Monday, 17 May 2010

Case Study 3: Warp Films

Warp (and WarpX) is an excellent case study for you because it highlights a lot of the key concepts of film production and contemporary media practice.

Since its birth as a shop and record label in Sheffield in 1989, Warp has become one of the World’s most respected creative organisations. Originally just a record label/shop, Warp Records, Warp have since launched two film production companies – Warp Films and Warp X (for low-budget, digital productions only)

Warp Films was set up with funding from NESTA, the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts. It is based in Sheffield with a further office in London and has 14 full-time staff.

Warp X is a separate company from Warp Films, and was set up to exclusively manage and co-produce films for the Low Budget Feature Scheme tendered by UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund and Film4 in 2005, to revitalise the low-budget sector of the British film industry. Warp X is building on Warp Film’s reputation for combining creative originality with commercial success. Both companies share the same office space and some support staff to make them as resource efficient as possible.

Since then high-profile features have come courtesy of Shane Meadows, whose masterpieces Dead Man’s Shoes and This Is England have enjoyed widespread success, the latter winning ‘Best British Film’ at the 2008 BAFTAs.

In 2004, Warp pioneered the sale of unrestricted mp3s via the launch of award-winning download store Hosting nearly 500 other independent labels, Bleep has sold over 2 million tracks to date. Several of their film productions - mostly documentaries - area available to download royalty free. Why would they do this, when most other production and distributino companies are keen to protect their digital rights from piracy? Plainly, it benefits WarpX to have as many people as possible spreading good word-of-mouth about their products, as a form of viral marketing.

Synergy and Distribution
One of their key financial backers is Optimum Releasing, who are closely involved in the development process and distribute the films theatrically and on DVD in the UK. In April 2008, Australian film distributor Madman Entertainment announced "a collaboration" with Warp Films. Warp and Madman plan to make "at least 2 films together over the next 3 years." Optimum is a small, British-owned distributor operating in an industry dominated by major Hollywood distributors, and this relationship therefore benefits both themselves and Warp Films.

Warp X only make digital films. They say “we make digital films with budgets between £400,000 and 800,000 for theatrical distribution in the UK and internationally. Our films are genre based but with acutely original interpretations that will ensure they stand out in the market place. We do not make character based drama or ultra-cheap versions of mainstream Hollywood studio films.” Digital film-making is a lot cheaper than 35mm.

Targeting British Audiences
Warp X say that they only produce films which qualify as British. Even more specific than that, they would strongly prefer producers to shoot in Yorkshire or some other northern region of England, but "if there is a compelling creative need to shoot elsewhere, then we will put the needs of the film first."

Warp X's joint abjectives as outlined by the UK Film Council and Film4 include:
  • to provide new opportunities to increase participation of groups currently under-represented in the UK film industry such as writers, directors, producers and actors who are disabled, women and/or from black and minority ethnic groups.
  • to encourage filmmakers to explore social issues of disability, cultural/ethnic diversity and social exclusion through the content and range of individual film projects.
  • to create much-needed progression routes into the UK film industry for identified filmmaking talent, who may have experienced some success through their first feature film or through short filmmaking, but who need further infrastructural and other support to make their next film(s) a success.  
My Wrongs #8245–8249 & 117 (Dir: Chris Morris - 2003)
Dead Man's Shoes (Dir: Shane Meadows - 2004)
Rubber Johnny (Dir: Chris Cunningham - 2005)
Scummy Man (Arctic Monkeys short film/music video)
This Is England (Dir: Shane Meadows - 2006)
Grow Your Own (Dir: Richard Laxton - 2007)
Dog Altogether (Dir: Paddy Considine - 2007)
At the Apollo (Arctic Monkeys Dir: Richard Ayoade - 2008)
Le Donk and Scorzayzee (Dir: Shane Meadows- 2009)
Four Lions (Dir: Chris Morris- 2009)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.