Hub

Here is where you’ll find advice and insights from film directors, producers and distributers, with information on film festivals, funding, budgets, crews, contacts, distribution and more.

Spotlights 4

This episode of The SohoLIFF Spotlights is all about the work of Film London. With Jordan McGarry, Head of Talent Development & Production and Helena Mackenzie, who is Head of Inward Investment & Business Development at Film London.

 

[Recorded 23rd April 2021]

Jordan McGarry 

Jordan McGarry

Jordan is Head of Talent Development & Production at Film London.

Jordan is responsible for Film London’s production and talent development strategy including the agency’s shorts and feature length productions schemes, as well its range of training initiatives.

Helena Mackenzie
 

Helena Mackenzie

Helena is Head of Inward Investment & Business Development at Film London.

Helena manages all matters pertaining to inward investment and business development, playing a key part in securing productions for London’s screen industries and promoting Film London in the international marketplace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotlights 3

This episode of The SohoLIFF Spotlights ​is all about funding and distribution. Liz Farahadi talks to Daria Polunina at Post Production House Molinare and award-winning filmmaker Athena Mandis about their experiences with producing, film development and crowd funding.

 

[Recorded 23rd April 2021]

Daria Polunina 

Daria Polunina

Daria has a diverse background and has seen the film production process from different angles and stages. 

She has been working with Soho’s most recognised Post Production House – Molinare – for over 6 years now and has been on their Board of Directors for over 4 years. 

Daria is also an Executive Producer of an independent British comedy feature LOVE TYPE D, starring Maeve Dermody and Tovah Feldshuh, which premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival in summer 2019. 

On other projects, Daria has been involved with script editing and was a Script Supervisor on a Short.

Her current field of work is Private Equity Investments and M&A.

Athena Mandis 

Athena Mandis

Athena is an award-winning filmmaker and a Lecturer in Film Practice at QMUL. She is preparing for her first feature and building her portfolio to support this endeavour.

This year she has directed two high-end shorts despite the pandemic and continues with the development of Xenos. Losing Grace  has just began to be selected to IFFs. She is working with the Festival Doctor to promote this work.

She is also in post-production with the second short film project Daughter, she is finishing a documentary on Greek Cypriot diaspora in London.

She was a finalist on Enter the Pitch (2020) with her next short film project, The Return, set in Cyprus. Xenos was shortlisted for Sundance Screenwriters Lab 2021. In September 2019 it was selected for the Torino Development Lab and in 2018 it won best script at Cyprus IFF.

Her short film script Fox was shortlisted for both the Blue Cat and Shore Scriptwriting competitions (2017). The film was never made, but served as the seed for Losing Grace. She is currently developing two features; a TV Series  and producing a short film.

 

 

 

 

Spotlights 2

In this episode of The SohoLIFF Spotlights ​ Liz Farahadi interviews Latvian-American filmmaker Helen Alexis Yonov about the success of her short film THE GESTURE AND THE WORD.

 
[Recorded 23rd April 2021]

 

Helen Alexis Yonov

Helen Alexis Yonov is a Latvian-American filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Alexis is the fourth generation of her family to live and work in Hollywood. 

However, she was born in Newport, Rhode Island and, through her father’s Naval career, she grew up in Kuala  Lumpur, Malaysia (1984-86) and Moscow, USSR/Russia (1990-92.) Her experiences living and traveling overseas created an appreciation for different cultures and foreign cinema, which influenced her decision to live in Paris, France from 2011-2018. 

After attending Emerson College in Boston, Alexis moved to Los Angeles in 2002 where she began working as a Set P.A. In 2008, she wrote and directed the award winning short film, THE WEIGHT OF IT. While living in Paris, Alexis worked on several screenplays, one of which she is writing as a novel, as well as directed commercials.


It was during her time in Paris that she found the inspiration to write her short film, THE GESTURE AND THE WORD, which she directed upon her return to Los Angeles. She is currently developing a feature film, THE TIME OF THE WOLVES, which is inspired by her experience during the 2015 attacks in Paris.

 

 

 

 

Spotlights 1

We are thrilled to have these incredible, talented & extremely knowledgeable woman join us for the first episode of The SohoLIFF Spotlights. Here they are sharing their wealth of experience and inside knowledge about getting films into Film Festivals, how, why & which ones and how you go onto get distribution.

Thank you so much Rebekah Louisa Smith, Jenna Suru & Tracey Adlai.

[Recorded 23rd April 2021]

Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith 

Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith

Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith (aka The Film Festival Doctor) was born in Worcestershire, United Kingdom. From humble beginnings working as a Personal Assistant at lots of corporate companies, she worked her way up to become an award-winning consultant and media personality who now has more than 10 years of film festival strategy consulting experience.

After choosing not to pursue a career in Academia teaching film studies, Rebekah began her film industry career in 2009, working as one of the producers of Wales’ most successful national horror film festival; the Abertoir Horror Festival, and during that time began to develop a great knowledge of the film festival business. Which led her to become inspired to start her own innovative company in an industry she loved.

Rebekah and the hard-working team behind her company The Film Festival Doctor are creators of success and are committed to nurturing filmmakers in order to help them secure film festival screenings, win awards, and a positive recognition within the film industry. Currently, her company has won more than 900 awards for their clients and one Oscar nomination. Her team has supported nearly 850 creatives across the world, enlightening and inspiring their journey towards achieving their goals and following their filmmaking dreams.

One of the factors which has led to her success is the blending of both practical business skills and spiritual techniques that infused new life into her company’s growth. She decided to record her hard-won knowledge in her new book Born to Do It: Becoming the Leader of a Business Niche Using Powerful Spiritual Techniques to help others who are pondering the leap into entrepreneurship or are already on the journey, but yearning for more success and profitability.

