Sep 18, 2019
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Front Page, Industry News

TIFF Film Financing 202: Christina Piovesan and The Whistleblower

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

The Whistleblower was the darling of the Ontario Media Development Corporation events this year at TIFF because it was a shining example of the work that can be achieved through the support provided by the producer development programs available during the festival. The film is a drama based on the experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and outed the U.N. for covering up a disturbing sex-trafficking underworld in Bosnia. Christina Piovesan headed up the project and presented it this year at Producers Lab Toronto (PLT) – a new event that promotes co-production of Europe/Canada international film projects.

The film was originally developed with HBO, although they did not end up financing any of the production, and the script went through about 100 drafts in order to get to the final product. “Development is a crucial process. You want to get your script to where it needs to be and I think you don’t want to try and finance it too early. So I think taking the time and spending the time and making the effort to hone the script is very important. Development hell really relates to being in the studio system and having to wait for decisions and feedback, but the script is part of your financing tool so it has to be in a good place in order to be able to send it out to people to get financing,” says Piovesan.

“International co-productions have existed since the seventies when the treaties were signed. That kind of cooperation has been in effect for a while. Now, we live in a global society so international stories are appealing. I think it’s the nature of our world today that people want to see stories from around the world, in different languages, and with different people.”

So how did co-production financing work for The Whistleblower? “OMDC was last money in, which is their policy, they came in for a portion of the financing at the end. The major portion of the Canadian financing came from Telefilm Canada Equity. We had some financing come in from the Herald Greenburg fund, and then of course there are the tax credits, as well as the advance we got from our Canadian distributor, E1 Entertainment. The Canadian/German treaty for co-production is that the minority partner has to bring in at least 20% of the financing. In our production, it ended up being a 50/50 co-production because we had such a large advance from our foreign sales agent. That advance can be split between the two countries to even out the split any way that you want.”

Beryyfilms is the German company that brought in equity and structured the co-production financing with her according to the rules of the treaty between the two countries. I had a few moments with one of the company’s leaders, Dr. Wolfgang Mueller, to get the German perspective, “This is my first Canadian/German co-production, in continental Europe you are working almost always in a coproduction structure with other countries from the European community. This is quite normal for us. It is due partly to the European community, which wanted to force these co-production structures and due partly, of course, to the financial crisis. European co-productions are more established so with Christina and Canada, it was a little atypical but it worked quite well. The reason I say atypical is that we had no subsidies in it from Germany but instead it was structured with wire equity monies, because we ran out of time. Rachelle Weis told us that we only had five months to shoot.”

The Whistleblower received not just financial support from the OMDC, but also support through their IFF program two years ago and this year she was back to present a new film, Billy bones: A Cautionary Tale for Adults. Piovesan is very grateful for their support. “The OMDC is a major part of the film community in Ontario and a major source of funding here, not just for the development funding and production financing that they do, but for the various programs that they do, like the Producer’s Lab and the IFF. In that sense they are really nurturing a community of producers and filmmakers and giving them skills.”

Stay tuned for TIFF Film Financing 303.

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Front Page, Industry News

TIFF Film Financing 202: Christina Piovesan and The Whistleblower

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

The Whistleblower was the darling of the Ontario Media Development Corporation events this year at TIFF because it was a shining example of the work that can be achieved through the support provided by the producer development programs available during the festival. The film is a drama based on the experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and outed the U.N. for covering up a disturbing sex-trafficking underworld in Bosnia. Christina Piovesan headed up the project and presented it this year at Producers Lab Toronto (PLT) – a new event that promotes co-production of Europe/Canada international film projects.

The film was originally developed with HBO, although they did not end up financing any of the production, and the script went through about 100 drafts in order to get to the final product. “Development is a crucial process. You want to get your script to where it needs to be and I think you don’t want to try and finance it too early. So I think taking the time and spending the time and making the effort to hone the script is very important. Development hell really relates to being in the studio system and having to wait for decisions and feedback, but the script is part of your financing tool so it has to be in a good place in order to be able to send it out to people to get financing,” says Piovesan.

“International co-productions have existed since the seventies when the treaties were signed. That kind of cooperation has been in effect for a while. Now, we live in a global society so international stories are appealing. I think it’s the nature of our world today that people want to see stories from around the world, in different languages, and with different people.”

