screen for attention

IMG_0668The recent Scottish Film Summit was attended by over 200 professionals from every part of the sector, from festivals and exhibition, to production, direction and distribution.  I chaired the Exhibition Panels and the overarching conclusion was simply that we need more of everything: better production needs more production  and large gaps in exhibition infrastructure exist across Scotland.  More filmmaking and more screens need new routes to investment (such as Sweden’s levy on cinema tickets) and new approaches like the French approach to screenwriting.  There was also an important sub-text around fragmentation.  An established producer reckoned that the panel was the first time that the exhibition side of the sector had explained what they do and how they do it to him.  Exhibitors felt that producers paid scant attention to them and their audiences.  Nobody seemed quite sure who was responsible for horizon scanning and strategising, particularly for digital developments, and there was a plea for co-ordination and even a clash diary.
The appetite for film is a distinctive element of Scottish culture and there are so many examples of great innovation, from Screen Machine to the International Festival that framed the summit.  But at times it felt like we had travelled back half a century with producers washing their hands of audience development, and exhibitors of product development. Yes, we need more to be better, but we also need holism to be effective.


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