Cate Blanchett stars in Number 9 Film's Slate-funded feature, Carol.

ON THE BLOG: Elizabeth Karlsen on development funding and the creative process

Number 9 Film’s Elizabeth Karlsen spoke to us about how the MEDIA sub-programme’s Slate funding scheme supports the creative integrity of their development process.

Tell us a bit about Number 9 Films. 

“Number 9 Films is a London-based independent production company founded and run by producers Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley. The company produces approximately two films per year in the mid-budget range and develops six or seven projects. We recently announced two television series developments too.“

Number 9 Films has successfully applied for Development: Slate funding on several occasions.  What it is about the way you work that makes you a good candidate for the funding?

“Our company meets the MEDIA sub-programme's criteria on many levels. We are independent and European-focused both in terms of the stories we tell and the talent we work with. We have forged relationships with companies and producers across Europe and have done several co-productions. The projects we develop have a life in the marketplace, in terms of international sales and distribution, and have had box office and critical success. We have a high turnover rate from development to production, aided by strong relationships in the marketplace with financiers, sales outfits and distributors. We are able to deliver quality products that receive international attention thanks to the MEDIA brand. “

Why do you think this is a good source of funding for your needs?

“The funds allow us creative and financial independence. We can develop projects in the way we think best serves them creatively which is crucial to us. The funding also comes with an overhead allowance which is important. It allows us to maintain a stable office infrastructure (albeit a small one) that is essential to maintain our output.”

How has Slate funding contributed to the development of recent projects, Their Finest and On Chesil Beach?

“The funding paid for options, writers, research, early-stage casting and trips to markets where we sought finance. The fundamental elements of development."

What has MEDIA funding enabled you to do that you may not have otherwise?

“Keep our overhead running and pay our writers."

Aside from financially, how has the funding been beneficial?

“It gives us funding without diluting the creative process and increases our brand through MEDIA’s own social platforms.”

The call for Slate funding opens soon. Any tips or advice for those considering applying? 

“The details of the application are crucial - budgets need to match written statements and intentions. Nurturing original voices and projects will help your to application stand out.”

Colette (which received funding through the Slate scheme) is in post-production. Can you give us a quick introduction to the film? 

“The film is directed by Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice) and written by Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice) and Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Ida). It stars Keira Knightley as Colette, the iconic, irreverent and best-selling 19th century French writer. It is a story of female empowerment told with urgency and wit.”

Find out more about Number 9 Films by visiting their website.

Number 9 Films received slate funding through Creative Europe's MEDIA sub-programme in 2015 and 2017.

Photo: Cate Blanchett stars in Number 9 Film's Slate-funded feature, Carol.