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netribution > features > interview with david castro > page two
How many members do you have?
About a thousand but that has fluctuated over the years because of market forces and competing organisations and there are so many people doing producers courses. Many are written by academics, not producers and although they cover the right points they are missing some crucial elements of reality. The point is that everyone is now trying to change the infrastructure of the industry which is so difficult, the Film Council have taken some huge knocks in the papers - some justified and some not but you have to give them a bit of time. People saying they are a load of crap because they haven't changed the industry overnight - where's the surprise there?

What would you say the main issues are for the Film Council?
They have to change the infrastructure of something that has been in place for a long time. It's like stripping down a building and starting again whilst maintaining it as your building and with everyone saying you are doing it wrong at the same time. Everyone having there penny's worth on it and all wanting a piece of it, it has to be a staged process that incorporates peoples' information. People in power press can bleet on about the films that have been made being crap but that's not the issue, the issue is the infrastructure of the business.

K. The best that the Film Council has got is that it has the strategies in place to create an infrastructure. I read an article with them in Sight and and it seems that they want to create a sort of academy where you could effectively go in at development, through the New Cinema Fund and onto the Premier Fund. It's a nice idea but there seems to be that sort desire rather than chucking a lot of money at a new film.

D. It allows more people to come in at different levels, that leads to greater competition and which can only be a good thing. It forces up quality levels, without question.

Tell us about the NPA executive committee.
Any member can be elected by the members themselves and stay in office for 2 years. There are 9 directors and they cover strategy, they have specific contacts and abilities that can help the organisation move forward and focus on advising the office on forward strategy in every area. Something the 3 of us couldn't do alone.

R. Also to represent the NPA wherever they go as ambassadors.

K. There are former members that are now becoming patrons so again it's that cycle that feeds back into the organisation and help to take it to different levels. We meet once a month for about 2 and a half hours, it's generally business like with an agenda for lobbying, sponsorship, strategy, finance etc. Then we all go down the pub. (laughter)
Just to add to something said before, this is an open office. People come in for advice - they rarely bring in scripts but they bring in sample contracts and stuff, we advise them but they'll then go on to networking events and meet other people. Part of our job is to be as honest, helpful and empowering as possible, if you want to come in and ask then that's great.

D. As long as you book before. Some people I was just talking to have a very interesting project and needed to know what the next step was, spending half an hour with them is giving something more for the membership. If I don't know the answer then I'll find someone who does but the whole thing is about information. All the information is out there to make whatever film they want if they are willing to get off their bums and stop whinging about not making films.

There's a lot of that about.
I don't know why that is about this industry, possibly because the rewards are so huge.

D. Fear too, it's a big scary industry. At our Show Me The Money panel event at Edinburgh about finance, people came along expecting a list of financers. My opening gambit was: I'm the richest guy in the world with a safe full of as much money as you are ever going to need to make my film, why should I give it to you? Most didn't understand at all. They don't have their package ready, they might have a script, they don't have a director, who's on the wish list of actors? Who's producing it? Why and how much for? You are trying to sell a product and that is not a dirty word. For instance, you meet a writer who has a great idea so you ask them to pitch it - just as a joke and they start and stumble, 'its about…kinda this, you know..' You've lost me. You've got to be able to say, fairly concisely, what it's about. They've got to understand their own product before passing it on to a producer and those commercial aspects are part of the reality of business.

What about all your lives outside the NPA?
(uproarious laughter!)
D. I'm producing a feature that I started 2 years ago and I'm also developing a slate of other things but they've had to take a back seat while I'm doing this and will continue to do so.

K. I'm shooting my short in April, taking some time off and I'll be editing it at home. It's something that I've been working on for a while so I want to get it done and dusted.

Any planes taking off?
No, that was my last one! It's about a security guard who, on his last night, discovers that all his memories are in the place that he's been guarding - he puts them at risk. It's called Archive, offline it at home and either put it onto film or keep it as tape and try to get it out there.

R. I've been doing some script reading, paid work, but I like to be working with writers.

As a writer, director and producer surely you should all hook up?
The 3 Degrees! (laughter)

Thank You

The NPA provides a number of valuable services. The majority are free to members.

