Here’s an interview we did with Brian J Faconer for FNi website last month, all about YUKI, a Belfast/Japanese copro.
SPOT LIGHT ON YUKI - a co-pro short film
In Summer 2012 Eat My Shorts had our very first full day festival and while the day was packed to the gills full of jaw-dropping short films, I found one particularly intriguing. Not only did it’s magical and beautifully told story appeal to me but the description,“YUKI: the Japanese/Irish fantasy short”, suggested an enterprising funding model that before this I had previously only seen in feature films. YUKI’s producer Brian Falconer told me a bit about the process of co-funding a short film.
“Initially it was our goal that YUKI be fully funded by Northern Ireland Screen. Once (they) saw our finished script, the scale of our proposed production and our intentions for YUKI to be a world class short, they confirmed their support. However we soon learned that Northern Ireland Screen did not have a big enough short film fund to support us up to the amount required. At that time they were only able to support a short film project up to the amount of £4,500, roughly half of what we needed – this is where the co-pro arose from.”
“I knew that with private investors we could raise a couple of grand for YUKI although this would still leave us short of our target. It occurred to me that the telling of a Japanese story in Belfast could be an attractive proposal for the Anglo-Japanese Foundations that existed in England, so that’s when I first contacted the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation (GBSF)”
“I approached the GBSF with a proposal to co-fund the post production and pay for Canadian feature film editor Jim Munro (Fifty Dead Men Walking) who had expressed interest in editing YUKI. With all the pre-production in place, we gave a strong pitch and application to the GBSF. Thankfully they loved what we were doing and decided that they wanted to help.”
Brian says that while co-pro’s are the norm in feature film production and are a massively good thing for producers, they are hard work. “You have to balance a number of sources of financing and keep everyone happy… From the time we first pitched to Northern Ireland Screen until the time we had confirmed all funding took 16 months, including a number of reapplications, but film making is hard work, that’s why we do it, the challenge!”
Brian’s advice to film makers is to write smartly “the most important part of any production is money, it’s as simple as that! Even if you make your film for nothing, at some stage you are going to need money. So, when you are writing, write smartly.” He recommends thinking about what kinds of businesses and organisations your story is relevant to and sell it to them!
Since it’s release YUKI has been wowing audiences at festivals such as; Cannes Short Film Corner; Galway Film Fleadh; Cincinnati Film Festival; LA Irish Film festival and, of course, Eat My Shorts festival in Dublin.
It really is a fantastic and brilliantly realised short film and if you haven’t seen it yet, Brian and director, Jon Beer, have just signed a 5 year worldwide distribution deal with Shorts International, so seek it out and make sure you see this short!
Here’s the links!