G322 Section B Shifty Case Study


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Case study of the low budget UK film Shifty (2009) for use in Section B of the AS Media Studies exam - Institutions and Audiences.

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G322 Section B Shifty Case Study

  1. 1. Film Industry Case Study
  2. 2. Case Study - Shifty <ul><li>G322 Key Media Concepts (TV Drama) </li></ul><ul><li>Section B: Institutions and Audiences </li></ul><ul><li>UK film aimed at a national audience </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional UK film genre </li></ul><ul><li>Ultra low budget production via National Lottery UK Film Council / Film London </li></ul><ul><li>Typical UK film funding </li></ul><ul><li>Metrodome distributors </li></ul><ul><li>Interesting use of viral marketing, film festival and award ceremony </li></ul><ul><li>Produced with DVD extras in mind </li></ul>
  3. 3. Case Study - Shifty <ul><li>UK film aimed at a national audience </li></ul><ul><li>Shifty is a typical British ‘success’ story. </li></ul><ul><li>Filmed on a shoestring budget , director Eran Creevy was still able to create this character-led , well-crafted , cinematic piece as his first feature film. </li></ul>Eran Creevy - Well established in the world of music promos and commercials, he has been honing his craft for a good few years before turning his hand to features. http://www.thereel.net/blog.php?article_id=172 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkYhQoLEDzA
  4. 4. Case Study - Shifty <ul><li>The actors - As his first feature, it was obviously a risk for well known actor Daniel Mays (Atonement and Vera Drake) and up-and-coming actor Riz Ahmed (Brits and Deadset) to undertake but, with Eran’s well-written script, insightful character observation and on-point direction, what was created in only three weeks certainly was impressive. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Case Study - Shifty <ul><li>Traditional UK film genre </li></ul><ul><li>The story tells of 24hrs in the life of your ‘friendly neighbourhood crack dealer’ and doesn’t adhere to the often, stereotypical workings of previous British, working-class, grimy gangster flicks. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a character led film that has its feet firmly on the ground. It doesn’t try to be something it’s not and there’s no glossing over the grim realities of a story based on a childhood friend of Eran. </li></ul><ul><li>Genre - contemporary, urban thriller with a strong element of social realism. More Ken Loach and Mike Leigh than Guy Ritchie or kidulthood! </li></ul>
  6. 6. Case Study - Shifty <ul><li>Ultra low budget production </li></ul><ul><li>Microwave challenges film-makers to shoot a full length film for up to £100,000.  The scheme will provide an intensive approach to film-making, with an emphasis on tightly focused scripts , short production schedules and commercial potential. </li></ul><ul><li>Microwave offers a unique professional mentoring scheme from leading industry figures. </li></ul><ul><li>Film London and its partners will also offer a range of assistance including in-kind support from leading facilities and service companies, waived locations fees from many of London’s local authorities, and a generous ‘ revenue share ’ model which will enable producers to utilise the UK’s new tax credit to secure a 40% share of receipts .  Completed projects will have the opportunity to showcase at the annual London UK Film Focus sales event as well as at major international markets .  </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Rory Aitken - Producer </li></ul><ul><li>The Microwave Scheme challenges filmmakers to make films for £100,000. You could make it for less, but for no more. It's run by Film London so they oversee the production and you have to go through various stages of applications. The last one of which they call Micro-school and that's a week where you spend time with experienced people in the industry who talk you through your film and you try to develop it in various directions - to the script , the budget and who you're going to get to act in it etc. - and then you have to pitch the film to about 10 people on a panel for 15 minutes which is the most terrifying bit of it all. They then gave us half the money and we had to raise the other half. Then they helped us make the film with that very, very low budget. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Case Study - Shifty <ul><li>Typical UK film funding </li></ul><ul><li>The average budget for a domestic UK film in 2009 was £3.3 million. </li></ul><ul><li>Independent The Duchess , In Bruges, Son of Rambow </li></ul><ul><li>UK Film Council productions Bright Star, In the Loop </li></ul><ul><li>TV Co-productions </li></ul><ul><li>BBC The Duchess, Fish Tank, Revolutionary Road </li></ul><ul><li>Film4 Slumdog Millionaire, Nowhere Boy </li></ul><ul><li>European co-productions Adulthood </li></ul><ul><li>Anglo-American co-productions Mamma Mia! , Quantum of Solace and The Dark Knight </li></ul>
