It’s a year since director Ken Wardrop and producer Andrew Freedman won the Best Feature Award at the Galway Fleadh for the beguiling documentary His & Hers. JAMIE HANNIGAN talks to the filmmakers about dealing with sales agents, their festival strategy and getting that cinema release.
JAMIE: It’s been a good year for you since His & Hers premiered at Galway: did you make any special preparations for that screening, invite lots of friends and family?
ANDREW: The run-up to that screening was a very manic period for us, because the film was only just completed in advance of Galway. So, first and foremost, we were very nervous about how the film would go down, how the audience would react, because… Well, we had a few friends and family there but because of the slot we were given, the vast majority of people would be members of the industry, members of the public, and we had no control over that. But we thought, fair enough, let the film do the talking and see how it goes. We were nervous, to the point that Ken didn’t even watch it during the first screening…
KEN: And I haven’t watched it.
ANDREW: …and you haven’t watched it since!
What was the reaction? I mean, you presumably came in at the end…
KEN: Well, you may have not heard the drama. We had to stop the screening because the frame-rate was wrong on the projector. The first fifteen minutes would have been interfered with, so we stopped it and restarted. I had been rung from Andrew in the meantime to say that this had happened, so I’d obviously had a hernia down in the Yacht Club. I was expecting the worst when we came back…
ANDREW: At the end of the film, you really didn’t want to go in. I said, ‘Listen, the reaction was good…’ And when we went in, we pretty much immediately got a standing ovation, which I have to say, I haven’t seen at Galway before. That was the best endorsement of the film, so far. Because once that happened, we entered into other festivals with a lot more confidence. Also, although we weren’t really aware of it, the amount of members of the industry from all over the world who were actually at Galway – you don’t really think about it, but you see them again and again when you start to go on the festival circuit. They were all there and they all saw the film, and we were getting phone calls from Sony the next day, and phone calls from bigger distribution companies, wanting to get copies of the film. Which is something you just don’t really expect in Galway, in Ireland, for it to have such an immediate knock-on effect.
When did you encounter your first sales agent?
ANDREW: Well… The sales agent side of things took longer to develop, because although there was a lot of interest and everybody wanted to see the film, it didn’t necessarily mean that they wanted to jump on board. So the sales agent thing was gradual. In the end, we settled with Andrew Herwitz of the Film Sales Company in New York because he responded very well to the film and he was really passionate about it. And he seemed like the right person to bring the film to Sundance, which was our major international premiere.
The full article is printed in Film Ireland 133.