The Film Finance & Distribution Podcast

Whirleybird Productions presents the Film Finance and Distribution Podcast: a deep dive into the business backbone of the cinematic world. We engage in insightful conversations with accomplished filmmakers, seasoned entertainment lawyers, and pivotal industry insiders. Our goal? To demystify the complex realms of film finance and distribution, equipping the next generation of filmmakers, producers, and cinema enthusiasts with knowledge about success stories, safe working practices, script acquisition, start-ups and running a production company, insights into sales and distribution contract pitfalls, budgeting techniques, tax benefits, funding sources, artificial intelligence and filmmaking, addressing skills shortages, the importance of training, intellectual property rights, copyright intricacies, and the art of successful collaboration.

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Monday May 13, 2024

In this episode, we’re excited to welcome back Shaun Seneviratne, writer, director, and producer of the micro-budget feature film "Ben and Suzanne: A Reunion in 4 Parts," which premiered at SXSW 2024. Joining him is his key collaborator, the talented producer Doron Jè Paul Mitchell. Together, they'll discuss film distribution, the evolving definition of independent cinema, and share behind-the-scenes insights from their film, shot on location in Sri Lanka. Shaun and Doron will also explore their creative processes and what they have learned from their experiences on this project, alongside a glimpse into their exciting new ventures in film and theatre.

Tuesday Apr 30, 2024

Shaun Seneviratne's raw, highly relatable debut feature, "Ben and Suzanne, A Reunion in 4 Parts," held its world premiere in the Narrative Feature Competition at SXSW 2024. It was filmed on location in Sri Lanka on a micro-budget.
In this next episode, Shaun Seneviratne discusses filming on location, marketing a feature film, recommended budget allocations for marketing, choosing the right PR company, tips for minimizing a feature film production budget, and how to leverage an SXSW screening.
Shaun was a fantastic guest with a wealth of knowledge for filmmakers. Shaun’s passion for his work and the industry is inspiring, enjoy!
Shaun's links:

Thursday Mar 28, 2024

Whether you are an industry professional, a new or established filmmaker with compelling stories, cautionary tales, industry insights, or unique funding and distribution experiences, we invite you to email to potentially feature on our show; please include screener links if available, and we'll respond to every submission.

Tuesday Feb 06, 2024

Join Helen Curston for a riveting podcast episode featuring Gareth Ellis-Unwin, the acclaimed Academy and BAFTA Award-winning Producer and CEO of Bedlam Film Productions. This in-depth interview delves into Gareth's remarkable journey in the film industry, highlighting his significant achievements and ongoing contributions.
Gareth's career took off with the BAFTA-nominated British thriller Exam in 2009, leading to international acclaim with The King's Speech in 2010. This film, the highest-grossing British independent film ever, earned seven BAFTAs and four Academy Awards, including Best Film. In 2012, Gareth produced Zaytoun, the first film under the UK-Israeli co-production treaty, screened at major film festivals and winning accolades.
Gareth worked on Kajaki. The True Story, a BAFTA-nominated British war film, where he played a pivotal role in its UK distribution. He also produced Steel Country in 2016, a dark thriller starring Andrew Scott and Bronagh Waugh. Beyond production, Gareth actively supports the military charity Help for Heroes and mentors young film enthusiasts through the International charity Cinemagic.
As a respected figure in the film industry and a member of prestigious organizations like AMPAS, BAFTA, PGA, and PGGB, Gareth shares his insights on the evolving role of film producers in the age of streaming, the landscape of independent film production in the UK, and the impact of recent industry strikes. He also discusses best practices for film submissions and introduces his new project Anything to Anywhere.
Don't miss this enlightening conversation with Gareth Ellis-Unwin, a visionary in the world of film production, on the Film Finance and Distribution Podcast.
Bedlam Productions:
YouTube:  @BedlamProductionsLtd  
X: @bedlamprod

