Director Mike Leigh, Chairman of the LFS, with Professor Nick Kaye, Dean of the College of Humanities.

LFS and Exeter: It's the Business

By the time next year’s Graduation Show rolls around, the first intake of students into the London Film School’s newest – and possibly most innovative - course will be approaching the mid-point of their journey into the world of international film production.

Jointly offered with the University of Exeter, the MA International Film Business is a unique combination of the practical and the academic, seeking to give students both a historical understanding of how the non-studio film business has developed and operates in the US, Europe and around the world, combined with practical production work and top-level mentoring from established professionals chaired by veteran producer Scott Meek.

“It’ll be just like producing: I’ll be chairing a group of highly opinionated people,” quips Meek, who has just returned from an eight-year stint in Australia. “But the difference is, we’ll be completely committed to young and talented people and spending our time trying to make a better future for film.”

The course, which has been jointly developed over the past year by top Exeter academics and members of the LFS staff will enable a new generation of producers to come to grips with the realities of international film production at the dawn of the digital era. “The MAIFB will bring together specialist researchers and teachers in film from the College of Humanities and the Business School at Exeter with our partners from the LFS, who have an in-depth knowledge of the film industry and the particular challenges in relation to production and distribution presented by today's fast-changing, multi-platform, digital landscape,” says Will Higbee, Senior Lecturer in French and Film Studies at Exeter. “The range of skills and knowledge from Exeter and LFS will combine to produce an innovative and unique environment for teaching and training the independent producer of tomorrow."

Students will be trained in the business skills necessary for today’s film marketplace; study the history and present state of film distribution and film markets (with a research trip to a major film festival built into the programme); come to grips with the entertainment value chain; and discuss models of innovation with leading professionals in a series of weekly seminars. “These days,” says Ben Gibson, director of the London Film School, “it’s no longer relevant to train in production alone. You need to be – or at any rate to understand being – a distributor and a sales agent as well. Otherwise, you’re not an independent producer: you’re a dependent one.”

For the first time, adds Gibson, students will not need to choose between university and film school if they want to be a producer. “The course is truly radical in the sense that we’re not just inventing a course: we’re inventing the students as well.”

Date: 21 November 2012

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