Monthly Investors Update
The last few months have been a whirlwind of international sales markets and meetings for the Evolutionary Films team and we have a lot of news to update you with.
KEY NEW ACQUISITIONS
In order to bolster our international sales catalogue and continue to push up the value of the films we invest in and represent, the team have made a number of key acquisitions over the last few months.
A $32m CGI family animation from a multiple Academy Award nominated ex-Disney and Pixar team.
In addition to investing in the development of this title, we have also secured a small ownership in the underlying IP and brand thanks to our marketing activities and exclusive partnership with the world’s leading entertainment brand agency Feref that was brokered by our Marketing Director Alistair.
For those of you with young relatives, a game called ‘MiBots Playroom’ for kids to get to know the MiBots characters in advance of the film release is already available to download from Apple and Android App Stores; and you can watch a short teaser for the film here:
Our latest collaboration with Jeffrey Morris and his team at FutureDude Entertainment in the US. Persephone is a $10m science fiction film about the human race’s first mission to colonise another planet. Set to shoot at Pinewood Wales in early 2019, the film has already engaged with Pixomondo, the visual effects company behind Game of Thrones, to provide a stunningly realistic vision of space travel in the future. Some early work-in-progress test shots of the VFX can be seen here:
The cast already includes American actress Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds, Red/Red 2) and the director will soon be meeting personally with Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones, X-Men: The New Mutants) via our existing connection thanks to Diane our Managing Director having produced a BAFTA nominated film with Maisie in 2015. Evolutionary Films will produce Persephone and is structuring the finance plan with the Welsh Government (Media Investment Budget) and a Chinese partner, Shandong Media Group (who we are hosting for an official UK visit next month) alongside investment from Pixomondo and our own EIS production fund.
Don’t Stop Me Now (Development)
Born with EB, a debilitating genetic skin disorder that leaves the skin as delicate as butterfly wings, Jonny Kennedy defied all expectations. Helped by the defiant spirit of his Mother, Jonny learned to walk, found love and lived life on his terms. His friends ranged from Lords to pin-up girls and all learned there was much more to Jonny than his disease.
This drama feature biopic is inspired by the BAFTA and International Emmy Award winning documentary, The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off, which documented the final months of Jonny’s life. The team behind this title visited the UK in April to meet with us and set the ball rolling on this aspirational film via meetings with Coutts Bank, Renaissance Films and plans to host charity crowd funding events over the summer.
The Tokoloshe (Completed)
A horror film based in real Zulu mythology, The Tokoloshe is garnering a lot of festival attention from the biggest genre festivals in the world. Its world premiere will take place next month at the prestigious Bifan festival in Korea before it goes on to screen at Durban International Film Festival, Fightfest, Sitges and Lund Fantastik Film Festival in the run up to its cinema release on Hallowe’en 2018.
Eleven (Post Production)
A war drama set in the final hours of WWI when ambitious Generals were still needlessly sacrificing young soldiers even though the Armistice had been agreed and everyone knew hostilities would cease at 11am.
Sisters of the Wilderness (Completed)
A social impact documentary that recently premiered at Encounters in South Africa.
In addition, the company has acquired horror film Crypsis, motorsport documentary The Green Hell and a number of other titles for both international sales and UK domestic distribution.
INTERNATIONAL SALES MARKETS
European Film Market, Berlin, 14th-22nd February 2018
As usual, Evolutionary Films exhibited in Berlin under the UK Film Umbrella inside the main MGB building. For us this market was primarily about introducing the world to MiBots and Persephone and Jeffrey Morris came personally to present his sci-fi vision to a select group of invited buyers at a drinks reception at our sales booth.
Filmart, Hong Kong, 15th-22nd March 2018
This year is the first time we have been represented in Hong Kong and we did so as part of the UK Film delegation with significant subsidy from Film Export UK. The main thrust of attending Filmart was to develop relationships with new buyers from the smaller Asian territories who don’t usually attend the film markets in Europe or America. Although only a short market (and a very long flight), Hong Kong was a resounding success and we now have a number of new customers we wouldn’t otherwise have secured.
MIPTV, Cannes, 8th-13th April 2018
Although feature film production, sales and distribution keeps us very busy at Evolutionary Films, television remains a key part of our plans for the company’s growth and we were invited to participate in MIPTV as part of the DIT London Trade Mission, funded by ERDF and the UK Department of International Trade. During this market we had very positive meetings with Discovery, A&E Networks (History) and ITV Studios International amongst others. We’ve subsequently followed up in London with ITV and are in the process of closing two deals with them, one of which is to jointly develop an original format we’ve devised for global television sales.
Marche Du Film, Cannes, 7th-16th May 2018
Cannes is one of the biggest markets of the year for us and this year was no exception as we exhibited from our usual sales booth at Riviera F14 in the main Palais des Festivals building. The whole team attended at some point and we were very busy with selling our titles, acquiring new content and meeting producers. During the market, our CEO, John, took time out from meetings to be interviewed about film finance by the decorated US Media Attorney and author, Vinca Jarrett:
This coming month will see the team participate in The London Screenings (18th-21st June 2018) during which Film London invites international buyers to screenings and meetings with registered UK companies at the BFI; and EIFF in Edinburgh (22nd-25th June 2018) where we help to nurture young breakthrough filmmakers in the Talent Lab and get a first look at unfinished films selected by the festival at their Works In Progress event (as well as inevitably partaking in some Haggis and Highland dancing).
