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October 2017
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  • The Facilities 50
    Jon Creamer launches Televisual's 30th exclusive annual Facilities 50 survey featuring the top post production houses in the UK and 52 pages of analysis of the sector
  • Interview: Grant Mansfield
    Hiring top talent and investing heavily in development have been key to growing his Bristol indie Plimsoll Productions, says founder Grant Mansfield
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    What ever genre you work in, you need to be lens savvy. Here three DoPs guide us through the lens market, picking out the models they like to use in drama and factual
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Reports&
surveys

Film 40, 2015 Back to Reports & survey Listing

The UK's top 40 film production companies

Televisual’s survey of the UK film industry kicks off with a showcase of the country’s top 40 indie production companies, from Aardman through to Working Title. Tim Dams reports

42
Ben Pugh, Rory Aitken, Josh Varney and Kate Buckley

42 combines talent management and production under one roof. It was set up in 2013 by producers Pugh and Aitken and Talent Group agents Varney and Buckley. 42 has a lot riding on Eran Creevy’s upcoming thriller Autobahn, starring Nicholas Hoult, a tough film to pull together and which could help 42 jump to a bigger stage. It is also prepping The Autopsy of Jane Doe, with Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox. Credits Welcome to the Punch, Shifty, The Other Side of the Door, Monsters Dark Continent

Aardman
Peter Lord, David Sproxton, Nick Park

The UK’s leading animation producer, Aardman just released the movie debut of one of its most popular TV characters, Shaun the Sheep. The film was financed by StudioCanal and has taken $54m at the international box office to date. Aardman also has 10 films in development, including a new project from Nick Park. Credits Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit, The Pirates!

Archery
Liza Marshall, Kris Thykier

A new entry to the Film 40, Archery was launched last year by Scott Free London head Liza Marshall, and Kris Thykier, who closed his indie PeaPie, and moved his staff and slate across to the new entity. Thykier’s credits include Woman in Gold and Kick-Ass, while Marshall’s credits include Before I Go To Sleep and Welcome to the Punch.

Altitude
Will Clarke

Launched by former Optimum boss Will Clarke in 2012, Altitude is a rare example of a vertically integrated UK company spanning production, finance, distribution and sales. Altitude releases its Samuel L Jackson-starring thriller Big Game this month, and is eyeing a late autumn release for the music industry satire Kill Your Friends which it produced with Gregor Cameron’s Unigram. Credits Big Game, Kill Your Friends

Big Talk
Nira Park, Matthew Justice, Kenton Allen

‘A powerhouse’, with a ‘very successful vision’ is how rivals describe Big Talk. The indie is producing Sacha Baron Cohen’s new action-comedy Grimsby, Joe Cornish’s Section 6, and Edgar Wright’s latest Baby Driver. This month it releases Man Up. ITV bought Big Talk in 2013. Credits The World’s End, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Paul, Attack the Block

Blueprint Pictures
Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin

Blueprint’s ‘later-life’ film The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has, like its predecessor, hit the box office jackpot, topping the UK charts in March and taking over $80m at the global box office to date.
The franchise has proved a wildly successful money spinner for Blueprint, cementing it a place as one of the UK’s most commercially successful film producers. (The first Marigold took over $135m globally). Earlier in the year Lone Scherfig’s The Riot Club was also released, albeit to more modest success.
Like many film outfits, Blueprint is now making its first foray into the (relatively) more stable world of television drama. It’s producing BBC1’s 2x90-min adaptation of Sadie Jone’s best selling coming-of-age novel The Outcast, starring Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay and directed by Iain Softley (The Wings of a Dove).
Blueprint co-founder Pete Czernin is also part of one of Britain’s richest families, which owns a swathe of Marylebone in London. Last year, he joined the BFI’s governing board. Meanwhile, Broadbent was previously a co-founder of Dragon Pictures and Mission Pictures with Damian Jones.
Credits Becoming Jane, In Bruges, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Now Is Good, Seven Pyschopaths, The Riot Club, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Calamity 
David Livingstone

Calamity makes its first entry to the Film 40, and perhaps a premature one as it has only released one film to date. But that film was Pride, which played in Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight and won a Bafta. Calamity is run by veteran film marketing exec David Livingstone who moved over to producing in 2012. He is readying an adaptation of play End of the Rainbow, about the last six weeks in Judy Garland’s performing life. The screenplay is by Barry Levinson, with Simon Curtis attached to direct. Credits Pride

