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ISA of the Day Exclusive: Carnaby Films, From the Sand to the Stars on the Croisette

ISA of the Day Exclusive: Carnaby Films, From the Sand to the Stars on the Croisette

Our
International Sales Agent (ISA) of the Day coverage is back again for this
year’s Cannes Film Festival. We will feature successful, upcoming, innovative
and trailblazing agents from around the world, and cover the latest trends in
sales and distribution. Beyond the numbers and deals, this segment will also
share inspirational and unique stories of how these individuals have evolved
and paved their way in the industry, and what they envision for the new waves
in global cinema. 
 

The fiery business maverick Andrew Loveday of
Carnaby Films has a big message for the dinosaurs of the global film industry;
be afraid. Be very afraid! 

Andrew is here to create big change in the
global film industry, and the time is right for his intentions. Banking
partners have just committed 75 million a year to finance Carnaby’s whole
slate. He closed this deal here at the Cannes Film Festival with the help of
his team members Tania Sarra (Director of International Sales), Alex Tate (Head
of Acquisitions) and Sean O’Kelly (CEO). 

This is incredibly exciting for global cinema
because Carnaby only represents films of rich and high standards and has one of the best lineups at
Cannes this year, including Damascus CoverTom Thumb  and A Love of Money

Andrew shares how he got his start, his
philosophy and his honest and raw observations of the film sales world:

How did
Carnaby start?

Carnaby was born fifteen years ago. I started
it with my father Mike, and my cousin Terry. We worked for
another film company, and then we decided to setup on our own. We started by
raising the funds for a small budget movie of 200,000 dollars. We ended up
raising 3.5 million instead; it blew our minds. It literally started from
nothing. There was no plan, and now 13 years later, we’ve made 14 extremely
rich films. The last one was Angel, and then there was The Wee
Man
, which got four BAFTA nominations and won two BAFTA awards for best
film and audience award. 

Then we realized after twelve years in the
market, all our investors were asking, “Hey Andy, the film’s out on the
shelf. It’s everywhere. Where’s our money???” We thought, “Oh,
actually… We don’t know. We’ll go speak to our sales company.” Then we
asked the sales company, and they blew us of with “Oh… You know, it’s a
tough time in the market…but talk to that guy. He’ll know.” Then we’d go
talk to that guy, and another, and another and get more of the same; so, it took
us twelve to thirteen years to realize that we need to be in charge of our
films. 

I setup the international sales side of
Carnaby in November last year. We launched the company at AFM. I got all my
titles back from all the sales agents at other companies and decided to launch
Carnaby Sales and Distribution. Our first title that we took to the market was Panzer
88
, written by Peter Bricks with producers Gary Kurtz and Ivor Powell (Star
Wars, Alien and Blade Runner). We went to AFM, and everybody went “Wow!
These guys have a 40 million dollar movie with Gary Kurtz and Ivor Powell. They’re not
sales agents!” Now, seven months later, here I am in Cannes with my sales
and distribution arm. 

My star of the company is Tania Sarra, who
will be given the Future Industry Leader award on the 23rd. The
international film community voted for her, and she deserves it because she’s a
brilliant and hardworking woman.  

What
does Carnaby have to offer producers?
 

My message for producers is that I’ll help to
make your film, and make sure that you get every single penny you deserve. We
all know reputation is everything in a small industry where information goes
around like wildfire. This is why, all of a sudden, stunning and unique projects
are starting to flood in. We’re working with established masters: Gary Kurtz, Ivor Powell, Anthony Wade
and Roger Christian, plus a whole bunch of up and coming producers full of
innovative ideas. There’s no luck involved. These producers come to us because
they know we’re honest. We’re very down to earth, and we don’t get frustrated.  

What is
your philosophy on making films happen?

To sell really great films, you have to go out
and get them. I really believe that you are what you eat, in anything you do.
If you say, “Oh, I’m going to do small films, and that’s all I’ll ever do”
then that’s the market you’ll be in. The market has changed so much over the
last five to ten years with low budget movies. Everyone goes on the bandwagon
of “I want to make another Blair Witch or Paranormal Activity.” All
it does is swamp the market so bad, that when you get to the consumer at the
end of it, people say, “I’m not going to give my fifteen dollars for that
film, because I know it’s going to be a low budget and no good.” 

What do
you see happening in the industry these days?
 

What I see in the industry is a very worrying
time for a lot of the independent distributors. I think they’re frantic and
wondering what to do, because most of the new independent and smaller labels
out there (especially in sales and distribution) can’t afford to sustain their
business on the 25-30 cent royalties of a DVD in a market where the DVD is
going extinct. They’ve got overheads and staff; they don’t have enough money to
do a theatrical release. 

People aren’t fast to go to the cinema to see
an art house or small indie movie unless it’s got so much PR and movement
internationally; people aren’t really interested in it because they can watch
it on TV for three pounds. You’ve got HBO on the Internet, Netflix. Smart TVs
etc. The small distribution companies now want to produce their own movies so
they can own it all, then they try to be producers.  This is problematic
because they’re not film producers and never have been. They’re accountants,
clerks and marketing people running around like headless chickens, because
they’re trying to make movies. They’re not always creative, and they think they
are. They think, “Let’s make a movie, because we know what we want and we
know what sells.” They saturate the market with poor films, and you are
what you eat. If you keep putting shit into the market, after a while people
won’t go to the theatre. Consumers can only be cheated so many times, and these
companies are actually a very big part of their own destruction. All they’re
doing is fueling a diminishing market in DVDs, which causes it to diminish
even quicker. 

Where do
you believe your success comes from?

I’m a Pisces. This means I’m a dreamer and am
very lucky, because I turn my dreams into reality. I get up everyday and never
ever plan what I’m doing. I know what will be, will be. I can’t change it. I
just go with it. I get up and go “What are we doing today, guys?” and
that’s it. When you try to steer and manipulate something in life, all you do
is set yourself up for disappointment. I’ve always been of this mindset. 

This time last year, I sat on the Plage Royale
Beach, and said, “You know what? I’m going to start an international sales
agency, and it’s going to be big. Next year,
I’m going to be up there (on the Croisette) with a great office.”

It’s so hard to make a film. I was at the
market last year with my cap in hand, showing my begging bowl to these guys and
97% of them have never made a movie in their life. I look at them as an
industry of old boys, and the old boys will be terrified of me. All I have to
say to them is that I’m coming for you. I’m here to create real change in the
industry. 

If you’re going to do anything, fucking own
it. Don’t ever go, “I can’t really be bothered” Because if you say
you’re going to do it, you have got to do it.  When you have that,
everything is possible. That’s what I’m about. I said that I’m going to start
an international sales agency and it will be highly successful. One
year later, we’re here in this beautiful office, and now a major US bank has
backed us for 70 million a year to fund our full slate. This is where we are now.   

Learn more about Carnaby’s Cannes Lineup 

More about Carnaby:

Carnaby International Sales and Distribution
is a UK film company specialising in worldwide sales, production,
co-productions and UK distribution – with a catalogue of award-winning feature
films and documentaries.

We have built up a fast growing and recognisable brand at all major motion
picture and television festivals and markets worldwide, including Cannes, AFM,
EFM, Berlinale, The Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film
Festival, LUFF, MIPCOM and MIPTV.

Carnaby International Sales and Distribution
focuses on international sales of film, television and film libraries. The
company is based in the heart of Soho, London.

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