Focus, the event for production professionals held earlier this month in London, has reported record attendance and exhibitor numbers for its fourth edition.
Visitor numbers at Focus, held on Dec. 4 and 5 at London’s Business Design Center, were up 40% to 2,700, drawn from 70 countries, and there was a 41% rise in exhibiting companies to 244. These included international film commissions, location providers and production service companies. Among the delegations tubthumping their countries’ freshly minted or enhanced production incentives were Poland, Finland, Romania and Portugal, whose efforts at Focus were supported by the presence of Ana Mendes Godinho, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Tourism.
There was also a doubling of content sessions offered free-to-attend panels, workshops and presentations, featuring more than 160 industry players. Onstage discussions included interviews with Alastair Clark, producer of Netflix movie “Calibre”; Angela Jain, managing director of ITV Studios Entertainment, who led a case study on ITV’s hit reality show “Love Island”; Roger Charteris and Robert Taylor of The Artists Partnership and Jane Villiers of Sayle Screen, who joined a discussion on the role of agents in the production process; Phil Hunt, the co-managing director of sales agency Bankside Films and Head Gear Films, a film and TV financier; production designer James Lapsley, talking about his work on the BBC’s “Bodyguard”; and Ali James, supervising location manager on “Mary Poppins Returns.”
Focus also hosted 30 networking events, including a brunch for producers in association with Variety, the location managers’ Christmas drinks, the Advertising Producers Assn.’s Christmas party and receptions by a wide range of film commissions, including Italy, Thailand, Finland, Croatia, Estonia, Ukraine, Madrid, Creative England/FO:UK, Poland, Cyprus, Portugal and Marseille.
Sustainability was a major focus at the event with an expanded Green Zone, an area dedicated to looking at the impact on the environment of the production industry. Presented in association with AdGreen and BAFTA’s Albert program, the Green Zone showcased eco-friendly companies and featured a Green Academy with sessions offering advice to production professionals about lowering their carbon footprint.
Focus expanded its European reach by creating formal partnerships with a range of industry associations representing producers, directors, location managers and other film and TV professionals. More than 30 associations from 20 European countries joined as new affiliates.
Focus managing director Jean-Frederic Garcia said: “After the success of 2017, we could not be happier to see how well received Focus ‘18 has been, counting visitors from all across the world and from all sectors of the creative screen industries. We enjoyed a lively exhibition hall, an amazing conference program and many networking opportunities.”
The fifth edition of Focus will be held at London’s Business Design Center on Dec. 3 and 4, 2019.