Cloud Eight
Christian Colson

‘Small but powerful’ is the verdict on indie Cloud Eight, run by Oscar winning producer Christian Colson. He has teamed with regular directing partner Danny Boyle on a biopic of Apple founder Steve Jobs, starring Michael Fassbender. Colson also had another Oscar nomination this year for producing Selma. Credits Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours

Cowboy
Charles Steel, Alasdair Flind

Run by Charles Steel and Alasdair Flind, Cowboy Films has built a business across film and TV drama. The indie is gearing up for the October launch of the highly anticipated Bill, a family comedy about William Shakespeare from the team behind Horrible Histories and Yonderland. It recently released Kevin Macdonald’s submarine drama Black Sea, starring Jude Law. Credits Black Sea, How I Live Now, Marley, Top Boy (TV), The Last  King of Scotland

Cuba
Nick Marston, Dixie Linder, Tally Garner

The production arm of agency Curtis Brown produced National Theatre boss Rufus Norris’s London Road, set for release in June. Cuba is in post on thriller The Ones Below. Cuba is also active in TV, adapting Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell for BBC1, and producing Channel 4’s political drama Coalition Credits Broken, Boy A (TV)

DJ Films
Damian Jones

Consistent’, ‘amazing’ and ‘entrepreneurial’ are some of the words used to describe one-man band producer Damian Jones.
The producer of the Oscar-winning The Iron Lady and most recently the admired Belle, Jones is now producing the film adaptation of TV classic Dad’s Army, directed by Oliver Parker and starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bill Nighy and Toby Jones. The film will be released by Universal in February 2016. The story is set in 1944 and sees Zeta-Jones play a glamorous journalist sent to report on the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard platoon before MI5 discovers that there is a German spy in the fictional British town. The film recently completed principal photography. Jones is also producing Lady in the Van, directed by Nick Hytner, and starring Maggie Smith, with producer Kevin Loader. It’s currently in post. He is prepping Goodbye Christopher Robin with director Simon Curtis and Pinewood and Pathe as backers, and is developing a biography of Alexander McQueen with Chris Urch and Andrew Haigh. Credits Belle, The Iron Lady, Fast Girls, The History Boys, Kidulthood

DNA Films
Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich

The prolific DNA is a fixture of the British industry. The indie looks to have a sleeper US hit on their hands with Alex Garland’s Ex Machina. It has just released Far from the Madding Crowd. DNA signed a major deal with Fox to push into TV drama. Credits Sunshine on Leith, Dredd 3D, The Last King of Scotland, Trainspotting

Ecosse
Douglas Rae, Robert Bernstein

Ecosse has a long and impressive pedigree across film and TV drama. This month sees the release of the long gestating A Royal Night Out, directed by Julian Jarrold. Recent TV dramas include Sky’s Fleming and ITV’s Great Fire of London. It’s producing Bloomsbury group drama Life in Squares for BBC2. Credits Mrs Brown, Brideshead Revisited, Diana, Nowhere Boy

Element
Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe

Element Pictures is technically an Irish company, but makes the Film 40 because it is so active in the UK. Element goes to Cannes this month with Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster in Competition. Films produced in 2014 include Room, the adaptation of the hit novel. Credits Frank, Jimmy’s Hall, Shadow Dancer, The Guard

Eon
Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson

Home of James Bond, Eon is set to release the 24th instalment of the franchise – Spectre – this November. Eon remains a family business and is run by original producer Albert R ‘Cubby’ Broccoli’s daughter Barbara and stepson Michael G Wilson. Credits Skyfall, Quantum of Solace, Casino Royale, Golden Eye

Filmwave
Paul Trijbits, Christian Grass

Filmwave is run by former md of Ruby Films, Paul Trijbits, and ex-UPI exec Christian Grass. Filmwave is in production with the adaptation of Hans Fallada World War II novel Alone in Berlin, starring Emma Thompson, Daniel Bruhl and Mark Rylance. In post is Sing Street, a semi-autobiographical movie about U2 in the 1980s. John Carney directs,
Credits The Casual Vacancy (TV)

Fyzz/ Jonesco
Robert Jones, Wayne Mark Godfrey

Former Film Council exec Robert Jones runs his own production outfit Jonescompany as well as film financing outfit The Fyzz Facility with Wayne Marc Godfrey.  Coming up is the The Survivalist, while A Patch of Fog is in post, and Alley Cats has just wrapped. Credits Babylon (TV)