We have papered international sales income of $466,400 off the back of the markets so far in 2018, which is our best year to date. This revenue will flow in over the next few months as we sign long forms and deliver titles. Our share of this total varies between 10% and 100% depending on which title each deal relates to but we expect we will end up with approximately 20-25% retained after our third party producers are paid. There are also a number of other deals still being negotiated and offers still coming in from Cannes.
Most notable among our international sales titles are the following films which are doing exceptionally well:
Vengeance – we’re very excited that Saban Films have licensed Vengeance for North America and will be releasing later in 2018. Saban are a giant of the genre film world and distribute in the United States via their studio partner Lionsgate. Vengeance continues to win festival selections and awards, and has also secured distribution in China (Lemon Tree), Hungary (Romis Film Group), Japan (Open Sesame), Korea (Lion Pictures), the Middle East (Phoenicia Pictures) and New Zealand (Sky). We will release in the UK via our own distribution arm at the same time as Saban. As a result of the success of this title, we are already planning Vengeance 2 and Ross is beavering away at the script.
Aux – following its theatrical release in the UK in November, Aux is now available on digital platforms including Sky Store, iTunes and Amazon. It has also been released or secured distribution in China (Beijing HY Media), Hungary (Romis Film Group), the Middle East (Phoenicia Pictures), Korea (Picturesque), Vietnam (Golden River Intercine) and Canada (Indiecan Entertainment). In the US we’re very excited that Aux has been licensed to Uncork’d Entertainment for release later in 2018. Uncork’d have a very strong track record of securing Walmart, Redbox and Hulu placement for horror movies so they are the perfect partner for this title.
Looking For Lennon – following on from our own UK release, Looking For Lennon has done extremely well and will be released in North America on John Lennon’s birthday in October by SP Releasing. It has also secured deals in China (Lemon Tree), Brazil (Globosat), Italy (Koch), Poland (Against Gravity), Spain (Vertice Cine), Turkey (Fabula Film) and we are currently negotiating deals in Germany and Japan.
In addition, and amongst numerous other deals, Out Of The Shadows was released this week in North America by Blue Fox Entertainment which we hope will be the start of a great relationship with them; we’ve papered two deals with Fox Networks Asia to release our titles across the Pan Asian region via their Pay TV network; and MiBots is already securing lucrative pre-sale offers including deals in Russia (CD Land), Hong Kong (Deltamac), Vietnam (Skyline) and The Philippines (Crystal Sky) before the screenplay is even completed!
Our income from UK distribution is gradually increasing as we add more titles to our library and build up a base monthly turnover, rising from £279.27 in May 2017 when we were just starting out with one title on release, to £3,708.97 in December 2017 and up to £9,956.96 in February 2018 when we released our fourth film. Since then we’ve also released the Beatles documentary Looking For Lennon on transactional VoD last month and we will be following up with a short theatrical run on Merseyside starting this weekend before the film is broadcast on Sky Arts from July. If anybody is visiting Liverpool 15th-21st June, please do let us know and we’ll try to arrange tickets for you to attend a screening.
In order to continue and sustain this growth, we’re ramping up the number of titles we release and have the following films already scheduled over the next few months:
Out of the Shadows – 6th August 2018
Our award winning Australian horror.
London Rampage – 17th August 2018
A hard-hitting fight movie starring professional wrestlers that we’re releasing to coincide with WWE Summerslam.
Written By Mrs Bach: Broken Silence – 14th September 2018 (TBC)
Our controversial investigation into whether some of J. S. Bach’s music was in fact written by his second wife Anna Magdalena Bach.
Broken Mile – Q3 2018 (TBC)
A fast-paced single-take thriller with no cuts in the entire 90 minute film.
Vengeance – 28th September 2018 (TBC)
To follow close after the US release. The film will also be screening at the Fighting Spirit Film Festival as a UK Premiere around the same time so look out for your invitation once we have all the details!
Stronger Than Bullets – 19th October 2018
Our documentary following musicians as they stood up to tyranny in Libya, released to coincide with the anniversary of the death of Muammar Gaddafi.
The Tokoloshe – 26th October 2018
In time for Hallowe’en.
Eleven – 9th November 2018
With a theatrical event planned for the centenary of the WWI Armistice on 11th November.
Please do look out for our films, tell your friends and family about them and share our social media posts and marketing. Please also do leave a positive review on a digital platform or IMDb if you enjoy a title, because reviews do help push our films higher up in the platform libraries.
As always, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our shareholders for your outstanding and ongoing support and we will continue to keep you updated via our social media channels. Please do also bear in mind that in updating you as shareholders, we are providing privileged and sensitive information in this email about the business and commercial activities of Evolutionary Films and we ask you to please keep this private and confidential.
The Evolutionary Films Team