Some of the hosts of The Filmmakers Podcast have been really lucky to have had a lot of work in 2020, but have also enjoyed taking time to stop, rest and reflect. As well as having time  to prep their films, packs and scripts for a new year. 

Our hosts Giles Alderson (The Dare) was joined by this year’s co-hosts Dom Lenoir (Winter Ridge), Christian James or CJ (Fanged Up), Lucinda Rhodes Thakrar (Arthur & Merlin), Dan Richardson (Food For Thought), Ian Sharp (The Marker), Phil Hawkins (Star Wars:Origins), Andrew Rodger (The Dare) and editor and producer Robbie McKane to talk about making films during a pandemic, and what we can look forward to in 2021.

2020 and the COVID-effect

Phil said that he had quite a competitive streak, and wanted to constantly ensure that he was working but also enjoyed the time out. “It was actually the first time for me, I felt like I actually stopped.”

Lucinda and Ian had discussed taking Christmas off – to catch up with family, watch loads of films, eat lots of delicious food and regroup and plan for 2021. And mentioned that although it was nice to have downtime, there was still underlying stress related to paying mortgages, looking after crew and making films. 

CJ, who had moved house just before the pandemic hit, focused on fixing his new home. “I got to basically not think about film-making at all for however long that locked down was.”

After a bit of panic at one point “a few jobs trickled in. They were generally COVID-based jobs, user generated style content, which led to other work in other sectors.”

“There’s been some opportunity, but it has been sporadic, and it has been strange.”

Dom used the lockdown to improve his next film. And he “was able to jump on the producing side, which was really great.”

Ian said that there were definite highs and lows to the year and a lot of uncertainty. “What it’s done is it’s made us go ‘Do we really want to do this business?’ I think if we can come through this as a community, as a collective, then I think we stand a really good chance of making the industry much, much better. It’s been very uncertain, but it’s been very opportunistic as well. And we’re all go-getters, you’ve got to make the most of the situation”. 

Lucinda, Giles and Ian enjoyed using their time to reach out and connect with collaborators. Being more productive by using online meetings as a way to get more daily tasks done. Giles and Ian also attended AFM, which was instrumental in them meeting podcast guest Dan Mazer.

If you’re wanting to make those connections, Ian suggests: “get on the phone and get emailing.”

Some of The Filmmakers Podcast Host’s Favourite Episodes of 2020

Dom enjoyed listening to Neasa Hardiman taking about the making of Sea Fever, and Dan Mazer talking about Borat.

Lucinda: “I liked your episode with Krysty Wilson-Cairns. I also liked the the bumper edition with Andrew Roger, yourself and myself with all the (Arthur and Merlin) gang. It was nice to go back down memory lane.” 

Ian: The Arthur and Merlin episode was “one of my favorite podcasts, because if you were just getting into the industry and wanted to kind of get a crash course on every department then for me, those podcasts kind of covered everything.”

“On a personal level, the Todd Garner one because he’s a bit of a legend, he’s produced some incredible movies.”

Phil: “James Hart and the Hart Chart. Not heard of that before. And the old-school story behind Count Dracula, and then Hook and Spielberg. And Piers obviously, cause he’s an amazing bloke and a lovely man and everyone should know the joy that is Mr. Tempest.”

Andy: “Jim Hart was a good one. The Arthur and Merlin thing was so great and The Dare thing was so great – just to talk to those guys and girls that we worked with.”

Robbie’s favourites were the episodes with “Sarah Gavron when she was talking about Rocks and all the amazing stuff she’s done. And talking to Shola Amoo about the Last Tree and his journey as well.”

“It was two really interesting examples of different voices in modern British cinema.”

What were our favourite films from 2020?

Phil said that “Invisible Man, for me, was just so good.”

Christian enjoyed Maiden. “It’s about the first women’s Round-the-World Yacht Race. I guarantee Margot Robbie’s probably being sized up to star in an adaptation of it.”

Lucinda watched films that she hadn’t had a chance to watch. ” I really enjoyed going back many, many years and catching up with stuff. So I did that rather than watch new stuff.”

Robbie highly recommended Soul, but added “don’t watch the trailer… just watch it blind.”

And Dom’s recommendations were The Way Back “and Saint Maud as a wonderful, great indie. The Way Back, like a classic sort of studio indie-like powerful drama.”

Do you think it’s going to be easier in 2021 to make films?

Dom thinks “there will be a bit of a backlog with agents and cast. The Netflix’s and the Amazon’s are going to have a lot of priority on getting productions into the pipeline. But I think a lot of people will be very desperate to get back into making films.”

Ian agreed but also mentioned that they were “still actively looking to put resources into stuff. I’m speaking to buyers on a regular basis and there’s an appetite there, but I think where it’s going to be challenging is more relatable towards the private equity.”

“I’m sure a lot of financiers have probably lost quite a bit of money during this period. Maybe budgets will have to decrease or we’ll have to work on deferments, I do think that the system is needing a change anyway, so there’s probably going to be a lot of opportunity.”

Lucinda thinks that it’s “going to be hard work with regards to the COVID situation because a lot of our collaborators wouldn’t have had the vaccine yet. So as we move into June, hopefully it would be easier.”

Advice for 2021

For more info from everyone’s favourite filmmakers, have a listen to the full episode.

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