Oct 27, 2021
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Front Page, Industry News

The faces of Producers Lab Toronto

By TO411 Staff Writer
Daisy McLean

After a successful launch in 2010, the feature film networking and co-production program Producers Lab Toronto was back this year again at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Producers Lab is an initiative of the European Film Promotion (EFP), the OMDC and TIFF to gather experienced film producers from across Europe together with a similar number of Canadian producers for 3 days of programming at the start of the Festival. The objective is to exchange projects, build knowledge, grow relationships and support partnership building for the financing, production and distribution of Canadian-European co-productions. 

This year I met with one of the Canadian producers, Cher Hawrysh, whose project had been selected to participate. Cher has over ten years experience in the financing, production and distribution of independent film and television. Her credits include internationally acclaimed feature documentary Scared Sacred (Special Jury Prize, TIFF ’05) and as business affairs executive for A Beginner’s Guide To Endings (TIFF ’10). She is currently co-producing The Colony, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi in pre-production and has brought to the Producer’s Lab the feature film she has in development, Bitter Pills.

DM: What is the difference between a producer and business affairs executive?

CH: Filmmaking is such a multifaceted industry and there’s no shortage of expertise that’s required. I define producer as the creative and business force behind a project, bringing it all together in all aspects. So when I work specifically in my business affairs capacity I’m not driving the project, but I’m carrying things out for producers who are leading the project and managing for them many of the different elements – putting together different international financing scenarios, doing the paperwork that can surround international co-productions, negotiating their sales, closing the bank, dealing with the bond company. There are some folks who come to doing this through having a law degree or legal background and there are some who have been accountants, and I think that one of the benefits of me being a producer and sitting in that chair is that I really understand their world and appreciate it from that stand point. 

DM: Let’s talk about your project:

CH: The project I’m bringing to the Producer’s Lab this year is called Bitter Pills and it is a comedy feature. It’s set a small town environment and is a real feel-good movie. It’s about a small town doctor who starts diagnosing his own otherwise healthy patients as terminally ill to help them gain a new perspective on life. It’s about living life to the fullest.

DM: I remember when we met at TIFF ’10 you were just beginning to develop the film.

CH: Yes, last year I participated in the Pitch-This! It was really great. I don’t know if I’ll do a public pitch again, because it’s a little bit different than when you’re actually taking a meeting with someone to pitch a film. It was certainly valuable. The exposure that we gained for the project through TIFF pitch-this was great. And then we went on to received Telefilm support to continue developing it. It has really enabled me to drive the project forward and part of that is envisioning this as a UK or Irish co-production. I was invited to some of the OMDC events last year and I got a taste of what was happening inside the Producer’s Lab, so that really increased my interest in participating this year. The focused time with European producers is really beyond just relationship building, because at film festivals there’s always opportunity to meet colleagues from all around the world, but at the Producer’s Lab there’s a concentrated opportunity to get to know one another and actually get into business. So it’s beyond the meet-and-greet and business card exchange.

DM: Do you have any advice for those producers considering the Producer’s Lab for next year?

CH: I think, as a producer, knowing your brand or really what you’re about as a producer is important, because for some producers international co-productions may not even fit into the financial model of the types of films that they want to make. Having said that, with the shifts that we are seeing in the financial landscape, it does behoove us to find international partners to put together the different funding that is available. For low-budget filmmakers though, getting involved in international co-production brings with it some costs, in addition to all the benefits it also increases your paper work, your legal fees, your time that you’re spending overseas and on the phone at odd hours. So there is a little bit of a cost to partnering that may not have the ultimate benefit to lower budget productions. So really take the time to weigh the benefits against the costs.

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Front Page, Industry News

The faces of Producers Lab Toronto

By TO411 Staff Writer
Daisy McLean

After a successful launch in 2010, the feature film networking and co-production program Producers Lab Toronto was back this year again at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Producers Lab is an initiative of the European Film Promotion (EFP), the OMDC and TIFF to gather experienced film producers from across Europe together with a similar number of Canadian producers for 3 days of programming at the start of the Festival. The objective is to exchange projects, build knowledge, grow relationships and support partnership building for the financing, production and distribution of Canadian-European co-productions. 

This year I met with one of the Canadian producers, Cher Hawrysh, whose project had been selected to participate. Cher has over ten years experience in the financing, production and distribution of independent film and television. Her credits include internationally acclaimed feature documentary Scared Sacred (Special Jury Prize, TIFF ’05) and as business affairs executive for A Beginner’s Guide To Endings (TIFF ’10). She is currently co-producing The Colony, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi in pre-production and has brought to the Producer’s Lab the feature film she has in development, Bitter Pills.

DM: What is the difference between a producer and business affairs executive?

CH: Filmmaking is such a multifaceted industry and there’s no shortage of expertise that’s required. I define producer as the creative and business force behind a project, bringing it all together in all aspects. So when I work specifically in my business affairs capacity I’m not driving the project, but I’m carrying things out for producers who are leading the project and managing for them many of the different elements – putting together different international financing scenarios, doing the paperwork that can surround international co-productions, negotiating their sales, closing the bank, dealing with the bond company. There are some folks who come to doing this through having a law degree or legal background and there are some who have been accountants, and I think that one of the benefits of me being a producer and sitting in that chair is that I really understand their world and appreciate it from that stand point. 

