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small-0955014328The global best-selling guide to film finance.

For the last 2007/08 edition of the Film Finance Handbook, over 40 experts from six continents contributed. Now available digitally, in DRM-free ePub, Kindle and PDF versions, it covers:

  • All forms of film finance explained in short accessible articles;
  • In-depth international incentives (tax breaks and public money) for 50 countries (and dozens of states and regions), written in collaboration with the legal experts in each country, in language that makes sense to the rest of us;
  • Details of 1000 funding awards from over 300 bodies;
  • The internet as a film studio - how to use the web for fund-raising, marketing and distribution;
  • Cutting budgets, a guide to microbudget and low-fi digital techniques;
  • Dozens of case studies and interviews, including Oscar-winning producer Jeremy Thomas (The Last Emperor), crowd-funding pioneer Jim Gilliam (Brave New Films), Susan Buice and Arin Crumley (Four Eyed Monsters), Roy Disney, Gus van Sant, Nik Powell (head of NFTS and legendary producer), Lance Weiler and Paul Haggis (Crash).

Contents

The Handbook is split into three parts, each roughly taking a third of the book.

Part I, Theory and Practice, takes you through all the aspects of independent film finance, and includes various case studies and interviews throughout. 

  • Chapter 1: Getting Started gives an overview of the film industry, with essential background information and advice on how to prepare yourself and your project in the best way to attract finance.
  • Chapter 2: Low & Micro-budget Filmmaking looks predominantly at ways to reduce budgets for low and microbudget films - while still putting the maximum value onto the screen - through tips, interviews and case studies with independent filmmakers.
  • Chapter 3: Production Financing describes in-depth all the various aspects of production financing. It explains the types of financier that tend to provide funding, what type of deal they want in return, how they need to interconnect with each other, and what needs to happen for the film to turn a profit. We cover step-by-step the entire range of film finance currently available, including Soft Money, Equity, Deferments, Pre-Sales, Gap, Sales Advances, Negative Pick-ups, EIS and Venture Capital, Sponsorship and Product Placement. We also illustrate the roles of the various other companies integral to the financing process, including Sales Companies, Distributors, Discounting Banks, and Completion Guarantors.
  • Chapter 4: The Internet explores how tools, networks and services on the web collectively offer the independent filmmaker great power for financing, marketing and distributing their films, and some of the ideology which underpins these developments. We're pleased to say this chapter was talking about crowd-funding long before Kickstarter and IndieGoGo launched!

Part II, International Incentives, provides information on incentives for 50 countries, in many cases written together with local specialists. We cover all the popular countries in depth, and bring to your attention a number of others with attractive and interesting regimes.

Part III, Funding Directory provides a full breakdown of 1,000 public funds available from over 300 organisations around the globe. Wherever possible, we include details on their criteria, objectives and (most importantly!) the amounts they are willing to provide.

Reference section also provides

  • 400-term glossary of financing and film business jargon
  • Sample delivery schedule
  • International co-production treaty table
  • Recoupment schedule
  • Table of financing contracts
  • Further reading
  • Internaitonal producer organisations

Case studies and interviews

Interviews and case studies with producers, financiers and filmmakers include (in order of appearance):

  • Jeremy Thomas, Producer, Recorded Picture Company, Dream Machine
  • Paul Haggis, Writer & director, Crash & Million Dollar Baby   
  • Nik Powell, co-founder Virgin, Palace Pictures, Scala & head of NFTS 
  • Nicole Kassell, writer & director, The Woodsman  
  • Lance Weller, Head Trauma 
  • Wendy Bevan Mogg, short film producer 
  • Jan Dunne and Elaine Wickham, director & producer of Gypo, Ruby Blue
  • Gus van Sant, director, Elephant
  • Patty Jenkins, Writer/director, Monster
  • Amanda Posey, producer, Fever Pitch
  • Jon Williams, writer/director, Diary of a Bad Lad
  • Neil Oseman, writer/director, Soul Searcher 
  • Alex Ferrari & Sean Falcon, Broken 
  • Chris Kentis & Laura Lau, Open Water 
  • Adrian Mead, Night People 
  • Alison Peebles, Afterlife 
  • Kenneth D Barker, Kingdom 
  • Gene Cajayou, The Debut 
  • Zack Coffman & Scott Di Lalla, Choppertown, the sinners 
  • Scott Pehl, Curiosity  
  • Susan Buice & Arin Crumley, Four Eyed Monsters  
  • Paul Andrew Williams, London to Brighton  
  • Mira Nair, director, Vanity Fair, Working with a studio   
  • Jacqueline Swanson, Checkout Girl, Product placement   
  • Roy Disney, former Chairman, Walt Disney Corp, the Studio   
  • Janey de Nordwall Silver Films, Business angels   
  • David Thompson, then head of BBC Films
  • Jim Gilliam, producer, Brave New Films, co-founder Nation Builder
  • Matt Hanson, producer, Swarm of Angels, co-founder OneDotZero
  • Ashvin Kumar, the Forrest

How old is it?