Hammer
Simon Oakes

Iconic horror brand Hammer has stepped up production after a 30 year hiatus from its heyday when it produced over 150 features. In January, Hammer released the sequel to its box office smash, The Woman In Black, minus original star Daniel Radcliffe. It had a respectable run in US theatres, taking $26m. Hammer is diversified too, launching a publishing imprint through Random House. Credits The Woman in Black 2, Let Me In , Wake Wood, The Resident, The Woman in Black, The Quiet Ones

Heyday
David Heyman

David Heyman is one of the UK’s pre-eminent producers, who steered the Harry Potter franchise to the big screen. He’s just produced Paddington, which took an astonishing $260m at the global box office. Heyman is now readying J K Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts as a trilogy. Heyman has a first look deal with Warners. Credits Paddington, Testament of Youth, Gravity, Harry Potter

Ink Factory
Simon Cornwell, Stephen Cornwell

Run by the sons of John Le Carre, The Ink Factory is a well funded indie that has produced a number of projects based on the works of the celebrated writer – including Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man and Susanna White’s upcoming Our Kind of Traitor. It is also producing The Night Manager for BBC1.

Magnolia Mae
Gabrielle Tana

London-based Gabrielle Tana has racked up an impressive run of credits, culminating with an Oscar nomination last year for Philomena which she produced with Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward. She’s now producing a BBC Films-backed doc about controversial ballet dancer Sergei Poluni, called Dancer. Credits Philomena, The Invisible Woman

Marv
Matthew Vaughn

The production outfit of British producer/director Matthew Vaughn, Marv’s output of slick action capers is increasingly impressive. Its latest was the Vaughn-directed Kingsman: the Secret Service. Coming up later this year is Fantastic Four, which Vaughn is producing. Marv is shooting Eddie the Eagle, the British ski jumper biopic. Credits Layer Cake, Kick-Ass, Stardust

Monumental
Alison Owen, Debra Hayward

Two of the UK’s leading producers, former Ruby Films boss Alison Owen (Saving Mr Banks, Elizabeth) and Debra Hayward (Atonement, Bridget Jones’ Diary) teamed up last year to launch new film and TV outfit Monumental. The pair have rights to Caitlin Moran’s How to Build a Girl. On the TV side, it is readying an updated version of Little Women for ABC in the US. Owen produced the upcoming Suffragette as well as Justin Chadwick’s Tulip Fever.

Number 9
Stephen Woolley, Elizabeth Karlsen

Stalwarts of British film production, Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen set up Number 9 after a long collaboration at both Palace and Scala Productions. Number 9 heads to Cannes this month with two films playing in Competition: Carol and Youth. Credits Made in Dagenham, Breakfast on Pluto, Great Expectations, Byzantium

Origin
David Thompson, Ed Rubin

Launched by former BBC Films boss David Thompson in 2008, Origin continues to grow. It’s latest, Woman in Gold, was released last month. It also brought doc director Morgan Matthew’s feature debut X+Y to the screen. Thompson is next producing an adapation of Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending. Origin’s next TV drama is an adaptation of Cider With Rosie, starring Samantha Morton, for BBC1. Credits Woman In Gold, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Passion/Red Box
John Battsek, Andrew Ruheman, Simon Chinn

Frequent collaborators Passion and Redbox have made some of the UK’s top feature docs. Three Passion films premiered at Sundance this year. Redbox is readying Louis Theroux’s first theatrical doc - about Scientology. Credits One Day in September, Man on Wire, Searching for Sugar Man

Playmaker
James Gay-Rees, Jolyon Symonds, Asif Kapadia

Set up in 2013 by director Kapadia and producers Gay-Rees and Symonds, Playmaker has a strong reputation for feature docs such as Senna. Its latest is Amy Winehouse biopic Amy, which has a midnight screening at Cannes this month. Credits Amy, Senna, Exit Through the Gift Shop

Potboiler /Slate
Andrea Calderwood, Gail Egan

Experienced producers Calderwood and Egan joined forces in 2009. Egan is producing John Le Carre adaptation Our Kind of Traitor. Both recently produced the Alan Rickman directed A Little Chaos. Trespass Against Us is in post. Credits The Constant Gardener, Last King of Scotland, A Most Wanted Man

Qwerty
Michael Kuhn

Film industry veteran and former Polygram Filmed Entertainment exec Michael Kuhn launched Qwerty back in 1999. The indie’s latest – the well received Saul Dibb directed Suite Francaise – hit cinemas last month. Qwerty is producing Stephen Frears’ latest Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. Credits Suite Francaise, The Last Days on Mars, The Duchess