So how did co-production financing work for The Whistleblower? “OMDC was last money in, which is their policy, they came in for a portion of the financing at the end. The major portion of the Canadian financing came from Telefilm Canada Equity. We had some financing come in from the Herald Greenburg fund, and then of course there are the tax credits, as well as the advance we got from our Canadian distributor, E1 Entertainment. The Canadian/German treaty for co-production is that the minority partner has to bring in at least 20% of the financing. In our production, it ended up being a 50/50 co-production because we had such a large advance from our foreign sales agent. That advance can be split between the two countries to even out the split any way that you want.”

Beryyfilms is the German company that brought in equity and structured the co-production financing with her according to the rules of the treaty between the two countries. I had a few moments with one of the company’s leaders, Dr. Wolfgang Mueller, to get the German perspective, “This is my first Canadian/German co-production, in continental Europe you are working almost always in a coproduction structure with other countries from the European community. This is quite normal for us. It is due partly to the European community, which wanted to force these co-production structures and due partly, of course, to the financial crisis. European co-productions are more established so with Christina and Canada, it was a little atypical but it worked quite well. The reason I say atypical is that we had no subsidies in it from Germany but instead it was structured with wire equity monies, because we ran out of time. Rachelle Weis told us that we only had five months to shoot.”

The Whistleblower received not just financial support from the OMDC, but also support through their IFF program two years ago and this year she was back to present a new film, Billy bones: A Cautionary Tale for Adults. Piovesan is very grateful for their support. “The OMDC is a major part of the film community in Ontario and a major source of funding here, not just for the development funding and production financing that they do, but for the various programs that they do, like the Producer’s Lab and the IFF. In that sense they are really nurturing a community of producers and filmmakers and giving them skills.”

Stay tuned for TIFF Film Financing 303.

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You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Front Page, Industry News

TIFF Film Financing 202: Christina Piovesan and The Whistleblower

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

The Whistleblower was the darling of the Ontario Media Development Corporation events this year at TIFF because it was a shining example of the work that can be achieved through the support provided by the producer development programs available during the festival. The film is a drama based on the experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and outed the U.N. for covering up a disturbing sex-trafficking underworld in Bosnia. Christina Piovesan headed up the project and presented it this year at Producers Lab Toronto (PLT) – a new event that promotes co-production of Europe/Canada international film projects.

The film was originally developed with HBO, although they did not end up financing any of the production, and the script went through about 100 drafts in order to get to the final product. “Development is a crucial process. You want to get your script to where it needs to be and I think you don’t want to try and finance it too early. So I think taking the time and spending the time and making the effort to hone the script is very important. Development hell really relates to being in the studio system and having to wait for decisions and feedback, but the script is part of your financing tool so it has to be in a good place in order to be able to send it out to people to get financing,” says Piovesan.

“International co-productions have existed since the seventies when the treaties were signed. That kind of cooperation has been in effect for a while. Now, we live in a global society so international stories are appealing. I think it’s the nature of our world today that people want to see stories from around the world, in different languages, and with different people.”

So how did co-production financing work for The Whistleblower? “OMDC was last money in, which is their policy, they came in for a portion of the financing at the end. The major portion of the Canadian financing came from Telefilm Canada Equity. We had some financing come in from the Herald Greenburg fund, and then of course there are the tax credits, as well as the advance we got from our Canadian distributor, E1 Entertainment. The Canadian/German treaty for co-production is that the minority partner has to bring in at least 20% of the financing. In our production, it ended up being a 50/50 co-production because we had such a large advance from our foreign sales agent. That advance can be split between the two countries to even out the split any way that you want.”

Beryyfilms is the German company that brought in equity and structured the co-production financing with her according to the rules of the treaty between the two countries. I had a few moments with one of the company’s leaders, Dr. Wolfgang Mueller, to get the German perspective, “This is my first Canadian/German co-production, in continental Europe you are working almost always in a coproduction structure with other countries from the European community. This is quite normal for us. It is due partly to the European community, which wanted to force these co-production structures and due partly, of course, to the financial crisis. European co-productions are more established so with Christina and Canada, it was a little atypical but it worked quite well. The reason I say atypical is that we had no subsidies in it from Germany but instead it was structured with wire equity monies, because we ran out of time. Rachelle Weis told us that we only had five months to shoot.”

The Whistleblower received not just financial support from the OMDC, but also support through their IFF program two years ago and this year she was back to present a new film, Billy bones: A Cautionary Tale for Adults. Piovesan is very grateful for their support. “The OMDC is a major part of the film community in Ontario and a major source of funding here, not just for the development funding and production financing that they do, but for the various programs that they do, like the Producer’s Lab and the IFF. In that sense they are really nurturing a community of producers and filmmakers and giving them skills.”

Stay tuned for TIFF Film Financing 303.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

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