Report – Green Shoots in Children’s and Family Films
The session illustrated strategies of making children’s and family films outside the studio system
- A dearth of lower- and mid-budget family fare films in the UK as the film industry is risk-averse
- The British film industry, including big studios, is supportive of Indie films
- Indie films can gain funding and audience interest through release at festivals and school screenings, tie-ups with book publishers and the making of shorts
Nicole Carmen-Davies, UK Indie Producer, defined ‘family films’ as films which depict a beautiful world that children can relate to. Such films need to be aesthetically layered so that they appeal not only to the targeted age group but to a wider audience. These films must inspire child-like wonder in adults. Their short film, ‘Litterbugs’ has helped them to finance their feature film.
Ansgar Ahlers, Producer/Director, ForeSeeSense, outlined his ten year struggle to make ‘Bach in Brazil’, an award-winning film, still playing in cinemas after 15 weeks of release. The film was co-produced by NFP, Germany and Disney, Brazil. The theme of the film as well as the sub-titles in German and Portuguese, posed part of the problem. The funding nightmare was compounded by differing regulations in both countries.
Phil Parker, Co-founder, BCr8ve, who has worked alongside Ahlers in this project, emphasised that the primary challenge was the non-existence of a market for this kind of film.
Pauline Burt, Chief Executive, Film Cymru/Wales, shared her conviction for public funders to stimulate the market with seed funding. In the last decade, the cost and difficulty of reaching kids has been a constraint in making these films. However, social media can be employed to reach out to the family audience. Filmcymru/Wales has developed a partnership with Chicken House. They have prepared a long list of books that could be turned into films through engaging with children at library events.
Film Cymru Wales
Mighty Atom Entertainment
Creative Director, Scripted, Animation and Co-Productions