Understanding the UK Film and Television Marketplace and How You Can Succeed Within It

Hosted by Rowan Woods


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Rowan Woods

Webinar hosted by: Rowan Woods

Festival Programmer at BFI / London Film Festival

Over the last 15 years Rowan Woods has worked across almost every sector of the UK film industry, from development to journalism, via distribution, festivals, exhibition and a long stint at the BBC. She currently splits her time between the British Council, where she acts as the specialist liaison between the UK production sector and the international festival circuit, and the London Film Festival, where she programs episodic work and industry panels. She also works as a freelance development and acquisitions consultant, and is frequently found moderating industry panels and talent Q&As, including for BFI, BAFTA, IFFR and SXSW. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

The UK has a booming screen sector with world-class production facilities that have recently been home to film and TV behemoths like STAR WARS, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and GAME OF THRONES, as well as a thriving independent sector that has supported filmmakers like Steve McQueen, Andrea Arnold, Ken Loach, Joanna Hogg, Clio Barnard, Mike Leigh and Lynne Ramsay. Chances are high that many of the films and TV shows you’ve loved in the past year came out of the UK. It goes to show that whether you’re based in the UK or elsewhere, understanding the UK market’s unique ecosystem and knowing how to navigate it and take advantage of the opportunities available – from production and financing right through to the distribution and exhibition – is essential and can open endless doors for you in this increasingly global, yet competitive industry.

The UK and US industries are closely aligned due to a common language, frequent co-productions and an increasing cross-pollination of talent. But what sets the UK market apart from its US counterpart is a strong public funding system, which supports the independent sector and nurtures new talent. So how do you access this support and what kind of projects are eligible? And what about commercial financing options? How does TV fit into this? And what about Brexit and its impact on co-productions? Whether you’re a UK native or an international filmmaker, producer, it’s high time to gain a comprehensive understanding of the UK’s role in the global film and television industry. In many ways, with so many creatives focused on the American market, this is open yet unexplored territory that can be explored and mined for your gain.

Over the last 15 years Rowan Woods has worked across almost every sector of the UK film industry, from development to journalism, via distribution, festivals, exhibition and a long stint at the BBC. She currently splits her time between the British Council, where she acts as the specialist liaison between the UK production sector and the international festival circuit, and the London Film Festival, where she programs episodic work and industry panels. Over the years she has worked with BAFTA, BFI, EIFF, LSFF, BFI NETWORK, Curzon and Radio4. She also works as a freelance development and acquisitions consultant and is frequently found moderating industry panels and talent Q&As, including for BFI, BAFTA, IFFR and SXSW. Rowan’s work has given her a deep and comprehensive understanding of the UK film and television industry and is excited to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community.

Rowan will give you an in-depth overview of the UK sector, outlining the key players, the opportunities and challenges, and providing you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate it successfully. She’ll begin with a general introduction of the UK market including what makes it unique, key facts and figures you should know, and how to understand the overall structure. She’ll then teach you about their main sources of funding, both public and private, and how funding works with international co-productions. She’ll also discuss the funding opportunities available for new talent. Rowan will then outline the key film institutions of the area and what they do. She’ll then discuss the support structures in place for producers and will delve into the key players in the sales agent space and how to determine which sales agent is right for your project. Rowan will go over the key distributors in the region and what the exhibition landscape looks like in general. She will also talk about the role of online platforms today and how the UK box office operates. She will then discuss the role of critics in this ecosystem and the key critical voices. Rowan will teach you about the major film festivals in the UK and how to determine which is right for your project, whether your project is a feature, short, narrative, or documentary. She’ll also talk about good marketplaces and forums in the area. She’ll go over the most important people in the UK industry right now and will then delve into the landscape of UK television, including both public service broadcasting and streaming services and key TV production companies. Rowan will outline for you the key opportunities in the UK marketplace, as well as the key challenges that go along with them. Finally, Rowan will give a rundown of how the industry has been altered by Brexit, as well as by COVID-19.



Praise for Rowan's Stage 32 Webinar


"It was great information and an amazing overview of how the UK industry works. Thank you so much."

Marisé S.


I was vague about how things get into production in the UK, but have a much better idea now. Between the seminar and the resources to fill in the gaps, I feel a lot more equipped.

-Jonathan H.


I was very impressed by the comprehensive overview of the UK industry and how well Rowan presented it. I'd love to hear more from her in the future.

-Carolyn K.


Comprehensive survey. Rowan knows her stuff, and has walked the walk. She is a confident and fluent presenter: she can talk the talk

-Stephen P.

What You'll Learn

  • Introduction to the UK Market
    • What makes it unique
    • Key facts and figures
    • Overall structure
  • The Main Sources of Funding
    • Public
    • Private
    • Co-productions
    • Funding opportunities for new talent
  • The Key Film Institutions and What They Do
  • Producers
    • Who are the key players?
    • What kind of support is there for producers?
  • Sales Agents
    • Who are the key players?
    • Which sales agent is right for my project?
  • Distribution
    • Who are the key distributors?
    • What does the exhibition landscape look like?
    • What role do online platforms play in the ecosystem?
    • UK box office
    • The role of critics and the key critical voices
  • Important Film Festivals in the UK and Which Are Right for Your Project?
    • Features
    • Documentaries
    • Shorts
    • Marketplaces and pitching forums
  • Who’s Who: the Most Important People in the UK Industry And What You Need to Know About Them
  • TV in the UK
    • Public service broadcasters vs. streamers
    • Key production companies
    • Opportunities in this space
  • Key Opportunities in the UK Marketplace
  • Key Challenges in the UK Marketplace
  • How Brexit Has Changed the Landscape
  • How COVID-19 Is Changing the Landscape
  • List of Useful Resources
  • Q&A with Rowan

About Your Instructor

Over the last 15 years Rowan Woods has worked across almost every sector of the UK film industry, from development to journalism, via distribution, festivals, exhibition and a long stint at the BBC. She currently splits her time between the British Council, where she acts as the specialist liaison between the UK production sector and the international festival circuit, and the London Film Festival, where she programs episodic work and industry panels. She also works as a freelance development and acquisitions consultant, and is frequently found moderating industry panels and talent Q&As, including for BFI, BAFTA, IFFR and SXSW.


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