  9. 9. Case Study - Shifty <ul><li>Interesting use film festival and award </li></ul><ul><li>ceremony </li></ul><ul><li>As part of the microwave project Shifty premiered at The Times BFI 52nd London Film Festival on Friday 24 October 2008 at Odeon West End. </li></ul><ul><li>Shifty was also nominated for a FIPRESCI International Critics Award for best first or second feature and later for 5 British Independent Film Awards. </li></ul><ul><li>Shifty had some great reviews off the back of the screenings from the Daily Mail, Time Out included it as one of their three ‘Picks of the Festival’, Heat magazine called it ‘Ace!’, and The Observer called it their ‘personal discovery of the festival’. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Metrodome distributors </li></ul><ul><li>Following the London Film Festival screening in October Shifty had interest from several distributors. </li></ul><ul><li>Rory Aitken - We went to meet several interested parties individually to discuss the film, and after some negotiations with them all, we went with Metrodome - a great UK distributor who did Donnie Darko , and Oscar-winning The Counterfeiters last year. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>So what did the distributor Metrodome find attractive about Shifty ? </li></ul><ul><li>Metrodome acquired Shifty having seen it in 2008 and I think the first and most important point is that cinema can be so much more than big studio blockbusters. I think great British cinema, can be about a place that you might live, about people you might know. It can involve stories that might be familiar to you. It really doesn't have to be an Americanised view of the world. There's some fantastic cinema out there which comes from Britain, from London and other regions, and I think really in distributing films like Shifty we're just trying to get people to see how diverse cinema is in Britain today. </li></ul><ul><li>One of the important things for Metrodome about Shifty was - although it is an urban genre film which obviously brings to mind Bullet Boy, Kidulthood & Adulthood it's not just a group of anecdotes and stories about drug dealing scrapes and the police. At the heart of it, there are two people getting to know each other again after four years apart and a universal story about friendship. So although it is an urban genre film, it's very important that it's telling a real story. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>What kind of challenges did a film like ‘Shifty’ present in marketing terms? </li></ul><ul><li>The marketing challenge for us is telling people who we think would be interested in the film that it's coming and it's out there and we have to do it in such a way that you feel you can make an informed decision. </li></ul><ul><li>It can be a struggle for a small company because we can't spend the level of money that a Hollywood blockbuster would spend so we have to try and be clever about how we do things and I think we have to be sure that when we speak to the target audience that we're doing it in such a way that they feel that the tone is right and represents the film </li></ul><ul><li>To do that we're used a mixture of TV and ads on things like pirate radio. We did fly-posting. The poster of the film was really designed to be eye-catching and simple but really we always said the poster needed to be quite exhibitionist. A show-off poster - just so it's big and loud and yellow - but we also need to be able to give you an idea of what the subject matter of the film is without spelling out that it's about drug dealing as that may be a problem for some people. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Case Study - Shifty <ul><li>International Distribution </li></ul><ul><li>Shifty went on to further success and secured a distribution deal in Australia . The newly set-up distribution arm of Curious Film, based in Sydney, handled the release. </li></ul><ul><li>Deals like this signify the increasing opportunities for independent films to reach audiences globally. </li></ul><ul><li>Mia Bays, Creative Executive for Microwave, went to Australia to give a keynote speech in which she gave her tips for making a little go a long way. </li></ul><ul><li>Her top tips urged film-makers to make sure they had a clear motivation, story and vision for their films and emphasised the importance of teamwork. However, she maintained that getting your film made is only the first step – “half your job is making the film, the other half is getting it out to the world”. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Case Study - Shifty <ul><li>Interesting use of viral marketing </li></ul><ul><li>'Drugs' email banned by ad watchdog </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Shifty’ email viral campaign banned </li></ul><ul><li>An email marketing campaign for the British film Shifty that encouraged people to &quot;stitch up a mate&quot; by making them think they were being investigated by police for drugs offences has been banned by the advertising regulator. </li></ul><ul><li>The website promoting the movie, which charts a bad day in the life of a drug dealer, allowed web users to anonymously send a friend an email with the headline &quot;Criminal Investigation&quot;. </li></ul><ul><li>The email, which was sent from a ficticious police department, told the recipient they had been named by someone caught in a class-A drugs swoop by police as a &quot;habitual narcotics user&quot;. </li></ul>
  15. 18. <ul><li>Produced with DVD sales in mind…! </li></ul><ul><li>Throughout the production period, a selection of accompanying material will be produced such as documentary footage of the films being made, as well as transcripts of seminars and interviews. This will be made universally available as an online learning resource for all micro-budget film-makers. </li></ul>
  16. 20. Case Study - Shifty <ul><li>Exhibition </li></ul><ul><li>With the BBC as Microwave’s broadcast partner even the eventual screening of the film on TV is already organised. </li></ul>