Film Financing made easy

Gespräch mit Ilann Girard, Partner und CEO von OLFFI

Die MEDIA geförderte Plattform OLFFI hat die größte Datenbank über Förderungen für Film, TV und New Media in Europa aufgebaut. Das Screening der Datenbank umfasst 85 Länder, viele hundert Förderprogramme und Production Incentives, es gibt detailierte Infos zu den Förderregularien in den einzelnen Ländern, einen Förderkalender und die Möglichkeit, sehr gezielt nach verschiedensten Kriterien in einzelnen Regionen zu recherchieren. Genutzt wird die Datenbank von 2500 Besuchern monatlich, wobei die Reichweite durch Kooperationen mit Festivals u.a. in Cannes, Berlin, Venedig und Toronto, mit Märkten und anderen Partnern ständig wächst. Ergänzt werden die Online-Dienste durch klassische Publikationen, aktuell gibt es "Funding Guides" u.a. für "New Media", "European TV Drama" und "Short Film". Lisa Emer von Creative Europe Desk hat ein Gespräch im Ilann Girard, Partner und CEO von OLFFI geführt.

What is Olffi? Please tell our readers what the platform provides?
Olffi is the world largest database about public funds and production incentives for film, television, short film and new media.
We cover all the support programs for all the production stages, from development to post production. Altogether, we cover more than 900 funding schemes in 85 countries. We are also providing information about film commissions, regulations, coproduction treaties and professional organizations.
We have established partnerships with all the major coproduction events and we are publishing adhoc contents and financing guides.
Olffi is quite accurate as more than half of our information is now updated directly by the fund managers (under our curation) and we keep listing new programs especially the new production incentives and new local funds and film commissions.
We have developed a search engine and a compare tool that helps producers to evaluate what each of their potential partners can offer. We are very often the only source of information in English about certain funding schemes.
We have developed Olffi with two objectives: a toolbox to facilitate the cooperation between producers and a showcase for funding programs especially for those which are looking at attracting foreign productions.
We are now launching a consultancy service to put producers on the right tracks when looking at international financing. This service benefit for the new tools we have developed.

How many users do you have?
Olffi is available on desktop, mobile and via an app. 30.000 producers and professionals have visited Olffi over the last 12 months. We believe we are reaching out to 1 professional out of 2. Each month we have about 4000 active users. More than half of them are based in Europe while 25% are from anglo saxon countries (out of which about 18% in the US). We are growing our base in Asia with producers looking for information about foreign location.
We expect this number to double over the next 12 months through our partnership with Variety and a strategy of dissemination of our widgets and funding guides.
We have decided to keep the basic service of Olffi free.
We believe that the transparency of information sustains a more efficient market place. Being the #1 destination for public funding inquiries helps us to better understand and analyze the efficiency of the various funding programs.
We want to leverage and emulate the public funding schemes.

On your website you are talking about a new module that you are planning, could you tell us something about it?
We are working in developing new tools powered by algorithms to simulate the financing scenarii based on the parameters of each project. Those tools will enable us to determine the best financing scenario based on costs of crew, coproduction criteria, production rebates etc…
In the coming year we will be developing our links with coproduction platforms enabling producers to use our tools while working with others. Last but not least, we are now in discussion with crowdfunding platforms, enabling IP owners to access public supports.
We will soon be launching Olffi premium that will comprise an eligibility tool. Step by step we are turning Olffi in a proper platform providing tools and services with an aim to be the aggregator and clearing house for the public funding component of a project.

What is the future of film financing for you?
The independent sectors is threatened by a dramatic polarization that tend to see theatrical exploitation focusing on large scale production and local comedies. The market value of independent film is more and more difficult to assess while SVOD platforms and aggregators are "cannibalizing" the added value by segmenting the market place.
In most financing plans - even for studio level productions - public support account for 25 to 45% of the total financing. By optimizing the public funding component of an audiovisual production (that is likely to be more multifaceted) we can leverage its profitability for the investors.
We believe that it is urgent to work a new value chain that would involve the end users at an earlier stage (through crowdfunding and social media positioning) but also outside players (cultural institutions, associations, brands..) as well as equity investors.

What else is coming up?
The changes that have disrupted the music industry are now at work within the audiovisual sector. We believe that in Europe public institutions and regulators have a crucial responsibility in streamlining this transition.
We have built Olffi with a view to help European producers to coproduce and also to bring more production work to Europe. Coproduction sustains diversity while service productions can leverage strong economic gains.
By developing Olffi into a platform that aims at securing and monetizing the public funding offered to audiovisual productions we believe that we can help restructuring the European audiovisual sector by leveraging the available public supports and also supporting the diversity of European talents and crews.
While Creative Europe/Media has been supporting us from the beginning, their support is now being reduced. For us to keep our freemium model we need to grow our regular users base but we must also attract advertising from funds, film commissions and service providers.
We need each of your readers to register and tell their funding institutions and service providers about us.

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