DM: Let’s talk about your project:

CH: The project I’m bringing to the Producer’s Lab this year is called Bitter Pills and it is a comedy feature. It’s set a small town environment and is a real feel-good movie. It’s about a small town doctor who starts diagnosing his own otherwise healthy patients as terminally ill to help them gain a new perspective on life. It’s about living life to the fullest.

DM: I remember when we met at TIFF ’10 you were just beginning to develop the film.

CH: Yes, last year I participated in the Pitch-This! It was really great. I don’t know if I’ll do a public pitch again, because it’s a little bit different than when you’re actually taking a meeting with someone to pitch a film. It was certainly valuable. The exposure that we gained for the project through TIFF pitch-this was great. And then we went on to received Telefilm support to continue developing it. It has really enabled me to drive the project forward and part of that is envisioning this as a UK or Irish co-production. I was invited to some of the OMDC events last year and I got a taste of what was happening inside the Producer’s Lab, so that really increased my interest in participating this year. The focused time with European producers is really beyond just relationship building, because at film festivals there’s always opportunity to meet colleagues from all around the world, but at the Producer’s Lab there’s a concentrated opportunity to get to know one another and actually get into business. So it’s beyond the meet-and-greet and business card exchange.

DM: Do you have any advice for those producers considering the Producer’s Lab for next year?

CH: I think, as a producer, knowing your brand or really what you’re about as a producer is important, because for some producers international co-productions may not even fit into the financial model of the types of films that they want to make. Having said that, with the shifts that we are seeing in the financial landscape, it does behoove us to find international partners to put together the different funding that is available. For low-budget filmmakers though, getting involved in international co-production brings with it some costs, in addition to all the benefits it also increases your paper work, your legal fees, your time that you’re spending overseas and on the phone at odd hours. So there is a little bit of a cost to partnering that may not have the ultimate benefit to lower budget productions. So really take the time to weigh the benefits against the costs.

Leave a Reply

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

Front Page, Industry News

The faces of Producers Lab Toronto

By TO411 Staff Writer
Daisy McLean

After a successful launch in 2010, the feature film networking and co-production program Producers Lab Toronto was back this year again at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Producers Lab is an initiative of the European Film Promotion (EFP), the OMDC and TIFF to gather experienced film producers from across Europe together with a similar number of Canadian producers for 3 days of programming at the start of the Festival. The objective is to exchange projects, build knowledge, grow relationships and support partnership building for the financing, production and distribution of Canadian-European co-productions. 

This year I met with one of the Canadian producers, Cher Hawrysh, whose project had been selected to participate. Cher has over ten years experience in the financing, production and distribution of independent film and television. Her credits include internationally acclaimed feature documentary Scared Sacred (Special Jury Prize, TIFF ’05) and as business affairs executive for A Beginner’s Guide To Endings (TIFF ’10). She is currently co-producing The Colony, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi in pre-production and has brought to the Producer’s Lab the feature film she has in development, Bitter Pills.

DM: What is the difference between a producer and business affairs executive?

CH: Filmmaking is such a multifaceted industry and there’s no shortage of expertise that’s required. I define producer as the creative and business force behind a project, bringing it all together in all aspects. So when I work specifically in my business affairs capacity I’m not driving the project, but I’m carrying things out for producers who are leading the project and managing for them many of the different elements – putting together different international financing scenarios, doing the paperwork that can surround international co-productions, negotiating their sales, closing the bank, dealing with the bond company. There are some folks who come to doing this through having a law degree or legal background and there are some who have been accountants, and I think that one of the benefits of me being a producer and sitting in that chair is that I really understand their world and appreciate it from that stand point. 

DM: Let’s talk about your project:

CH: The project I’m bringing to the Producer’s Lab this year is called Bitter Pills and it is a comedy feature. It’s set a small town environment and is a real feel-good movie. It’s about a small town doctor who starts diagnosing his own otherwise healthy patients as terminally ill to help them gain a new perspective on life. It’s about living life to the fullest.

DM: I remember when we met at TIFF ’10 you were just beginning to develop the film.

CH: Yes, last year I participated in the Pitch-This! It was really great. I don’t know if I’ll do a public pitch again, because it’s a little bit different than when you’re actually taking a meeting with someone to pitch a film. It was certainly valuable. The exposure that we gained for the project through TIFF pitch-this was great. And then we went on to received Telefilm support to continue developing it. It has really enabled me to drive the project forward and part of that is envisioning this as a UK or Irish co-production. I was invited to some of the OMDC events last year and I got a taste of what was happening inside the Producer’s Lab, so that really increased my interest in participating this year. The focused time with European producers is really beyond just relationship building, because at film festivals there’s always opportunity to meet colleagues from all around the world, but at the Producer’s Lab there’s a concentrated opportunity to get to know one another and actually get into business. So it’s beyond the meet-and-greet and business card exchange.

DM: Do you have any advice for those producers considering the Producer’s Lab for next year?

CH: I think, as a producer, knowing your brand or really what you’re about as a producer is important, because for some producers international co-productions may not even fit into the financial model of the types of films that they want to make. Having said that, with the shifts that we are seeing in the financial landscape, it does behoove us to find international partners to put together the different funding that is available. For low-budget filmmakers though, getting involved in international co-production brings with it some costs, in addition to all the benefits it also increases your paper work, your legal fees, your time that you’re spending overseas and on the phone at odd hours. So there is a little bit of a cost to partnering that may not have the ultimate benefit to lower budget productions. So really take the time to weigh the benefits against the costs.

Leave a Reply

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

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