• Space Is

Flax Films

[Space Is] sat down with Flax Films, an independent film company that focuses on artistic and creative endeavours. We were curious to find out more about the processes that go into film screenings and what makes them successful.

Michael Flax started his own company, Flax Films, to have a banner under which to promote his projects. Adding a layer of legitimacy onto a project where its not just a single creative toiling away, but a full service production company collaborating with another company. “So much of film is networking, and Flax Films allows for a scalability which I wouldn’t get as an individual. A lot of it is word of mouth, but what I like to do is to cross pollinate through social media. I’m creating a solid brand through Facebook for example, since most of my social media network is on that platform. I’ll make a Facebook page for each of my films, and from there, news publications and press releases are shared to create high engagement across multiple pages. For film projects, a lot of your audience will overlap and that's where you’ll get more local and niche followers.”

What is the funding process like?

“A lot of it is private funding. In terms of self funded films, I go the route of crowd funding and connecting to the audience to have them help us create a new piece of art or film product, whatever that looks like on a per project basis. Its all part of engaging with your audience. In terms of continuing short films and creating art, its about trying to find as many of those small projects where you can connect with more targeted groups.”

Describe a powerful film screening that you hosted - what made it a positive experience?

“My last film screening, A Safe Space, was my best one. We hosted it at Film Cafe in Kensington and packed the place. Initially, we didn’t think that many people would show up. We didn’t need to promote the event that much, because we knew we already had the audience. Originally, we were thinking of hosting the premiere at the Regent Cinema, but it ended up falling through - which was a blessing in disguise because we were looking for a more intimate place for the screening - so Film Cafe was more of the atmosphere we wanted to create for the screening. Film Cafe was incredibly accommodating - the ambiance of the space fit exactly with what the intimacy of the event was. This was the premiere screening for crowd funding - so it included cast, crew, and a Q&A session. There was lots of enthusiasm and energy in the room. We thought there were going to be around 30 people and the day before, I put out another RSVP reminder, so 45 people sent in their RSVP in total. But on the day of, we ended up with 70 - putting the place over capacity! It worked very well - everyone was really happy.”

Describe your ideal or favourite event space. Have you found it? What are some features of different spaces that you enjoyed?

“It depends on the film - with A Safe Space, the novelty of having the film premiere at the theatre where we filmed it would have been nice, but the intimacy of Film Cafe was perfect because we were looking for a gallery style space - so it worked really well. I also have to ask myself, what is the scale of the event? I would have to tailor the space for the film, and it is all based on the strategy, whether there are investors, how it is marketed, if we want to have media or investors only, etc. Those aspects will all change what the requirements are. Loft spaces are great - it’s a fine line between having well defined spaces and keeping people moving around and engaged. For me, that means having a screening area separate from a Q&A area; in order to host the screening in one place and the after party somewhere else. Presentation and exhibition of the film are another aspect, as there’s no one size fits all. High ceilings is always a plus, multiple banks to lighting is important to set the mood, having a space that is easily accessible, and so on. I try and look for that as much as I can if we have the budget and can make it work.”

“In terms of Flax Films, hosting an event comes down to what are we hosting it for - how do we make it into a cohesive experience? Everything will change to fit the space we’re looking for. With film making, everything is tied to marketing - you tailor each event to something in the film; every opportunity is a marketing opportunity.”

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Vancouver, British Columbia

Toronto, Ontario

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