At ACF we are agnostic about investment sectors, we pride ourselves on finding a specialist in the team. Our Business Development Officer, Zee West, has depth of knowledge and contacts in film investment as well as fintech over and above her day job with us. Below she shares her views, insights and what she enjoyed or not, at Cannes’s film festival 2018.
Normally at this time of year I’d reserve every morning in France for a good walk to the local bakery to buy a delicious croissant and smell the sweet scents of summer flowers in the air, that is, except this is Cannes, the beautiful French Riviera Cote d’Azur town that is the centre of the film industry for about a week in May.
The future of film investment is still very much up for debate and my trip to Cannes’s film festival this year did nothing to change my mind about that.
What I do welcome are the effects of Crowdfunding and Blockchain, which are leading to a democratisation of investment in film. This type of funding is, in one way or another, helping to drive home issues such as equal rights, and equal pay and equal distribution for women. In music Imogen Heap (British songwriter, band member, electronica musician, record producer and audio engineer) has, arguably, already achieved these goals, so why shouldn’t women in film follow her model?
I also continued to observe the tech giants flying, now jet-propelled, into the space. Whilst – Netflix, Amazon and Apple are fighting it out to be the most sort after leaders in content provision, they are being joined by tech founders creating production companies, such as Participant Media…why? Because silicon-valley tech innovation is finding its way into the film space at a pace I have not seen before and pushing an industry rapidly to the forefront of technology adoption – Film is an industry that, in my view, has been notoriously slow to move, both socially and technologically (film loves old tech and adopts new tech slowly, which is how its distribution model go turned on its head before the film industry barely even woke up).
Controversy and politics were heavy on the breeze – #MeToo Campaign continues to take no viral prisoners and 82 women protested on the red carpet. These protesters were creative, assertive, influential women from all over the world making their marks in the sand against gender inequality.
@Netflix came back fighting after falling out with the festival organisers last year over cinema release rules and the pertinence of its Cannes offerings, which lead to an element of festival culture clash in 2017.
We had some fantastic business meetings held at New York New York with newish, London based, independent film investment platform Horizons (launched a £10m production fund for indie film makers in 2017) As ever it was a great opportunity to catch up with producer contacts and, not “as-ever”, to discuss bitcoin at fashionista parties, which also gave me a chance to view some of the 90 metre yachts we are looking at for venues for events at Cannes 2019.
My film review notes – (a very welcome perk of my job)
A handful of noteworthy (for better or worse) films premiered including Terry Gilliam’s The Man who killed Don Quixote. For the hipsters – Under the Silver Lake @UndertheSilverlake, was a return to the postmodern neo-noir classic Hollywood take on pop culture – as far as I could tell it had a bit of a Marmite effect on the viewers. For sci-fi fanatics such as your author here and our MD, Solo A Star Wars Story…did very little to enthuse any audiences.
A few stand outs included Spike Lee’s Black Klansman and the emotionally heavy but beautifully shot Cold War – a biopic of sorts loosely based on the director’s parents’ lives in Poland; Girls of the Sun a true story told from the eyes of a young Kurdish woman leading a battalion to take back her town from extremists; the mysterious Shoplifters – a Japanese film, unfancied, but took a Palme d’Or – the judges were very taken with the ending. @Shopliftersfilm.
The House that Jack Built @TheHousethatJackBuilt was welcomed with mass walkouts, probably because Lars Von Trier insisted on making references to items that made him persona non grata at Cannes in 2011 and also, because well, it’s Lars Von Trier being provocative. And maybe, as the theory of auteur suggests, he was really voicing his own opinions about women and in this film that would probably make Von Trier a misogynist, at best.