News Reel & Blog

Written by Jack Hopkins on 27th September 2017

The 2017 BFI London Film Festival is nearly here and there’s so much in store! The festival has been running since 2004, showcasing incredibly raw and upcoming talent from all over the world. We have attempted the unenviable task of whittling down the huge array of events to just three top picks.

Paddy Considine has jumped behind the camera again for his new film Journeyman. This Inflammable Films production follows the life of a boxing world champion who is coming to the end of his career,  grappling the growing conflict between his own economic stability and physical health. It sees Considine team up with Diarmid Scrimshaw again after their 2011 outing, Tyrannosaur, which displayed a similar level of gritty British realism that struck a chord with critics all over the world.

Jake Gyllenhaal is visiting our sunny shores again to give us an insight into his momentous acting career. His ‘Screen Talk’ session will see him showcase his new film Stronger, as well as discussing his huge portfolio of previous roles. His new role is completely different from the rest as he depicts Jeff Bauman, a survivor of the horrific Boston marathon Bombing. It also marks a shift in genre for director David Gordon Green, who previously dabbled in comedies like Pineapple Express and Your Highness.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has already turned the heads of many critics as it continues to collect impressive ratings across the board. Martin McDonagh (who isn’t afraid of a bit of black comedy) has united with Frances McDormand to portray the darkly comedic story of a bereaved mother who challenges the local police to solve the murder of her daughter. The dark subject matter that McDonagh has become renown for in films like In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, combined with McDormand’s huge experience of eccentric roles has proved to be a winning formula so far with the critics.  

The 2017 BFI London Film Festival runs from Wednesday 4th October – Sunday 15th October. Which films are you looking forward to seeing?

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Written by Daniel Kirby on 11th September 2017

tv production

A recent survey of TV producers by Pact, the trade association representing TV and film companies, has found that a mere 32% of last year's entire UK production budget was spent outside London, prompting questions on what can and should be done to ensure other areas of the country are represented.

One suggestion was proposed by the Conservative party in their manifesto for the last election, in which they pledged that they would relocate Channel 4 outside the capital, with Birmingham thought to be the preferred location.

However John McVay, the chief executive of Pact, has suggested that instead of relocating, the broadcaster should instead spend more outside the capital, with the same requirements as those placed on the BBC, to spread their spending more broadly across the UK.

Pact also recently revealed just how significant international streaming services have been for bolstering UK production revenues, as despite a decline in revenues from domestic production, international commissioning sales grew significantly last year, with Netflix being identified as a major contributor after ordering major UK dramas such as 'The Crown'.

SVOD services such as Netflix and Amazon are undoubtedly a major contributor to the UK film and TV production business, and given that this looks likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future, the UK would surely be wise to capitalise on its broad heritage in order to ensure a diverse slate of programming for viewers on these platforms.

Regional TV shows and films have seen success abroad both recently and historically, with films including Trainspotting (and its sequel) and shows such as Peaky Blinders demonstrating that the presence of a regional accent will not deter international viewers. In fact, UK productions which take place outside of the capital would likely represent a refreshing alternative for many viewers.

A spokesperson at Channel 4 responded to McVay's argument to impose stricter requirements on the broadcaster by explaining that Channel 4 have a strong track record of investing in nations and regions productions, far exceeding Ofcom requirements, and announcing their plans to increase their regional contributions even further.

Clearly these changes can't be made overnight, but most in the industry would welcome a greater share of production activities across the country, and we hope Pact's work will help spur the government and the industry itself into doing more to recognise the value of spreading the country's production activities more widely.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 7th September 2017

katharina feistauer

Searchlight recently caught up with Katharina, who we were able to help secure a placement at Viacom earlier this year. 

As VP of Programming, Katharina is working to drive UK programming strategy and source new content, delivering maximum audience experience across multiple platforms.

What does your typical day look like? 

I spend most of my time meeting with my team and other departments to make sure channel performance is where we need it to be and thinking of new ways to connect to our audience. I also try to spend as much time as possible watching the latest kids' programming, be it our own Nickelodeon content or from other sources.

How have you enjoyed being part of the team?

I'm really enjoying being part of the Nickelodeon team and the Viacom Family. Everyone is extremely knowledgeable and passionate and has been very supportive of a newbie asking lots of questions. 

Do you have any particular highlights from your time so far?

One highlight was definitely attending the Children's Media Conference in Sheffield in my first week. There was face painting and karaoke and a lot of very interesting sessions, a perfect way to familiarise myself with the industry. We also had a Nickelodeon Away Day recently which was a fantastic way to get to know my colleagues!


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