Recorded Picture Co
Jeremy Thomas

Veteran producer Jeremy Thomas has made over 50 features in the last 40 years, including the Oscar winning The Last Emperor. Coming up is highly anticipated JG Ballard adaptation, High Rise. Directed by Ben Wheatley, it stars Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller and James Purefoy.  Sales agency HanWay is part of RPC. Credits Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, The Last Emperor, Crash, Sexy Beast, Stealing Beauty, Kon-Tiki

Revolution
Andrew Eaton, Melissa Parmenter

The entrepreneurial Revolution produces Michael Winterbottom’s films including his latest, Russell Brand doc The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Face of An Angel. Revolution also produced Ron Howard’s Rush, and is active in TV too. It produced The Trip to Italy and Doll & Em. Credits The Trip, The Look of Love, The, The Road to Guantanamo, 9 Songs

Scott Free
Ridley Scott’s production company, Scott Free recently saw the departure of head Liza Marshall, who set up Archery Pictures. Scott Free produced Child 44, which hit cinemas last month. Ridley Scott’s next is space pic The Martian. Scott Free London is also moving into TV: it is producing Taboo for BBC1 and FX. Credits Gladiator, Robin Hood, Prometheus, Before I Go To Sleep

See-Saw
Iain Canning, Emile Sherman

One of the top production outfits in the UK, Anglo-Oz indie See-Saw hit the big time with The King’s Speech. The indie has a raft of films underway, including Lion, starring Nicole Kidman, and Anton Corbijn’s Life. Macbeth plays at Cannes this month, while Mr Holmes is in cinemas in June. See-Saw also made BBC2’s Banished. Credits Mr Holmes, Macbeth, Shame, The King’s Speech

Shine
Ollie Madden

Shine Pictures is the film arm of newly merged superindie group Endemol Shine. Run by Ollie Madden, it has just produced the film version of its TV drama hit Spooks, which is out this month. Recently announced projects include crime thriller Blowback, and the adaptation of The Farm by Tom Rob Smith. Credits Eastern Promises, Salmon Fishing in The Yemen, Miss Pettigrew

Shoebox
Paul Webster

The former boss of Film4 and Shine Pictures, Webster launched Shoebox with Guy Heeley and director Joe Wright. Shoebox is in post on Joe Wright’s big budget Pan. Credits Pan, Locke

Sixteen
Rebecca O’Brien

Sixteen Films is producing London-set film noir, City of Tiny Lights which started shooting last month with Pete Travis directing. Credits My Name is Joe, The Angels’ Share, Jimmy’s Hall

Vertigo
James Richardson, Alan Niblo, Rupert Preston

Commercially focused and prolific, Vertigo just released Monsters: Dark Continent. Credits Pudsey The Movie, Walking on Sunshine, Streetdance 3d, Horrid Henry

Warp
Mark Herbert, Robin Gutch, Peter Carlton

Warp has made many distinctive British films in the last 10 years, most recently Yann Demange’s ’71. It’s active in TV, making a jewel heist drama for Sky and C4’s This is England ’90. Credits Four Lions, This Is England, Submarine

Wildgaze
Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey

A well respected indie, Wildgaze is set to release Brooklyn, an adaptation of the best selling Colm Toibin book, with a screenplay by Nick Hornby. Amanda Posey is married to Hornby, and many of his film projects go through Wildgaze. Credits An Education, Fever Pitch, Quartet, Backbeat

Working Title
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner

Working Title remains the UK’s pre-eminent production company. Backed by Universal Pictures via a first look deal, it delivers two to four films a year which marry a British sensibility with Hollywood production values. Working Title also has a close relationship with StudioCanal.  Working Title hit the awards jackpot – again – this year with the Oscar winning The Theory of Everything. The film is a classic example of how Working Title can back unusual subject matter which manages to break out. Upcoming films include the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar!; Tom Hooper’s transgender drama The Danish Girl starring Eddie Redmayne, Brian Helgeland’s Kray twins film Legend, Baltasar Kormákur mountaineering drama Everest; and Stephen Frears’ Lance Amstrong story Icon. Working Title also has a TV division, Working Title TV, which makes Yonderland and BBC2’s upcoming London Spy. Credits The Theory of Everything, Les Miserables, Atonement, United 93, Nanny McPhee, Love Actually, Johnny English, About a Boy, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Notting Hill, Elizabeth


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