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FOCUS Locations Event Feeds Off Production Boom

The booming state of production, particularly in the U.K., emerged as key talking point at FOCUS, the London-based international locations conference, running Dec. 5-6. More than 170 companies from 61 countries exhibited at the event, including film commissions, location providers and production service companies.

The growing demand for content, driven by tech giants such as Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, YouTube and Google, was a common theme of the program of 34 free-to-attend panels, workshops and presentations featuring over 100 industry figures.

Among the speakers were Alex Boden (founder, Pistachio Pictures), Andrew Chowns (CEO, Directors U.K.), Andy Noble (co-producer, “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”), Anna Mansi (head of certification, BFI), Carlo Dusi (head of business and commercial affairs, Scott Free Films), Dawn McCarthy-Simpson (director of international strategy, Pact), Denman Rooke (executive chairman, October Films), Dominic Minghella (writer/producer, Island Pictures), Elaine Steel (agent), Julie Baines (founder, Dan Films), Katie Swinden (managing director, Fifty Fathoms), Lindsey Clay (CEO, Thinkbox), Magnus Temple (CEO, The Garden Productions), Natalie Usher (director, Creative Scotland), Nicolas Brown (director, film and TV, Neal Street Productions), Phillip Covell (CEO, AVTN), Rob Alcock (head of training, BBC Academy), Robert Jones (co-founder, The Fyzz Facility), and Sally Joynson (CEO, Screen Yorkshire).

The program was developed in consultation with the British Film Institute, British Film Commission, Pact, Advertising Producers Association, Production Managers Association, Creative Skillset, Animation UK, Games London and Women in Film and TV, and was presented in partnership with Variety.

FOCUS also hosted over a dozen dedicated networking events, including the APA Christmas Party, the Location Managers Christmas Drinks and receptions by a variety of film commissions including the Thailand Film Office, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau and the Catalunya, Mallorca and Balearic Islands film commissions. The networking events at FOCUS were sponsored by Maltsmiths Brewing.

Sustainability played a major role at FOCUS through the Green Zone, an area dedicated to addressing the environmental impact of the production industry. With the help of AdGreen and BAFTA’s Albert, the Green Zone showcased eco-friendly companies and offered advice to production professionals about lowering their carbon footprint.

FOCUS also featured a fully functional English pub on the showfloor, courtesy of Dresd, an organization focused on recycling set waste. Kitted out with traditional pub fixtures, The Dresd Inn was used to host a number of events including the FOCUS Opening Drinks.

FOCUS managing director Jean-Frederic Garcia said: “We enjoyed a bustling exhibition hall, a rich conference program and many networking events. We’re particularly proud of the friendly, welcoming atmosphere of the show which so many visitors commented on.”

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