We were thrilled to support three feature films screening in Toronto International Film Festival this year; Giselle, White Lies and Beyond The Edge.
Beyond The Edge, written and directed by Leanne Pooley and produced by Matthew Metcalfe, was named runner-up in the People's Choice Award for Documentary. This was the second triumph in this class for Leanne Pooley whose Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls won the award in 2009.
Giselle also premiered at the festival with New York-based ballet star Gillian Murphy travelling to Toronto for the event and White Lies enjoyed capacity audiences at all three of its screenings.
A number of filmmaker events, training and networking opportunities run in conjuction with the festival. This year Robin Laing and Fiona Copland attended the Co-production Lab in Toronto (pictured) and Fiona also attended the International Financing Forum.
Here are some of Robin's thoughts:
In September I was fortunate to be selected to attend the Co-Production Lab in Toronto. This European Film Promotion (EFP) / Ontario Media Development Corporation initiative has been running for five years for selected groups of experienced European and Canadian producers and this year for the first time both New Zealand and Australia were invited to send two producers from each territory.
For three days we attended presentations and forums relating to financing and co-production as well as pitching and strategic financing sessions for our individual projects. Just as effective as the formal sessions was the time we spent together getting to know each other and cooking up collaborations and opportunities to continue the relationships. Canadian and European filmmakers are far more experienced at co-producing than we are in New Zealand, they have a wealth of up to date information to share and are constantly on the lookout for partners.
For me the Lab was an unqualified success. Two projects were advanced as a result of attending and I have 23 new friends and colleagues from across Canada and 12 European territories.
Here are Fiona's thoughts on the International Finance Forum:
The International Finance Forum Toronto was probably my best market experience ever. It’s a huge privilege to have meetings, every 20 minutes for two days, with people who actually have money and can actually help finance your film.
IFF is run by the Ontario Media Development Corporation and is similar in format to 37 South in Melbourne, CineMart in Rotterdam and No Borders in New York. Selected projects are included in a dossier that is sent in advance to the execs attending. They identify the projects that interest them and IFF schedules the meetings. It is such a different experience from cold calling - nothing like a dose of confidence to sharpen the pitch. There was also an advantage in having recently come from 37 South, and the Toronto Co-production Lab. Practice made presentation a lot smoother; it was starting to feel natural to be there.
I found that despite the difficult market there’s a lot of interest in our films, and good people really do want to work with us. The whole world is having trouble getting films up and so pooling resources is a logical way forward. The proviso though is that we have a brilliant script, a director of proven talent, a marketable cast and a really low budget. No problem.