc coming soon from Mark Cousins My name is Alfred Hitchcocksold by Dogwoof, and Bankside drama The rebel and the hippocampus, with Rebel Wilson.

Romantic comedy The Swearing Jar, starring Kathleen Turner and sold by Metro International Entertainment, Cannes title by Mark Jenkin Enys Men by Mark Jenkin, sold by Protagonist, and sci-fi thriller Deus, sold by Darkland Distribution, also had admirers.

“The films have been of good quality but we haven’t acquired anything as we are not looking for a finished product at the moment,” said Tobias Seiffert, head of international acquisitions and co-productions at Berlin-based Tobis Films. “London Screenings is an integral part of my schedule and is always a fantastic event to catch up on films we didn’t see at Cannes and a chance to meet sales agents with more time.”

On the pre-sales front, Film Seekers reported strong buyer interest in feel-good dramas Pizza with love, with Colin Morgan and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers.

Silver Mountain’s The Guinness Girl, the screen adaptation of Maria McAteer’s play. Set in 1970s Newcastle, this is an autobiographical story about Ireland’s first black world champion dancer. It will be directed by Len Collin.

However, some buyers balked at the prices charged by sales companies. “There are still sales companies who think there was never a pandemic when they hear the asking prices.” said Jean Heijl, president of Amsterdam-based J&J Films.

Meetings or movies

Most attendees welcomed BFI’s Coming Soon showcase, presented by Mia Bays, Director of the BFI Film Fund. Robert Morgan’s Horror Photo stop-motion, produced by Blue Light and sold by Wild Bunch International, seem to particularly pique the curiosity of buyers.

Some wondered about the balance between screenings and encounters. “If you have meetings, you can’t see movies,” J&J’s Heijll said, suggesting one day for meetings and two days for showings.

A national rail and underground strike in London on Tuesday did not affect most international shoppers, who had arrived in London on Monday, but the number of UK shoppers at screenings that day was reportedly down.

Some UK sales agents booked hotels to ensure they could make it to the event. Others “fought on”, according to Helena Mackenzie, head of foreign investment and business development at Film London.

Distributors in town for the screenings included M2 Films from Poland, Twelve Oaks Pictures and Inopia from Spain; Teodora and Blue Swan from Italy, X Verleih from Germany J&J Films and One2See Movies from the Netherlands, and Renaissance Media and Cineplex from Canada. Beirut-based Phenicia Pictures was one of the few buyers present from the Middle East. There was a good turnout despite the fact that the event coincided with a similar German screenings event being held in Munich.

In light of another railway strike on Thursday, some of the airport-bound shoppers faced difficult journeys, but organizers organized carpools to share the cost of taxi rides.

UK sales companies said the screenings were very useful as a post-Cannes event.

“I’ve spent three days being able to have proper conversations with distributors in over 20 territories and we’re growing our sales at Cannes,” said Nicole Mackey, sales manager at Hanway Films.

Anna Krupnova

Anna Krupnova, co-managing director of London-based sales team Reason8 says the right people are in town to pursue pre-sales on the new UK title The Ripper Ghost, directed by David Creed.

“There will hopefully be some business to finish as all of the conversations have been mostly with decision makers, which is what we’re still trying to achieve,” she said.

Bankside screened two films: The almond and the seahorse and documentary on senior tennis, Silver Servers “It was very positive,” said Bankside chief executive Stephen Kelliher. “We had great turnouts for both films.”

The organization of the London Screenings met with unanimous approval and can be summed up by Caroline Couret-Delègue, head of sales and acquisitions at the British sales company Film Seekers.

“We were thrilled that so many buyers returned to attend the event and the positivity was palpable,” she said. “The Film London team outdid themselves this year with a fantastic oh-so-British garden party last night in the Inner Temple. And amazing historical place and fantastic reception.

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