Phoenix by Christian Petzold, one of Soda Pictures' big titles this year
This year we're running our Film FEDS scheme, aimed at giving young trainees an opportunity to learn on the job in film distribution, exhibition and international sales. Here, one of our trainees, Amanpreet Dosanjh, gives her impressions of the experience.
am currently doing my traineeship with Soda Pictures and my main role is Press
Assistant. But the great thing about my traineeship is that the Soda team has
encouraged me to work across different areas (marketing and home
entertainment) so I can learn about all the different elements in distribution.
Whilst I've been here there have been a number of releases from all over
the world including Jauja, Kumiko the Treasure Hunter, Difret, The Face of an
Angel, The Goob and many more gems which Soda has brought to the UK
(you should all check them out!).
I first started, I didn't really know what to expect as working in the film
industry has been given a frightening reputation. But nearly halfway into my
traineeship, I’ll begin with letting you all know that working in the film
industry isn't like it's portrayed in the movies. Yes, it's fast paced but
it really isn't as scary as it looks. There are so many areas you can choose to
work in with film but I've always wanted to experience what it's like to work
in distribution and I have learnt that it requires a lot of work to get films
to the cinemas. But once a film is out, it feels so rewarding.
could write a reallyyy long essay about all my great experiences at Soda so far
but the easiest way for me to give you an idea about what my job involves is
to take you through one of our campaigns. This is the standard process for
any release but it varies widely because the films are so different, which
makes it all the more exciting as you're guaranteed to learn new things along the way! I'll take you through our process for Phoenix (directed by Christian Petzold), which we released in May.
First things first, the whole team gathers and gets stuck in for a strategy
meeting. This is where all the ideas are discussed such as comparative titles,
cinema sites and target audiences, so we can get an idea of
how the film will perform at the box office and to ensure that we can make it as successful as possible. Other elements are also discussed
such as technical materials, marketing, press and home entertainment and the
film's journey is discussed from start to finish. After being part of many
strategy meetings during my time at Soda, I have learnt that they are crucial, giving everyone a chance to brainstorm ideas. After the
meeting we have a clear focus and goals to work towards. Everyone's ideas are
taken into consideration, which makes you feel like
a valued member of the team.
Amanpreet, one of our FEDS trainees
my main role is press assistant, it's my job to organise invites to our press
screenings. This means sending out invitations to journalists/critics/reviewers
or relevant groups so the team has an idea of the type of press the film will
receive. I'm responsible to going to screenings to see who's attended
and it's really awesome because I can stay and watch the films on the big
screen too! It’s great to see journalists and critics gather and it's given
me the opportunity to meet a wide range of people who work in the industry
(journalists are not as scary as they’re made out to be either!). After
the screenings, I chase the attendees for their reactions. Hopefully this lead to useful quotes for trailers and
posters - there were plenty to choose from for Phoenix!
Whilst all the press is taking place, the wonderful marketing team pieces
together a campaign to ensure the film reaches the right audience and I’ve
been lucky enough to get hands-on experience in this field too. Helping on the
marketing side includes creating posts on our social media sites, reading
reviews to see if there are quotes we can use on posters and in
trailers and also looking at artwork from different territories to get an idea
of what design to choose. As I get to watch films before release, I've also had the chance to choose clips for promotional use, and it feels amazing to be given tasks that
make you feel really involved in the film's campaign.
week before the film's release, I go around all of our cinema sites to
ensure that they're playing the trailer and displaying our beautiful posters.
This is one of my favourite tasks as it gives me the opportunity to visit
cinemas across London and meet the lovely teams at the sites and most of all,
it’s a great feeling when you see Soda posters in the big, shiny frames. Before
beginning my traineeship, I had no idea that so much marketing was involved in
distribution. I've been learning so many different marketing
techniques and have realised that although film
knowledge is important when working in distribution, many other skills are
required to make a film work.
all sites are confirmed by the bookings team (who work hard to
get our films screened in as many cinemas as possible), it's my job to update
the website with all the cinema details so everyone can
head over to buy their tickets. I thought updating a website was very
complex (ahhh, numbers and codes!) but once you get the hang of it, it's
pretty simple and the team have been helpful by teaching me everything I need
most anticipated day is release day! It's exciting because after all the
hard work, the film is out there for everyone to watch. It's the same day that reviews appear online and in the papers so it's always interesting as
you get to see all of the reactions. Phoenix received brilliant reviews and it's
really heart-warming to see Soda films perform well as all the hard work pays
off. So on release day, my main task is to gather all the press to see who
covered the film, how it was reviewed and share the successes with the
has been my journey at Soda so far. There is so much more involved but if
you're curious about how film distribution works, the FEDS scheme is an amazing
opportunity to get stuck in. Overall, my traineeship feels like a great
beginning to my journey in the film industry. Soda, like many other independent
distribution companies, has a small but extremely talented team. So when I
leave the office every day I take away something new that I’ve learnt, all useful knowledge and skills that will help me in my future career. I've had the opportunity
to get involved with all aspects of distribution which has made this traineeship an