When it was starting to be clear that raising financing for my low budget indie features by offering a good ROI to investors doesn’t happen as soon as I expected, I was facing a dilemma. What could I do with less budget to make a good return and producing some documentaries could be an answer. So, first idea what I tested out on potential British audience was about Setoland. Setoland is an occupied country divided by Estonian – Russian border. They have their own language, flag, hymn and even King.
I lived there nearly two years, met fantastic personalities and sure an unknown country could be something British audience would love to get to know better. Especially when they are occupying new EU borders with Russia after Estonia joined to EU. And those borders where never ratified by Estonian parliament so now EU have temporary control line with Russia.
As BritDoc was founded as documentary financing body in UK, I first expected to get some funding from them without having much luck. They just answered that this topic isn’t much related to British culture? So, BBC was next hope but they answered that “nations and countries we have no whereabouts cannot be interesting topic to our audience” which shocked me. To know the unknown has been a reason for media to exist so are they really destroying those values? Especially I had one BAFTA awarded director attached to this project and we would have executed it within some 10K budget which should have been no money for BBC at all.
And when I met Gregg Sanderson who told me so then, it was clear they really do by replacing it with an arrogance and cretinism. In Munich Discovery Campus event he was so exited about “Professional Traveller” project which suppose to cover economical and ecological issues of global travelling but was more like a travel commercial about arrogant Brits who travel anywhere without any reason. I just hope British Parliament have courage to take all the money away from BBC as those arrogant idiots there are the real terrorists to destroy professionalism and values media had in the society. And they go so far to protect the corruption that they will send a SWAT team to arrest those people who still care about professional values.
In Discover Campus event I met Dr. Claudia Schreiner from German MDR TV channel to pitch his project to her as she was interested about Eastern Europe topics. The start sounded promising but then she claimed that she have to do her own research and after six months she haven’t much answered to my proposal so how long it takes from some female to research so simple topic?
Why those TV channels female commissioning editors are incompetent to do their work properly. Simple yes or no answer should have been enough.
When I sent those proposals to Erkki Astala in YLE Finland hoping that maybe Finnish people have interest to Setoland as they speak similar language than Saami people in Northern Finland he just answered that my projects are too general to have general interest?
The only person who have acted professionally and who would have even considered to finance it has been Angus McQueen from Channel4. Even he declared that he is not interested about small dying nations. But he left from his post within a weeks I had possibility to pitch this project for him.
As my public fundraising campaign for this project using IndieGoGo didn’t get my any support, so I must abandon it.
Same kind of issues I encountered with some other documentary ideas. To send proposals to BritDoc haven’t been much useful for me. They have their own criteria and as foreign person, they have their own priorities as well. After I had submitted Mikhail Khorodovsky project to them and got rejected, I submitted a project about santa clause hard work during Christmas eve and how he cannot be with his own Childs that time giving presents to them as well being just drunk and it was march or something… and they where interested? I can’t shoot that kind of topic in April?
Being in Northern Ireland I was surprised that so many young people has been turned to punks. Later I found persons who where doing punk music sixties when Brits had their Beatles. So, being known before how Sex Pistols saved Richard Branson’s Virgin Records, it would have been a good story to get it out how actually Brits where stealing Irish protest culture during the time when Northern Ireland was in war against Britain.
But my documentary would have been more about young punks asking the question “Is punk culture in Northern Ireland a silent protest or cultural heritage”.
hen I visited Screen Northern Ireland with this project, I got again their promise to finance 50% or if I just have a need for a camera, they could buy it for me. But as I wanted to use professionals, I just had a need to pay for them for around 10-15 shooting days. Offering it to Channel4 then I got them interested but didn’t had any money to go London so I was thinking that as BBC is two blocks away, it could be easier for me to sell it for them. But they sent a SWAT team to arrest me!!!
In September 2010 I had a chance to met Ann Miralis from Channel4 in Documentary Campus Munich but seems that times had changed in Channel4. She flirted there with Greg Sanderson and when I emailed her the proposal, she never answered. So why female commissioning editors have lack of decision making skills? How they can work on those kind of post without having relevant skills?
OK, maybe there was something wrong with my projects so I had met Lucas Jedrzerac who had put lot of his money and efforts in to “Talking Machines” project covering the history of recorded sound since Edison phonograph early . He had met those early innovators and enthusiasts, so it’s obviously a story needed to be recorded. After my bad experiences with BBC and Channel4, I was thinking that maybe French Television will take it. Ann Julianne spent lot of time with some young Polish Filmmaker trying to sell his documentary about rabbits in Poland which she though must have theatrical release in France so obviously history of recorded sound should be more interesting as French people admire their cinema history from Lumiere. However, she as usual female commissioning editor does not answer proposals. I’m sorry to hear that after several years of work on this project, Lucas had to abandon it and take a daily job. Lucky him that he was able to get one, I haven’t after huge amount of efforts since 2003.
And another filmmaker, whose project I admired went back to Columbia and doing some cheap commercials there to earn living. Viviana Madoreno-Rivero had a project about “falsos positivos” – a result what can happen when society has gone so far with lies and career plans. “Falsos Positiovos ” isn’t much a Columbian story, it’s happens everywhere in capitalistic world but in Columbia it shows exactly what kind of results we could get if it happens in military.
So, keeping myself live and pushing my fiction projects forward meanwhile hoping now to gain some money from mobile market. This market was too corrupted and not ready in 2005 when I started, so hopefully now there are better chances to earn living with my skills from there.