Quick trip to Sundance 2017

This year I was invited to the Sundance Film Festival to hold a couple of meetings and talk about the new types of financing that are increasingly common in the industry. It was a great trip and I had the opportunity to meet great people and squeeze in some friends and colleagues from Sweden.

 
sundance film festival
 

This year I didn't have time to watch any screenings but next year will be a ski and film festival, Park City is a perfect spot to both ski and work. Highly recommended film festival as well, just make sure to book in everything advance! The demand is extremely high before, during and after the festival.

Take a look at the films that were shown this year. 2018 will probably be much more around VR and AR, this year had a lot of new tech companies present, I haven't seen that before so it was a welcomed addition and I believe it will stay like that in the future. However, it is and should still be a film festival so as long as it won't be another tech festival or gathering I will be fine.

swedish snus store Fika.jpg
 
Daniel Bramme - Sundance Film Festival 2017

Daniel Bramme - Sundance Film Festival 2017

 

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The assembly bill 1839 - Status report

The economy and the Film & TV industry in California had a big win in January 2015 when bill 1839 was enacted. In this report I'm going to explain the bill and present an overview to see how and if the economy have changed since the start of 2015. The California Film commission released an extensive report a month ago; I've been reading it to see what can be presented here as a way of explaining the positive sides of how the industry was affected after it was approved. In the longer perspective we (I) hope Sweden will approve a tax rebate for foreign productions filmed in Sweden, my opinion is that we, Sweden, lose qualified productions and with that income which is extremely valuable to the community and industry.

Click here for my first post about Bill 1839 and click here for the post when Bill 1839 was approved.

 

The Bill

So what is bill 1839 all about? AB 1839 is designed to increase funding and eligibility for California’s Film & Television Tax Credit Program to make the state more competitive in attracting and retaining projects. During the years productions moved to other states because of their of tax incentives. Bill 1839 is an expanded tax credit program that means more jobs and an increase in tax revenue for state and local governments. For example, a tax rebate or credit is many times the reason to why countries attract foreign productions and sometimes companies. If handled correctly, this can be a successful strategy.

The first-generation tax credit program 1.0 retained the targeted projects, those who where most susceptible to runaway production. Program 1.0 generated roughly $4.5 billion of additional spending on film production in the State of California, this became the first film tax credit program. The Program 1.0 could only help a small fraction of the productions that wanted to film in California. The state continued to experience losses of big-budget feature films and TV dramas due to the high demand and to compete even more effectively on a global scale, state lawmakers and Governor Brown created the expanded Program 2.0. This program tripled Program 1.0 funding and added parts to attract additional types of projects.

Cinema

Changes

Have the bill changed anything? Well, during year 2015-16, approximately $230 million in tax credits were allocated to 55 film and television projects. Based on the budgets submitted by applicants, these projects are estimated to expend $1.5 billion in direct in-state spending, including $600 million in qualified wages, a note here; Qualified wages do not include wages paid to actors, writers, producers, directors, or other “above the-line” workers, as these salaries do not qualify for credits.

After its first year, the results are encouraging as six TV series have relocated to California. All of these series had received tax credits in the state where they originated, that is definitely a win for the economy and industry in California. These six series are on track to spend more than $328 million collectively in state. Most series film multiple seasons, if this is the case, then their spending impact will be even more significant.

The changes reported by unions and employee organisations:

  • After one year, key entertainment industry labor organizations reported increased levels of employment. An analysis of hours worked by members of California’s below-the-line unions shows a 12.45% increase for the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period in year 2015.
  • Employment data from SAG-AFTRA showed background actors working in scripted film and television in California increased to around 19.7% from the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same quarter in 2016.
  • Teamsters reported that members are working at “full employment” for the first time since 2007 and non-member workers are being hired “off permit.”
  • IATSE Local 44 has seen a 4.9% growth in membership for the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. The organization hasn’t experienced membership growth this substantial since the 1990s.
  • The non-profit film office, Film L.A., reported a 9.7% increase in on-location feature film production in the Greater Los Angeles region compared to the same period in 2015 and the film office credited the state’s tax credit program for the growth. Film L.A. also reported in their recent Pilot production study that in 2015, approximately half of L.A.’s TV Drama production was incentive-driven.

