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There were a handful of Welsh films being talked about in Berlin. Imagine my surprise when, amongst various film marketing materials scattered around the market, I saw this one sheet for a horror film.

pontypool

Turns out it’s from Canada, and based on a book.

For some reason, I can’t find the title in the least bit scary, but then again, I’ve never actually been to Pontypool. Who knows what lies in wait for the ignorant visitor passing through?

Have a good Friday 13th.

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Written by Matthew Redd

February 13, 2009 at 9:00 am

You Gotta Go There To Come Back

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I arrived in Berlin a day later than planned. With both Severn bridges closed on Friday, I took the train to Bristol and then a taxi to the airport, as the bus wasn’t running because of the snow. I was sat in the bar when my flight’s status changed from ‘delayed indefinitely’ to ‘cancelled’. A refund was promised, with no alternative flights available. Back to Cardiff via bus and train.

The next day, we caught the lunchtime flight from East Midlands airport over to Berlin and arrived there mid-afternoon, having already missed a meeting with a sales agent, the screening of the only film I planned to see, and meeting up with that film’s director. Sorting out the accreditation was easy, despite my debit card being declined. My inclusion on the list of attendees finally justified.

berlinlisting1

The market at Berlin is a much more compact version of Cannes. It all takes place in two buildings, and I get the impression that there are a lot fewer people there without business to do. I’ve wandered around Cannes without a real agenda and just taken in the atmosphere, but there didn’t seem to be anyone doing that in Berlin. Turning up here without any meetings or contacts would be a waste of time and money.

Despite missing a day, we had just enough time to do what we needed to do. We met a few sales agents, pitched Avoiding Christian Bale and showed the trailer and some scenes to interested parties. We also met up with the people behind Raindance, and had some advice from the Head of Production at Screen Yorkshire, who happened to be sat next to me on the flight out. From what we were told, I’m hopeful that ACB will have a good run in festivals and has a decent chance of finding an audience in the UK and abroad.

Even though we’re being told independent film is in crisis in terms of both finance and distribution, there seemed to be a lot of business going on in Berlin. Sales agents were more than happy to tell us about the sales they were making, some people were prepared to talk figures and I learned a lot more about what makes a film ‘sellable’. There are people out there to buy your film if you can get it made.

I missed out on both parties that we blagged invites to because of arriving late and leaving quite early, and I left Vivien in Berlin, catching the train back out to the airport late on Monday. My flight to Bristol was delayed, and it seemed like every other passenger on the flight was an extra from Skins returning from a school trip. We were airborne quickly enough, and twenty minutes before we were due to land, the captain announced that because of the snow on the runway at Bristol, we would be redirected… to Cardiff.

A quick taxi ride and I was in bed within an hour of getting off the plane. Einfach klasse.

Ich Bin Ein Berliner

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I’ll be heading over to Germany in the first weekend of February for a few days at the Berlin Film Festival*. I’m hoping to meet a lot of new people and see a few people I’ve already met when I’m out there, and it’s another great opportunity to learn more about the industry and raise awareness of the projects that we’re developing at Tornado. I’ve been to Berlin a few times as a tourist and when on tour with bands, and it’s a great city to visit, so I’m looking forward to it. Vivien will be there as well, so I’m sure we’ll be talking about Avoiding Christian Bale with a lot of people, and we plan to take a few scenes with us on DVD to start the sales drive.

If you’re over there yourself, drop me an email.

Following on from this post, the Oscar nominations were obviously announced this week and I’m shocked to see no nomination for Michael Sheen. There’ll be riots on the streets of Port Talbot.

Have a great weekend.

*Notice to Would-be Burglars: I have an extensive CCTV setup running in conjunction with a comprehensive alarm system in my flat. No point even trying.