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24 June 15 words: Harry Wilding
"The name works for the fact that we have films that show the dark side of humanity. And as a kind of joke on how sales companies are seen as the devil"
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Devilworks is a Boutique World Film Sales Agent – what exactly do you do?
Samantha: We represent feature films for worldwide distribution. We take on a film when it’s finished and work closely with the producer. Generally, producers will seek out sales agents, but we research and look for films at festivals and so on. You could call us the middle man. We take the rights for films, either worldwide or international, then we travel to markets throughout the year and we propose those films, market and advertise them, and find distribution in individual countries. We travel to five markets each year, including Cannes.

What kind of films do you go for?
Samantha: We focus on genre films - science fiction, fantasy, thriller, horror - that are compelling. Something a little bit quirky, a little bit different, that demonstrates a new way of telling stories. It needs to be gripping and the story is really important.
Matteo: All stories have been told in film now, really, so if they can tell something expected in an unexpected way, we’re interested.

Where did the name come from?
Samantha: We had a seven month journey to Devilworks. It’s short, sweet, aggressive – a bit fun. The devil in our logo is playful. It could be controversial, but we haven’t come across anything. Though, at a Berlin festival party, a man who I’d never met noticed me and said, “Oh, there’s the devil woman!”
Matteo: The name works for the fact that we have films that show the dark side of humanity. And as a kind of joke on how sales companies are seen as the devil.

How did you meet and get started?
Matteo: After studying advertising and marketing, I went into the film production side of things, doing shorts and music videos and I was a producer on a feature film, called Break My Fall. I then got involved in the distribution side of film. We worked with a small company in London and there was quite a lot of discontent there with the way sales were handled so Samantha and I decided to open Devilworks.

Why Nottingham as a base?
Matteo: When we started we felt the need to be in London. But moving to Nottingham was more a personal choice, rather than business related.
Samantha: I’m not from Nottingham, but my mum lives here and my brother went to uni here. I used to visit a lot and I just fell in love with it. There are a lot of independent places, it’s manageable, you can walk everywhere, it has a great music scene and pubs. I’ve been backwards and forwards living here and in London, but I feel more at home here now. With this business, as long as you travel to the markets, we can be based anywhere - as long as there is a good internet connection.

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Filmmakers probably don’t think about the sales side when making a film…
Samantha: They work so hard. They give their lives for many months - or even years - to a film. My advice to them would be: don’t just make it and then let it fizzle out. It needs to be handled correctly.
Matteo: My friends who have been to film school have told me that there wasn’t much taught about distribution and sales. I think it should be a big topic within film school.

There doesn’t seem to be any British films in your back catalogue – why is that?
Matteo: They are mostly American and Canadian.
Samantha: We just haven’t found any that work for us so far that aren’t already taken.
Matteo: We are looking into a British one now, called Nina Forever, which is about a guy who is visited by his dead girlfriend’s ghost whenever he has sex with his new girlfriend – it‘s great.

Time Lapse is your latest film release. Can you tell us more about that?
Samantha: It is from the US – a huge festival hit. It’s won about 35 awards around the world. It is about three friends who discover a camera that is opposite their apartment that takes photos 24 hours into the future. It gets all very messy. The camera takes over their lives. It’s so clever, just three people in one location – it’s quite Hitchcockian.

What other films have you recently been involved with and where can people see them?
Matteo: We have just got Black Mountain Side, a Canadian film – a psychological, horror thriller about a group of archaeologists in a remote part of Canada who uncover an old structure that drives them all against each other. The film has been picked up by 101 Films for an early 2016 release in the UK.

You have just got back from Cannes. How was that?
Cannes is one of the largest markets in the industry, so there is a huge diversity of distributors, broadcasters, sales agents, producers, film makers and actors from all over the World. Devilworks was based in the Marina Showroom - Riviera inside the Palais, which is one of the busiest areas during the market. We received a lot of attention from our new films, which we acquired for International sales just beforehand, such as Black Mountain Side and a supernatural horror Some Kind Of Hate, which is set for a North American release by IMAGE Entertainment later this year. During the event, we met with promising producers/directors, who were there with projects in post-production. There is definitely a confident and effective input from independent filmmakers globally. The Marche du Film is fantastically organised, with cocktail networking mixers and receptions throughout, which allows you the chance to enjoy a bit of the French Riviera sun, whilst meeting new faces and connecting festivals, producers and sales companies.

Time Lapse is available on various platforms including iTunes and Amazon.

Devilworks website


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