It might be early to say but it is encouraging to see the positive numbers and hopefully they will increase even more during the years. I will come back to this later, let's cross our fingers that Sweden gets the memo.

Continue reading here If you would like to see an update I wrote in 2018.

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32nd IDA Awards

This weekend I had the pleasure and honor to attend the 32nd IDA Awards (The International Documentary Association). Together with Moby and Effie Brown, we handed over the award for Best Editing to winner Nels Bangerter. The IDA Awards was held at Paramount Studios on December 9, 2016 in Hollywood. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for International Documentary Association)

Daniel Bramme and Moby (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for International Documentary Association)

Daniel Bramme and Moby (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for International Documentary Association)

The IDA honored five filmmakers and documentary luminaries. Lyn and Norman Lear received the Amicus Award for their work supporting documentary film and free speech. Stanley Nelson received the Career Achievement Award for his work documenting the African American experience. The Pioneer Award went to Ally Derks in recognition of her work founding and building the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) and director Nanfu Wang got the Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award. Congratulations to all the winners!

This year it felt like everyone was a  winner. We had a great time and I'm looking forward to next years award ceremony. Free speech and the work documentary filmmakers do is incredibly important and I hope we get to see more daring documentaries in 2017.


Women in Film 2016: Update

Since 2016 is almost over I will take some time going through the ups and downs the industry has seen during the year 2015 and 2016. I think it is important to go through the industry and evaluate so things can change in a more informed and structured way.

If you haven't read the post I wrote in 2014 about the situation for women in Hollywood at that time, take two minutes to do that and come back to this post later. As you will see, I was overly positive. I also wrote an update in the second quarter of 2017 of the situation, please have a look if you are interested.

It´s important to remember that the numbers I present below does not reflect the reality or quality of the work women do. Some of the best films today comes from female directors, when given the chance a female director usually finds new ways of telling a story, stories that always has been told by men now has new light with women in at the rudder.

The update

So how did we do in Hollywood and in other corners of the world and how is the situation for women in film two years after my first post? What we can say is that the industry was not very inclusive or progressive during 2015 and the year 2016 does not look very good either, it was rather a step back than a leap forward. According to leading film and news outlets, 2015 was not a good year and since I didn't have the best insight during that year I got a bit surprised by the lack of female directors and filmmakers.

The fact of the matter is that there is no reason for it to be like this and we've seen so many great examples of projects coming from women so you would think it would be in studio's interest to bring in women directors. It is clear that this is a low priority for studios and probably nothing that will be taken into account when signing the directors for 2017.

 
Alice Guy Blache – First Woman Film Director, Studio Owner

Alice Guy Blache – First Woman Film Director, Studio Owner

 

The future

From what I've seen, 2015, was ridiculous and to be honest, rather depressing. What I can say though is that out of the top 250 films in 2015 it was approximately 9% female directors and that went down during 2016 to 7% some even say it went as low as 5%. This is not an improvement and I fear that the industry might fall down a few steps during 2017 as well. If so, we should see a bigger push for 2018 and 2019. Hopefully people will understand and see the financial gains and importance of actively working towards a more progressive industry.

For those of you who would like to read more about women working in film and the state of the industry, take a look at the Alliance of Women Directors website.

 

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Podcast: American film politics

Before leaving for Los Angeles for the millionth time last year. I was invited to talk about American film and the politics around the industry in Hollywood. Jakob Stenberg and Henrik Nygren runs the podcast, Kongressen in Stockholm. Two very professional guys with tough questions, great knowledge and ideas.

Listen to the podcast or download it here. We discuss American politics, how it was yesterday and how it might be tomorrow. It is especially interesting now with the election coming up.

Jakob Stenberg och Henrik Nygren
Podcast Kongressen with Daniel Bramme

Podcast Kongressen with Daniel Bramme

The podcast is in Swedish...