The Production Finance Market (PFM) event that takes place annually during the London Film Festival is one of the premier film financing events in the country, bringing filmmakers, producers and other stakeholders together to foster collaboration and work towards making potential financing deals for projects.
However, this year’s event is going to go online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with large gatherings likely to be restricted well into the second half of the year. This is a trend that is being seeing globally and across sectors, with a lot of events and services moving online in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
Some of the biggest and most influential activities, such as sports and gambling, have had to look at online alternatives to keep their customers engaged, with online esports and online casino rising in popularity during the various lockdowns, and the entertainment and movie business is no different, as streaming services see a lot of people signing up in order to have some form of entertainment during this time.
The London Film Festival is yet to confirm its own plans of how it will host this year’s event, but the PFM has gone ahead and announced that it will be a virtual event this year, to be conducted from October 12-13 2020. Film London, which is the screen agency which organizes the PFM, has announced that applications for the event are open now, and that it will be adopting some of the practices and outcomes seen through its Games Finance Market event, which was also held virtually earlier this year in March.
Adrian Wootton, the CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission, is confident that this approach will allow for greater international participation, while the event itself will be extremely important in this year especially, as more and more companies face financing problems and there is likely to be a significant slowdown in the economy in the near future, impacting the ability of filmmakers to be able to source financing for their projects. Thus, the PFM is vital as an event where the relevant parties can be introduced and can work towards potential production agreements, and so Film London was determined to host the event this year, even virtually if need be as they are doing now.
As part of the event, American producer and filmmaker James Schamus is scheduled to participate in a live interview and a Q&A session. He is known for his award-winning work as a screenwriter (The Ice Storm), producer (Brokeback Mountain) and director (Indignation). He has experience running a production company as the former CEO of Focus Features, and now has his own venture, Symbolic Exchange.
The PFM has two strands, with the main strand accommodating projects with a budget of over €1 million, with the New strand for projects budgeted below that amount. Additionally, the event is set to be attended by a number of the event’s European and global partners, with the likes of the Netherlands Film Commission, Creative Europe Media Desk Catalunya, Canada’s Ontario Creates/International Financing Forum and South Africa’s National Film and Video Foundation all having representatives at the PFM this year.
The PFM is an extremely important event, especially this year, for filmmakers to find the money to be able to bring their vision to life on screen. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing a lot of economic damage in addition to the healthcare crisis, it is more important than ever that people come together to collaborate and put forward proposals and ideas to London TV production companies so that more and more people are able to get their films made and thus able to fulfill their dreams, as well as those of the cast and crew.