This third edition book was first published in 2007 and reprinted with minor updates in 2008. Funding awards and tax regimes change all the time (even in the gap between finishing writing and getting the books back from the printers in 2007). Of the 460 printed pages to the book, over 200 are articles, guides, how-tos, case-studies, resources and interviews that should still be relevent. The other 260 pages are a mixture of info on film funds and legal incentives for different countries. Much fund information will have changed so we would advise - as ever - to check for the latest info before making any plans. 

What does it look like?

Click on the humbnails to see a larger version.

PDF version

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ePub version

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Kindle version

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Get all three versions as a bundle for £14 (UK and non EU only).

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Why we created this book

I started putting film funds online at the end of 1999 because as a young film student I was struggling to understand the complex and mysterious world of film finance and rights sales. Excited by how the Internet could improve things for filmmakers, I quit university with Tom Fogg and we set up Netribution.

We put a free film funding guide up on our site, which was partly based on Chris Chandler's excellent Lowdown leaflet for the BFI. It gradually got expanded - Stephen Salter updated it considerably and Focal Press offered us a book deal. In the end we decided to self publish with Shooting People, who funded and promoted the first edition, co-written with Caroline Hancock - Get Your Film Funded covering the UK ('the banana book').

In 2005, after leaving Shooting People, the book returned in partnership with Adam P Davies under Netribution and was updated a third time in 2007 as a global edition, in partnership with dozens of lawyers and writers around the world with info on 50+ regions. It nearly killed us to create - but was a breakthru book, nothing had covered global film finance in such depth before.

Over three editions, and with some 11,500 copies sold, I've tried to hold true to some basic ideas:

1 - No glass ceiling of knowledge: all information for everyone
There are many levels of filmmaking - from no-budget shorts, to bootstrapped micro-documentaries through to big-budget international co-porducitons. A filmmaker in their career may move between any of these places. Someone just starting could learn as much about high-end packaging, as someone at a big budget level can learn about micro-budgets. Some people suggested we should create two books - a 'high-end' and 'low-end' but this two-tier film industry seems to becoming less relevent: we all make moving image and want an audience, whatever the budget.

2 - Keep it affordable: one day free?
It has also been suggested that we should just make a £150 book for 'serious producers', and while we might be richer if we did, the motivation has never been to do this book for profit: it's to make enough money to create something good, while leaving me some spare time (and inspiration) to write and make the odd film. So it's integeral to the book that it should be affordable to people at all income levels - anywhere in the world. The goal of making it free is a long way off - we can't do it all unpaid - but as we start to move back online, more of it could be available free.

3 - Get the best writers and proven case studies
I can't pretend to be a successful producer - I'm a writer and aspiring filmmaker trying to understand how to fund films in the digital age. So my focus is on working with the best people - and we have been lucky with this book to get input from some world-class film finance advisers and outstanding writers. On the last edition, as well as seasoned financier and lawyer Adam P Davies - who co-wrote and helped publish it, we had local guides written by dozens of experts and lawyers around the world, backed up with case studies and interviews spanning from Jeremy Thomas, Roy Disney & Nik Powell to Lance Weiller, Jim Gilliam & Jan Dunn. In getting such a breadth of insight and inspiration into a book we hopefully get the best in thinking across the film world. This can throw up interesting things: in the 2007 edition we profiled - before Kickstarter & Indiegogo - a feature that had crowdfunded over email; and another that went on to be YouTube's first streamed-feature film, which made back its budget through adverts.

The motivation for doing all this now is the same as in 1999 - it's a question I want to know the answer to: how do you fund a film in this landscape? How do you make a business around your ideas to be able to keep on making films without jeopardising your creativity and freedom?

Of course, on one level, you just should grab a DSLR or camera phone and start making something. But how to progress beyond that? Much knowledge has been kept in closed circles and subject to expensive advisers and courses, so we've tried to put as much as we can in one book for around the price of a night at the cinema.

Nic Wistreich, editor, Film Finance Handbook/Kit

Film is a tyranny, and the tyrant is money. The great thing is that, in spite of that, impossibly, some people keep on smuggling out messages of hope from the other side, past the tyrant. I mean, there shouldn't be one good movie made given the way it's structured, and yet there are many good movies made. That seems to be implausible and marvelous at the same time

Writer of Australia, Richard Flanagan

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Previous supporters include:

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I read your book cover to cover… great insights & significant clarity on a very complex subject.

Duncan Cork, CEO Slated.com

An indispensable guide

BBC Film Network

Producers should arm themselves with this comprehensive, well written guide.

Tim Adler, former editor, Screen Finance & Deadline Hollywood London

You can't think about funding without it

Chris Jones, Director, author & head of London Screenwriters Festival