The Film Finance Handbook
by Adam P. Davies, Nicol Wistreich, and James MacGregor
Reviewed by Del Harvey
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Upon first glance, The Film Finance Handbook would appear to be nothing more than a series of lists and resources. If you picked this book up in a bookstore and did not give it more than a cursory glance, you would be missing out on a fantastic global resource for filmmakers. Upon cracking open the book and delving into the various chapters on where to seek financing in various countries, or their chapters on the different levels of financing and their take on what funding films is all about, I discovered that this book really does offer a great deal of information for the independent filmmaker which many others have not.
This guide is touted as “complete” and, if fairness, does a pretty good job in the attempt. Although, in all honestly, a truly complete tome on a topic of such depth and scope would undoubtedly take multiple volumes. Still, this particular handbook offers much for the novice as well as for the experienced filmmaker.
The book offers a complete guide to financing your film almost anywhere in the world, whether that film be for the web, or a short film, or even a mainstream international multimillion dollar co-production.
According to the publisher’s press, the book has been compiled by “over 40 experts from six continents have contributed to this exhaustive 480-page how-to and reference guide for filmmakers, producers, funders and advisers.” The information contained within certainly makes the process of seeking funding from the UK clearer—a particular area of interest for me and something I have been looking into for almost a year.
I must admit that this lone example inspires my belief in the publisher’s claims.
In addition, the handbook attempts to explain in a very straightforward manner the myriad forms of production finance. While film production is something of a universal language, the various types and methods of financing do change according to culture and country, and this is a most helpful section of the book. To this end, the handbook also provides in-depth international incentives (tax breaks and public money) for 50 countries, plus dozens of states and regions around the world. And it provides further details for over a thousand funding awards from over 300 sources.
Another extremely timely segment of the book discusses the emerging market of the internet as film studio and, specifically, how to use the web for fund-raising, marketing and distribution. Finally, it provides a number of brief vignettes from working professionals from all levels of the industry.
As a valuable resource for any filmmaker, whether budding or experienced, I highly recommend The Film Finance Handbook.
Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a screenwriter and filmmaker, and currently teaches film and video at Columbia College Chicago.
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