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Jason Blum speaks on 'Independent Features in Global Market'

After a week in Abu Dhabi for the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (October 14-23) 2010, I am now in London for the BFI LFF.

While screening some fantastic (and some not so fantastic) films here at the BFI LFF, I took the opportunity to go outside of the festival to see Blumhouse Productions' latest super hit, 'Paranormal Activity 2'. And wow, what a pleasant surprise! I love this film. While I appreciated the first, I rave about the sequel. Most people I talk to roll their eyes when they hear 'Paranormal Activity' (well, the people I talk to) and say: 'Oh, another horror movie!' ..But for me it is much more than just another horror film. This is a fantabulous metaphor for an energy that exists beyond our ken, 'paranormal' existences which remain not just in the ether around us but in the psyche of its characters and just how powerful these unseen activities/energies are. Well, I wouldn't call myself 'superstitious' per-se but I certainly believe there is a heck of a lot more out there than we can sense...as Hamlet told Horatio in Shakespeare's Hamlet, 'there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy'... So, in my book... PA2 hits the cord. Bravo Blumhouse Productions!


Now, speaking of Blumhouse Productions leads me to my continuation of The Circle Conference last week in Abu Dhabi where Mr. Jason Blum was present himself to speak on 'Independent Features in Global Market' on panel with other film professionals: Sheikha Al-Zain (Eagle Vision Media Group), Jason Blum (Blumhouse Productions), Remi Burah (Arte/Cofinova), Ali Jaafar (Quinta Communications) and Raja Sherif (Alnoor Holdings).



Some of the issues discussed on this panel were covering the independent film sector and its role in the market and innovation for new emerging independent film markets (international and pan-Arabic) and discussions on the future of global filmmaking partnerships and co-production projects.

Among topics discussed:

Abu Dhabi Film Commission discussed how to raise a new generation of Arab youth filmmakers to open cinematic dialogue with world film market. New Arab cinema will be aimed at opening the minds of people. In the Arab world, they have the money to make and create a significant film industry but face the challenge of pulling together to have a joint production. Differences between US and European filmmaking were discussed comparatively. But fundamentally, which elements are crucial for indie filmmaking today?

All panelists agreed on this:

1) a good script and good director attached.

2) distribution deal in place.

3) 30% budget before pre-production. Looking for financing is looking for partners. Add film marketing into budget and... make budget reasonable!

4) talent!

5) a valid reason why this film must be made. Who is the target audience? Is it local or international? Jason Blum said: ‘It's better to have a good local market than a bad international market'


Jason Blum finished the panel saying: ‘There is no right way. Pick one or two things and do whatever you can to realize your film.'

Here! Here! Just watch Blumhouse Productions ‘Paranormal Activity' and its sequel and you will see Jason knows what he is talking about.

by Vanessa McMahon

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