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Industry professional interviews - Ian Franses at Peacock Film Finance.

The first interview in my series of interviews with film industry professionals is with Ian Franses, Chief Operating Officer of Peacock Film Finance - a London based film finance operation with offices in Berkeley Square.

Q: What’s your background and why did you get involved with film finance?

A: Chartered Accountant in practice, then Insolvency Practitioner specialising in rescue which practice was sold in June 2014 to Begbies Traynor where I was a partner until June 2019. Then full-time promoting Peacock Film Finance Ltd.

Q: What sources of film funding do you seek, and do they include the BFI or Creative England?

A: Mainly foreign media funds and Family Offices for large amounts and High Net Worths for small amounts.

Q:Why do you think private investors invest in film?

A: Hoping for a much better return if they pick the right film plus involvement in the trappings of the media.

Q: What makes a film project investable?

A: Starting with a great script and then packaging the film to try to ensure sales and distribution which usually means attaching at least one A List Star, an experienced Director and lining up Distribution with the likes of Lionsgate. Try to agree a Minimum Guarantee and if possible presales of some territories to stress test the sales estimates of a respectable Sales Agent.

Q: The Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit (AVEC) has replaced the current film, high-end TV, animation and children’s TV tax reliefs. Do you think HMRC does enough to support the film industry and indeed, should it do anything to support it?

A: Since there is so much inherent talent at all levels of the film industry in the UK naturally I believe that HMRC should review what additional concessions can be granted especially as the tax credit offered by most other countries is higher.

Q: Do you offer investors a say in the packaging of film scripts so they can try to maximise the chance of an ROI?

A: Slightly different in that we encourage investors to spread their investment over a number of films which gives them a better chance of success if at least one of them does well.

Q: Which genre of film offers the best chance of a return on an investment in film?

A: Action, Thriller, Animation, Sci Fi and Horror seem to be presently more commercially successful than drama and comedy but there is no hard and fast rule especially when the budgets can be so high.

Q: Which genre of film is most popular with investors?

A: Action and Thriller.

Q: Why do you think some films make a profit while others fail to do so?

A: Because those that do make a profit have ticked the boxes regarding sales, distribution, A list stars, experienced director plus expert handling of the film’s promotion.

Q: Is it getting harder to find investment in film and if so, why?

A: The falling box office returns post Covid, despite the extra prospects of selling to a streamer such as Netflix or Amazon, has made investors very nervous about investing in film.

Q: How important are attachments to the investability of a film script?

A: Vital.

Q: Does a distribution deal make people more likely to invest in films?

A: Yes.

Q:  Do you get involved with film distributors?

A: Sometimes.

Q: Is the inconsistent quality of film scripts a problem for the profitability of film?

A: Most Producers make sure that the script is as strong as possible before they try to attract A List Stars and prospective Directors.

Q: Do you love films, and do you watch a lot of them?

A: I am a big fan of worldwide classic films. When I was 17 I ran a film society in the large computer company where I worked, and I showed the best films in the world that had been made. My preferences are French, Swedish, Japanese and Italian. For me, French films often have a magic that cannot be duplicated by say USA and UK films, but I think that the language has a lot to do with it. My favourite film of all time is Les Enfants Du Paradis directed by Marcel Carne and made during the German occupation in France before being released in 1945.


Thank you so much for your time, Ian!


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