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Anne Wood

Podcast #8 - Anne Wood
Children's Television Producer

Ragdoll Productions


Our November podcast features Olly chatting with children’s television producer Anne Wood CBE.


Anne, and her company Ragdoll Productions, is responsible for co-creating shows such as Teletubbies (with Andrew Davenport), Tots TV, Boom, Twirlywoos and Rosie and Jim … to name but a few.


She was a recipient of the 1998 Fellowship of the Royal Television Society, and in 2000 a BAFTA Special Award for Outstanding Contribution in Children's Television and Film. She is a trailblazer and leading figure in children’s entertainment.


Listen to the podcast here

Phil Hunt

Podcast #7 - Phil Hunt



In our next podcast, Olly Smith talks to Phil Hunt - the founder and managing director of London-based film, TV and video games financier Head Gear Films and the co-managing director of international sales outfit Bankside Films.


Head Gear provides finance for producers as well as executive producing and international distribution through Bankside.


Phil also heads Bohemia Media () a London-based production and distribution company, representing film, TV, performance and theatre arts projects made by under-represented groups.


Bohemia Media aims to amplify the stories told by folk from marginalised groups which are not well-served within mainstream culture and might otherwise struggle to find finance. We bring in investors on a project-by-project basis, which will be cause-focussed rather than for profits.


Bohemia is where great stories come first. It has launched with a slate of projects including Halle Berry’s directorial debut BRUISED and biographical documentary REBEL DREAD, which tells the story of director and D.J. Don Letts and received its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) in February 2020.


Phil has provided financial back for literary hundreds of films!


Listen to the podcast here

Michael Ryan

Podcast #6 - Michael Ryan
Film financier, sales & distribution

GFM Animation


Olly Smith chats with Michael Ryan.


Michael began his career working with Lord Lew Grade’s company, where he initially oversaw the foray into motion pictures and headed up their sales division. Later, going independent, he was half of the hugely influential and successful J&M Sales. Michael currently has two roles role; the first as Partner at GFM Animation and the other as Chairman of IFTA (Independent Film & Television Alliance) where he is serving an unprecedented fourth term. After many years of working parallel to one another, Michael and Guy Collins partnered in 2000 and together have financed, sold and produced over 250 films including The Wild Geese, The English Patient, The General, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Osterman Weekend, the Highlander series and Planet 51.


Michael is a keen singer with an amazing voice and can often be seen at industry events fronting the popular band ‘The Indies’.


He has a unique and unprecedented insight into film finance, sales and distribution.


Listen to the podcast here

John Battsek

Podcast #5 - John Battsek
Documentary Producer



Olly Smith chats with two-time Oscar winning documentary producer John Battsek.


John has behind such docs as: Academy Award winning One Day in September, Academy Award winning Searching For Sugar Man, Academy Award nominated Restrepo & Winter On Fire and BAFTA-winning Hillsborough. Since 1997 he has produced/exec produced over 100 documentaries, with 5 presently in post-production.


At the recent (virtual) Cannes Marche, Screen International reported the clear winners in sales/distribution deals as being in the documentary sector. There is a greater market for documentary features now than ever before.


Furthermore, a report on the UK’s documentary film industry has called for “urgent policy intervention” as the creative sector works to rebuild in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. One suggestion is to increase the proportion of lottery funds ring-fenced for documentary from 9.1% to 25% for 2020-21. The BFI awarded Doc Society £1.8m for documentary activity for 2020-21, out of a total lottery funding pot of £20.9m. The report suggests this support should be 20-25% of the total pot, up to £5.2m. Another recommendation is to amend the UK’s current film tax relief to a rebate of up to 50% of qualifying spend, compared to the current 25% for fiction films.


Listen to the podcast here

Sir Tim Rice

Podcast #4 - Sir Tim Rice



In our latest podcast, Olly Smith chats with lyricist Sir Tim Rice. Tim has worked on films ranging from the James Bond adventure Octopussy to Disney’s The Lion King & Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast to other major productions such as The Road To Eldorado and Evita. There are also numerous TV adaptations and stage productions including Chess, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar ... to name but a few.


Listen to the podcast here

Freddie Davies

Podcast #3 - Freddie Davies
Actor, Writer & Comedian



In our latest podcast, Olly Smith talks with actor, writer and comedian Freddie Davies. Freddie started out as a Butlin’s Redcoat, before becoming a stand-up comedian and eventually a stage, TV and film actor. Film credits include Funnybones and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, whilst TV drama includes Casualty, Heartbeat, Preston Front, Hetty Wainthrop investigates, Band of Gold, Medics, Micky Love, Last of the Summer Wine and two series of Harbour Lights. He’s a terrific all-round entertainer and his chat is really enlightening. Olly mentions a recent McDonald’s commercial Freddie filmed, and here is a link in case you’d like to see it


Macdonald's Commercial

Listen to the podcast here

Colin Vaines

Podcast #2 - Colin Vaines



In our June podcast, Olly Smith speaks with producer Colin Vaines. Colin has been an acclaimed Executive with Miramax and GK Films, along with being a producer and executive producer in his own right with films such as B Monkey, Coriolanus, Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, an upcoming Sandra Bullock / Netflix movie and a biopic of Marianne Faithfull which is in pre-production.


Listen to the podcast here

Will Smith

Podcast #1 - Will Smith
actor, writer, script editor and stand-up comedian



Perhaps most recognizable for being one of the writers and stars of the acclaimed The Thick Of It and writer/executive producer of HBO’s Emmy-winning series Veep Will’s writing credits also encompass: Avenue 5 with Hugh Laurie, Damned, Paddington 2, Moving Wallpaper … … and his acting credits include In The Loop, Paddington, Citizen Khan, Hampstead, Damned, Greed, and many others. Remaining busier than ever during the lockdown, Will is presently engaged scripting and producing a new show for Apple TV.

Listen to the podcast here

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