FILMINUTE 2018: THE CINECOUP INTERVIEW
The Coup Company is a one-of-a-kind, full-stack, Vancouver-based studio that specializes in the discovery and development of original content.
When they came on board in 2013 to sponsor the first CineCoup Award at Filminute, they had just awarded a $1million dollar development deal to 'Wolf Cop' the first film to come through their unique 15-week program. They have since gone on to work on a sequel, 'Another Wolf Cop,' three more feature films, as well as expand the number of content creation and branded content plays they are involved in including Comedy Coup & StoryHive.
In 2017 the $2,500CAN CineCoup Award at Filminute became part of a larger development initiative aimed at bringing to pitch a commercial length film or tv series.
FM: Great to have CineCoup back and sponsoring the CineCoup Award for the 6th year. What are some of your latest projects?
CC: Our latest projects include StoriesForCaregivers.com
(a collection of web series telling stories about the people who are taking care of loved ones who are aging or dealing with disease/disability), launching a sequel to “WolfCop” called “Another WolfCop”, and supporting TELUS STORYHIVE providing grants to emerging creators. We remain focused on providing undiscovered artists an opportunity to showcase their talents in a public forum.
FM: Over the fast five years, what have been some of your biggest learnings about the new, digitally native generation of independent filmmakers?
CC: Today’s filmmakers have to adjust technically to a variety of platforms, and have to figure out how to engage audiences. But in the end, success is based on being able to tell a story. Everyone can name a big-budget film that fell short, and it is never because of technology, it is because the story missed the mark. There is far more content today than anyone can consume, but somehow we all gravitate towards that content that tells a compelling story.
FM: What has been the most satisfying part of growing the CineCoup model?
CC: Our entire staff loves providing a platform in which aspiring creators can test themselves in front of a WW audience, and potentially receive funding to realize a first step towards their dream, regardless of whether their dream is a feature film, a digital short, or a music video.
FM: What stands out as the biggest challenge for independent filmmakers today?
CC: Bluntly, it is financing. We created CineCoup when we saw a disconnect between aspiring creators with content, and exhibitors/broadcasters with money struggling to find new content. The challenge we set out to address was connecting new creators with those seeking content. It is why we support Filminute. It is about providing opportunity.
FM: From your experience, what are the 3 top pieces of advice you would give to young filmmakers looking to make it in the industry today?
1. Know who your audience is. Creating something for yourself nourishes the soul and that's important. But that's an audience of 1. If you want anyone to invest in you, whether it be time, support, or money, you're going to have to be able to convince them that others will want to watch what you're making as well.
2. Don't be afraid of criticism. Creating any kind of art is to invite criticism, so be prepared for it, welcome it, and learn from it. Not all criticism is fair, and you will be offended by it. Just remember that no criticism is "right" or "wrong". It all has value so take what you want from it and leave the rest.
3. Check your ego. Trusting your instincts is important, but they are often overshadowed by ego and ego is a guaranteed way to torpedo a career. Know that you can always learn more, you can always improve your skills, and there is ALWAYS a better way to do something. A good crew will do backflips for a director/producer they trust, but crews don't trust (or like) auteurs with egos. So trust your instincts, but check your ego.
FM: What are the main things you are looking for in the film that you give the CineCoup Award to?
CC: Something that conveys a clear, relatable narrative, provokes an emotional response, and shows technical proficiency.
FM: What stood out for you in the film EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, the winner of the 2018 CineCoup Award?
CC: EDGE OF SEVENTEEN managed to effectively build suspense over the course of 60 seconds with nothing but a young girl in an elevator and clever sound design. The direction was subtle and masterful. It's also in alignment with Coup Company's focus on genre films. Assisting these kinds of talented guerrilla filmakers is what we pride ourselves on and we're looking forward to seeing what Nuri Jeong can do.