Jenna Suru

Jenna Suru, Festival Director, Producer, Director, Writer, Actor

Jenna Suru started her career at the International Sales Team of 2 top Distributors in Paris, Gaumont and SND (M6 Group). Jenna has been working for Canneseries (Cannes Series Festival) since the kickstart of its first edition in 2018, managing the relationships with French and International Authors and Producers, and kickstarting the In Development Forum co-organized with MIP Markets in the Palais des Festivals. She has been serving as a very humble Juror on the recent editions of Cinequest and Columbus IFF.

She is the Director of the Paris International Film Festival, which presented in February the International Premiere of Kiss The Ground, the environemental documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson, and Cream, Nóra Lakos’s romantic modern tale, which was recently acquired by HBO.

She produced and stars in her directorial debut period drama L’Âge d’Or  (The Golden Age), London IFF 2020 Opening Night Winner, with an international cast. The Golden Age is her tribute to the world-changing charms of 60s Saint-Tropez, and the last drama every filmed at Notre-Dame Cathedral before the fires. The Golden Age features a 60s soundtrack, including songs from Chuck Berry and Jimmy Reed, and screened for the first time at Cannes in 2019. The film has received multiple awards and honors including at the Columbus IFF in the USA and sold-out the Opening Night of London IFF last March.

With her company Belle Époque Films, she has also produced the sold-out Los Angeles Premiere of Happy, published by Samuel French, and two UK shorts. The first, Spitball, was funded by the Northern Ireland Screen, and the second, Bigger Picture, stars BAFTA‐nominated Robert Sheehan (Misfits, The Umbrella Academy) and Rosie Day (Outlander).

Tracey L. Adla

Tracey L. Adlai

Tracey L. Adlai is a native Angeleno and the Founder of The Valley Film Festival (VFF), the first and longest-running film festival in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, supporting both local and international voices that advance storytelling. She holds a BFA in Film & TV Production from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, has served as Chair of Tisch West Alumni Council, Board of Governors for the Valley Economic Alliance, and is a member of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Citywide Film Task Force.  As an advocate for creatives worldwide, Tracey volunteers her time working with marginalized creative professionals.

is a native Angeleno and the Founder of The Valley Film Festival (VFF), the first and longest-running film festival in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, supporting both local and international voices that advance storytelling. She holds a BFA in Film & TV Production from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, has served as Chair of Tisch West Alumni Council, Board of Governors for the Valley Economic Alliance, and is a member of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Citywide Film Task Force. 

As an advocate for creatives worldwide, Tracey volunteers her time working with marginalized creative professionals.

 

Why film festivals?
The student filmmakers

Laila El Azhary, Eleanor Krawczyk
and Thomas Moore.

Why film festivals?
The award winning filmmakers

William Allam, Merlin Merton, Ed Picard
and Ali Cook.

Why film festivals?
Our judges

Liz Farahadi, Kate Magowan, Chris Fretwell
and Erik Moore.

Some good advice
From the filmmakers

With William Allam, Chris Fretwell
and Eleanor Krawczyk.

The Producer Panel Evenings

The Producer Panel evenings were started back in 2014 at 01zero-one studio in Soho. Unfortunately the first 3 weren’t filmed but we do have panels 3 to 7 which took place back in 2017 and 2018. There’s a lot of great insights into the film business here from producers that are working at the sharp end in all budget areas of film from micro to Martin Scorsese films.

The Producer Panel 3
Making Money from Indie Feature Films

Our expert Producer Panel this talk is Jezz Vernon, Neil Thompson and Bruce Webb and they are discussing ‘With the death of the DVD will Netflix/Amazon Prime make up the gap?

Jezz Vernon
www.portroyal.london

Neil Thompson
www.formosafilms.com

Bruce Webb
www.brucewebb.co.uk

This is the third Producer Panel and it took place on Tues 27th June 2017 at 01zero-one Soho London.

[WARNING: This discussion does contain some ‘adult language’]

The Producer Panel 4
Funding Your Feature Film

This is from Tues 19th Sept 2017 at 01zero-one studio Soho London and is all about where to find the finance for your feature film. There is some colourful language at times but the info is excellent from a very diverse and knowledgeable panel.

ALEXANDRA BOYD and DAN MILNE,
who both produced the feature
WIDOW’S WALK
www.imdb.com

along side two of our regulars guest:

NEIL THOMPSON
www.formosafilms.com

JEZZ VERNON
www.portroyal.london

[WARNING: This discussion does contain some ‘adult language’]

The Producer Panel 5
All about Line Producing

This panel is all about what a Line Producer does and how they can get the most out of your film budget. Some excellent advice from our very experienced panel.

Clare Cahill
www.composmentis.com

Bruce Webb
www.brucewebb.co.uk

The Producer Panel 6
Distribution and Film Festivals

We are joined this time by Rod Smith and Rebekah Louisa Smith.

Rod has many years experience in the film distribution business, previously at Anchor Bay and now producing features and working at Evolution Pictures.

Rebekah is The Film Festival Doctor www.thefilmfestivaldoctor.com

 She has a great track record helping filmmakers promote their films both through the festival circuit and with online promotion.

The Producer Panel 7
Those Special ‘Above the Line’ People.

Producer Panel 7 is all about the stars, those above the Line People at the start of the film credits, the actors, directors, writers etc.

With Neil Thompson www.formosafilms.com

Jami Chan who was Production Co-ordinator on Martin Scorsese’s Silence.

Rod Smith, Producer previously at Anchor Bay and now producing features and working at Evolution Pictures.

[WARNING: This discussion does contain some ‘adult language’]