Aspiring filmmakers and TV series creators from across the West Midlands will have the chance to pitch story ideas to executives from leading international production companies at the inaugural Birmingham Film Market next week.
Senior representatives from 12 top companies including Sony Pictures, the producers of the Spider Man, Resident Evil and Peter Rabbit film series, and Red, the makers of acclaimed TV series such as Happy Valley and It’s A Sin, will receive proposals from 55 delegates at the event, to be held at The Grand Hotel on Friday November 26.
Birmingham Film Market organisers hope the event, the first to be staged in the UK’s second city, will help kickstart investment in Midlands-based productions and grow support for local talent. They also hope it will increase opportunities for under-represented voices in the region.
Backed by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and Kidulthood and Tomb Raider actress Jaime Winstone, organisers want to give people with talent who would not normally get to meet top-level industry bosses the chance to offer ideas for producing compelling films and TV series.
People with creative concepts which they hope can be developed will have the chance to outline their ideas face to face with decision makers.
In a speed networking pitch event, each delegate will have 10 minutes to present their ideas to five executives from production and distribution companies in turn, all lined up by the organisers based on a matchmaking criteria.
Executives will then be able to follow up the ideas they would like to see developed, which the Film Market team hope will bring new voices to the fore.
The full list of companies taking part includes Bank Side Films, Curzon Films, Creative England, Goldfinch First Flights, Independent Entertainment, Sony Pictures, Bad Wolf Studios, Broke & Bones, Portopia Productions, Red Production Company, Merman Productions, Acorn TV.
Also in attendance will be Johann Grech, who leads the Malta Film Commission and is the CEO of the Malta Film Studios. As Malta Film Commissioner, Johann is flying over to meet the aspiring filmmakers and senior executives to talk about the advantage of filming in Malta.
The organisers say the first event is the first step in a five year plan to realise a long term vision to raise the profile of the Midlands within the global film and TV industries.
Louise Osbourne, an actress and film maker, set up the Birmingham Film Market with Sophie Ivanova and Mellissa Donello. Louise said: “It is hard for emerging regional talent to get their projects developed, financed and produced. The Birmingham Film Market was created by three female film-makers to encourage gatekeepers to see the opportunities first-hand.
“We feel strongly that people from the region should not have to go to London or other cities to progress, but we recognise that we needed to invite people in the industry to see the talent and possibilities of setting productions here.
“We want to build connections and create opportunities, injecting fresh and inclusive voices into the industry, while stimulating growth and investment.”
Actress Jaime Winstone, a partner for the Birmingham Film Market, which has been organised in conjunction with Birmingham Film Festival, said: “It’s very important to expand creative hubs that are so full of talent, such as the Birmingham film and music scene. There are so many doors to be opened and so much talent to be explored.”
Steven Knight, whose series Peaky Blinders has proved a hit with audiences around the world, will present an award in his name to a first time writer or film-maker aged 50 or over with a Birmingham-based story about the immigrant story in the West Midlands.
Birmingham-raised Steven Knight, who wrote the screenplay for Spencer, the film based on the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, which is currently in cinemas, said: “I’m always thrilled to be able to help new writers from my hometown to get a break. It’s a tough world but all the entrants I’ve read have got what it takes to make it.”
Those aspiring creatives applied to be part of the first Birmingham Film Market. As well as delegates from the West Midlands, who make up the majority, the event will attract talent from across the UK.