Ask a Lawyer: The Business of Filmmaking – Upcoming Panel at OIFF

Producing a feature film is not easy.

While the actual days or weeks in production can be exhilarating, the months or years trying to raise the money and put the cast and crew together requires, among many other skills, patience, creativity, and thick skin.

Once the film is made, showing it to friends, family, cast and crew can be rewarding. Trying to promote your film amidst all the noise, submitting to festivals, finding the right sales partner, reaching your audience, paying yourself, getting the investments recouped, and all of the other challenges, can be very stressful and frustrating.

There’s good news. Each film produced produces life lessons that should make your next project that much stronger. There’s even better news. The production community, for the most part, is very open about sharing their insights.

On Saturday, October 17 from 11 am to 12:30 pm at Lansdowne Cineplex, Edwards PC, Creative Law is organizing a panel about the business of filmmaking with four experienced feature film producers. The panel is one of several industry sessions at this year’s Ottawa International Film Festival.

The panel will cover topics from how to raise money to how to spend it properly, with a production in the $100,000 to $200,000 budget range in mind. We’ll dive into topics about raising money – what sources of funding, from private financiers to the funding agencies, truly are seeking when they’re considering projects to fund. As for how to spend your money, a key component is casting, and we’ll go beyond the simple equation that more money for an actor equals higher sales.

The panelists are:

  • Karen Harnisch (http://www.filmforge.biz) – Her latest feature Sleeping Giant, directed by Andrew Cividino, premiered in Cannes, andwon the 2015 Best First Feature Award at TIFF.
  • Michael Baker (Bunk 11 Pictures) – He’s produced more than a dozen films, including Penthouse North (Michael Keaton and Michelle Monaghan) and is a partner in the North American distribution company levelFILM.
  • Laura Perlmutter (http://www.firstlovefilms.com) – She’s an award winning film, TV and digital media producer whose latest features are Don’t Get Killed in Alaskaand A Trip to the Island.
  • Thomas Michael (http://www.fellafilms.com) – He’s a writer, actor and producer whose films range from Hank and Mike to Running Mates. His film Backcountry (Eric Balfour and Missy Peregrym) premiered at TIFF and was released theatrically by IFC Midnight.

Karen and Laura are coming in from Toronto. Thomas grew up in the national capital region, and is flying in from Los Angeles. Michael is from Ottawa, lives in Ottawa, and according to Thomas, likely has an “I Love Ottawa” t-shirt which he may or may not wear at the panel.

This column is named ASK A LAWYER. This lawyer’s advice is that receiving business insight from experienced producers will help get your next project more money, and reach more people. At that point, you too can play it forward.

More info: oiff.ca

Byron Pascoe is a lawyer with Edwards PC, Creative Law. This boutique law firm provides legal services to Film, TV, Digital Media, Animation, Game, Music and Software and industry clients. For more info and blogs, please visit www.edwardslaw.ca

© 2018 Edwards PC

* This column is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Please contact Edwards PC, Creative Law or another lawyer, if you wish to apply these concepts to your specific circumstances.



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