August 13, 2011

London Riots Take Their Toll

Their are far more tragic events happening all over the world, and I would never belittle them. However, speaking as a movie fan the news of the effect that the riots in the UK has had on the industry is just sickening. I may well be US based now but I still order plenty of movies from the UK. Looks like that might not be happening for a while now. The release below is from Third Window Films, from whom I recently received a copy of Sion Sono's Cold Fish.

The UK Riots and their affect on UK indepdendent film distribution and Third Window Films
Recently London and many other cities in the UK were hit by some of the worst riots in history, leaving 5 people dead, shops destroyed, mass-looting and hundreds of thousands of lives affected. 

During these riots the Sony warehouse in Enfield was looted and burnt down. This warehouse was the main stockist for the majority of small to medium sized film and music distribution labels (along with some of the majors) in the UK. Third Window Films, along with Terracotta DistributionArrow FilmsNetworkPeccadillo PicturesDogwoof,BFIEureka and many more had most, if not all of their stock destroyed. We lost nearly 20,000 units of stock. 

This is an undoubted tragedy and nobody is sure yet how this will affect the long-term situation for us and many of these companies, though what we can try to explain is that there will be a massive impact on the short term. While our stock was insured, it was only the number of units destroyed and units which will be replaced in terms of stock credit with Sony. Unfortunately with Sony's minimum top up of 500 units (luckily they've changed from the 1000 as previously required) we will need to pay for all the difference in units replicated against credit. For example as we had more than 10 films which had under 500 units of stock in at the time, we need to pay the difference for all stock below 500 to top it up to the minimum number. While this may only equate to around 3,000-4,000 units, it still means paying that amount at a time when we won't have been generating sales, which is another major problem with the situation...

This other major problem is that with this affecting so many companies, and right leading to the main Q4 campaigns, all other companies that are larger (we are one of the smallest in the UK) will have priority in having their titles replicated and put back into circulation. We should get a couple of our larger titles such as Confessions back into circulation quickly, but it may take a couple months before our catalogue titles get back into circulation, and with no units available for sale anywhere (Amazon is nearly sold out of all films across our whole catalogue) we will lose a massive chunk of our earnings over the next few months. Unfortunately as such a small company we don't have business interruption insurance which covers companies in the event of such situations. Ironically the larger companies have such insurance and yet their stock will be replicated first despite the fact they're covered for the eventual losses, so this will really hit the smaller companies the hardest (as is usually the case). 

We will endeavor to get through this situation and plan on keeping our release schedule of 2011 on track. 'Sawako Decides' and 'Quirky Guys and Gals' will still be out October 3rd, though 'Underwater Love' has been moved to November 21st. We can't really plan too far into the future as we're really unsure right now as to how bad this will affect us. 

What we ask of you, our fans, is to get the word out about us and other small niche labels like Terracotta Distribution, Arrow Films, Network, etc and get people interested in supporting independent cinema through these hard times. We don't have any new stock to send to stores, but there are still a few copies of our films on places like Amazon, and in high-street stores such as HMV and Fopp, so if there was a title you were thinking about picking up, please go out and buy it now so that we can convince stores that ours are worth restocking sooner rather than later. Alternately, we are trying to make many of our titles available to view online via MUBI so if you want to spread the word through that you can legally watch our titles through your PC or Playstation. 
nks for your support and we'll try hard to get through this!


LeftFieldFilms said...

I live in the UK (Scotland). Fortunately the riots never came as far as here but I have seen the impact as far as distribution is concerned.

I'm finding it extremely difficult to find some films from smaller independent distribution companies, shops like HMV have completely run out of stock in stores of certain films from these smaller companies.

I'm lucky enouch I've found some of the films have slipped the attention of buyers and managed to grab them. Films like "Cold Fish" (which I promptly bought after seeing from this blog). And it's unfortunate that suppliers only care about getting out the usual Hollywood dross out on shelves first, then having the afterthought of trying to release the smaller independent movies which are generally the better films! (They'll probably get round to remaking them once super hero movies are running out of popularity haha)

As you mention there are other worse things out there, but you need the little things in life (dvd's, for instance) to cheer you up or else all the shit stuff happening in the world would be unbearable. Also I'd hate to see these small, passion driven companies to go out of business as well.

Rant over.

Michael :)

Lord of Filth said...

Exactly. I'm from Essex myself, so thankfully I am not there any more. As you say, it is the smaller companies that I worry more about and I also would hate to see any of them go out of business. I'm not even going to try and order any imports right now unless I know for sure they are in stock.