Specialised and high quality Producer training programmes at basic/entrance level and at an advanced level for those with more experience. Training is usually free or at a nominal cost.

A comprehensive educational programme of events including:
  • Masterclasses with high-profile industry figures
  • Seminars and practical workshops on a wide range of film related topics in collaboration with, amongst others, Kodak, SONY, London Film School, London Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, FilmFour and BAFTA
  • Numerous Networking opportunities to meet other like-minded filmmakers and share information
  • Monthly preview screenings of new British films, classic movies and Members features and shorts, followed by talks with the director/producer

    Monthly Newsletter
    NPA events diary
  • Information on industry events, festivals, funding, competitions, schemes and new opportunities
  • Members news, columns, reviews
  • Articles by industry professionals giving advice on issues that affect filmmakers
  • Interviews with key industry figures and NPA ‘Alumni’
  • Coverage of important changes in UK film policy, including Film Council updates
  • Free noticeboard section for members to ‘crew up’ etc.


    Telephone Hotlines providing free advice in the following areas:
  • Legal (courtesy of law firm Richards Butler)
  • Tax and Accountancy (courtesy of BDO Stoy Hayward)
  • Insurance (courtesy of AON / Albert G. Ruben Entertainment Risk Services)
  • Completion Bonds (courtesy of International Film Guarantors)
  • Banking (courtesy of Barclays Bank)
  • Digital post-production (courtesy of Digital Film at the Moving Picture Company)
  • Casting (courtesy of Philip Shaw Casting)
  • Music (courtesy of independent Music Consultant Clive Farrel)

    Other services include:
  • Directory of all NPA members with contact details and credits
  • NPA reference library with contact information on financing, distribution and exhibition. Also trade periodicals and copies of UK co-production treaties, union agreements and form contracts.
  • Exclusive deals and discounts on industry periodicals and services
  • Support to members at Festivals and Markets
NPA Past Events
The NPA is well known for its events and training seminars, providing a minimum of three free events per month covering such topics as Development; Pre-Production; Production; Post-Production; Marketing, Distribution and Exhibition; Financing; Film Taxation; Co-production; Cannes and Edinburgh Film Festivals; Copyright; Music Licensing and legal issues. The NPA is leading the way in providing open access events for members and non-members alike, with Masterclasses with leading industry figures and special one-off workshops, along with collaborations with major organisations such as BAFTA and the London International Film School

Recent keynote speakers have included:

Nik Powell and Steve Woolley (Scala)
Tim Bevan (Working Title)Peter Buckingham (FilmFour)Robin Gutch (FilmFour Lab)Paul Trijbits (Film Council)David PuttnamStewart Till (Film Council)Freddie Francis (Award-winning Cinematographer)Gillies MacKinnon (Director)Andrea Corbett (LFVDA)Kim Leggatt (Short Film Bureau)Paul Brett (BFI)Sara Keene (Corbett & Keene)
Meabh O’ Donovan (Short Circuit)

The NPA is very active in lobbying on behalf of independent filmmakers to ensure that they have a voice in the industry. It has recently contributed to the Film Policy Review Group and the proposals for the organisation of British film. Over the past year, representatives from the NPA have met with Alan Parker, John Woodward, Paul Trijbits, Robert Jones, Jenny Borgars and Helen Bagnall to promote the views of first time filmmakers and safeguard their future ability to access funding and information.

The New Producers Alliance is a non-profit making charity, reliant on donations from a wide variety of sponsors. With membership fees kept to a practical minimum, the NPA remains an open access organisation. Employing a core staff, it operates with the help of an Executive Committee and Board of Trustees, all of whom are established in their relevant fields of the film industry and donate their time freely to the continued expansion of the organisation.

Membership application forms can be downloaded from the NPA website:

Indiidual membership is £65 per year, details for concessions and for corporate or affiliate membership can also be found on the site.

You can contact David Castro, Rachel Caplan or Kevin Dolan at:

New Producers Alliance
9 Bourlet Close,London

020 7580 2480
020 7580 2484



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