Tuesday Dec 05, 2023

David Keating stands out as a distinguished filmmaker, celebrated for his exceptional work in films such as 'The Last of the High Kings' and 'Wake Wood.' His contributions to cinema have not only garnered critical acclaim but also brought him awards. Beyond his achievements in filmmaking, David has also made a significant impact in education as a respected lecturer at the National Film School in Ireland. His expertise is further showcased through his role as a seasoned trainer, where he conducts workshops for prestigious organizations like BAFTA, BFI, Screen Ireland, and Directors UK. Demonstrating a keen adaptability to the evolving landscape of storytelling, David has recently explored the cutting-edge fields of virtual reality and extended reality. Currently, he imparts his wealth of knowledge by offering invaluable advice on pitching to aspiring filmmakers. Today David shares invaluable advice on pitching for filmmakers.  
David's website:
David's X:

Tuesday Nov 21, 2023

In this engaging episode, Clare Cahill dives into her latest research areas, exploring how to revolutionize virtual production to make it more affordable for indie filmmakers. She delves into film funding, examining the effectiveness of crowdfunding in building an audience base, and demystifies the true meaning of 'independent film,' while also differentiating between small and large film budgets.
Clare Cahill, the founder and director of Compos Mentis Productions, a company that lives by the ethos of "Cutting carbon, not creativity." Clare, an independent producer and educator, shares her journey from a Clerk of Courts, university tutor, and academic criminologist to entering the film industry.
At Compos Mentis Productions, Clare has been at the forefront of merging technology with creative expression, focusing on sustainable content production that doesn't compromise creative vision. The company stands as a beacon of innovation in film, immersive technology, and gaming, driven by the potential of creative computing.
Don't miss this opportunity to gain valuable knowledge from a seasoned professional who is reshaping the industry. Tune in for an episode filled with inspiration, innovation, and impactful discussions.
Compos Mentis Productions:

Wednesday Nov 15, 2023

Emily Best is a notable producer in the film industry, and the dynamic and visionary CEO and Founder of Seed&Spark, a unique platform designed to foster diversity, inclusivity, and connectivity in the entertainment industry. Seed&Spark, empowers filmmakers with control over their creative work allowing truly independent cinema to be produced. This platform serves as both a crowdfunding and production support tool for independent filmmakers.
This interview gives insight into how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign, and what keeps Emily motivated through the tough times.
Seed&Spark blog:
X: @emilybest

Thursday Oct 26, 2023

Geraldine is a seasoned industry professional with four decades of rich experience. From her public affairs role with the Motion Picture Association in Europe to her role as a Senior Advisor for the Film distributors’ Association. Geraldine has championed countless film publicity campaigns, collaborating with major US studios and numerous global independent distributors, and she's also armed with a Law degree. An incredible journey, and I’m excited for you to delve into the multifaceted world of film from behind the scenes with us!
This episode covers:Publicity and public affairs in film distribution.How intellectual property rights and copyright safeguard filmmakers.A step-by-step explanation of the distribution process.Geraldine's roles at the FDA.Key elements distributors typically look for in a film.Shifts may take place within film distribution.Common mistakes filmmakers make when trying to distribute their films. What can be done to strengthen the UK independent film industry. To what extent the cinemas are recovering after the Covid pandemic.  What Geraldine has done consistently throughout her career that has kept her on track and progressing. 
The episode starts with topics suitable for entry-level filmmakers and gradually delves deeper, offering insights that I believe will captivate filmmakers at all levels.

Saturday Oct 21, 2023

In our upcoming episode, we're thrilled to welcome BAFTA-nominated film & television producer, Farah Abushwesha. Dive deep as Farah unravels the complexities of navigating the independent film industry, shedding light on film funding strategies unique to the UK and imparting wisdom on managing stress in this demanding field. Plus, get an insider's glimpse into her collaboration with Netflix in New York City for the celebrated film, 'Irreplaceable You'. Don't miss this enriching conversation brimming with insights and tales from behind the scenes!
BooksRocliffe Notes : A Professional Approach to Being a Writer: A Professional Approach For Screenwriters and Writer-Directors, available at:
Rocliffe Notes: A Guide to Low Budget Filmmaking, available at:

Thursday Oct 19, 2023

Inspiring Filmmaker, and Founder of the streaming platform Newyonder, JON CLEAVE.
Jon shares knowledge and advice on pitching, carbon neutral productions and B-Corps as well as a wealth of information learnt throughout his fascinating career.
Jon Cleave Twitter: Cleave Instagram:


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