04 Feb 2020 1:05 PM

Filmtrepreneur is a moniker used by filmmaker Alex Ferrari in his podcasts and his book where he explains how to make money from making indie Films.

There is a phenomenal growth in content consumption with new providers entering the market weekly. According to BFI statistics 2019 was the second biggest year for revenue received from the Box office with £1.254 Billion coming through the doors. The market share of independent UK Films in the box office increased slightly in 2019, there was a much larger increase if you include studio backed UK Films. With this wonderful news coming out of the sector why are Filmmakers often having to choose between making films or making ends meet?

The UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) recently hosted an event on Investing in Innovation and Creativity where I got to talk with people who were considering investing in the industry, many of them had a portfolio of investments but none in the creativity industry. It was a revelation to hear several production companies pitch to them.

There was something different going on, these weren’t the kind of pitches I was used to hearing from producers. Not one of them mentioned an individual project or a slate.

These pitches were full of forecast statements and cash flows. Producers were talking about investing in their companies to allow them to hire staff and bring more of the filmmaking process in-house, which would make films cheaper and quicker to make. These pitches were very similar to those you hear from a Tech company during a funding round.

These investors were looking for long term success, they wanted to know the teams behind the businesses. They weren’t interested in investing in a single project, they wanted to hear how you planned to make 4, 5 or 6 projects over the long term. The goal posts have moved and investors in the industry expect more from those they are investing in.

I often hear producers talk about raising money for a single project. This way of raising funds has been made much harder since HMRC changed the rules and have now virtually stopped giving EIS and SEIS advance assurances to production companies. This is backed up by a report on ‘The State of Independent British Film’* published by the BFI in 2018 which concluded ‘the traditional business model for independent film is no longer fit for purpose’.

Long term thinking and building a sustainable profitable company is now essential to a filmmaker’s long-term success.

Creating amazing commercial projects will always be important, but it is now evermore important that you join that with running a company like a true Filmtrepreneur.


*Report by the BFI https://www.bfi.org.uk/sites/bfi.org.uk/files/downloads/bfi-commission-on-uk-independent-film-2018-07-18.pdf