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EMERGING PRODUCERS 2024

Ed Owles • Producer, Postcode Films

“It’s important to think creatively about how you can reach specific audiences”

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- The British producer tells us he started working in the documentary world to find a bridge between creativity and social advocacy

Ed Owles  • Producer, Postcode Films

An interview with Ed Owles, producer for British company Postcode Films, now selected for the 2024 Emerging Producers programme. Read his EP profile here.

Why do you produce documentaries? Do you see documentary cinema as an instrument of social and political change?
Ed Owles: 
Originally, I went into documentary looking to find a bridge between creativity and social advocacy. And whilst a lot of my work still aims to have an impact on policy, as my career has developed I’ve been increasingly drawn to the simple power of character-led storytelling. Very few films actually result in tangible changes to things like legislation, but I firmly believe they can create the discursive space for social and political change. Every audience member whose hearts and minds are affected by a narrative is a drop in the pond of building empathy and compassion. So even though the impact is hard to measure, I’ve had enough anecdotal experiences of films prompting conversations and debates - whether on a deeply personal or broadly political level - to know that there is a ripple effect.

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How do you achieve and maintain work-life balance and foster overall well-being?
Producing and/or directing features is very onerous, but as a result incredibly rewarding. Whilst immersed in a project – with all the associated financial, ethical and creative stresses, there are a few ways I try and stay balanced, although that balance frequently ebbs and flows. I try and run as much as possible in the forest near where I live, and spending time with peers who are facing the same challenges and ‘fluidity’ to their daily routines is also really beneficial – just one reason I’ve really appreciated being part of the Ji.hlava Emerging Producers network. Having young children also helps ensure that you can never get too bogged down in work!

Where do you find audiences for your films?
The audience for the films depends very much on the subject matter. Some films have been better suited to a strong festival run, screening in cinemas and then finding broadcast/VOD off the back of that; others have been more suited to a hybrid release of community and/or impact screenings. It’s always a priority for me to have screenings with a live audience – a lot of the payback for all the time invested in the process comes from that interaction. It’s important to think creatively about how you can reach specific audiences for the subject matter of your film, but I like to think the universal themes at the heart of my films – which have always tended to rotate around family – can appeal in the broadest sense.

What projects do you have underway?
I’m developing a few of my own projects, all at very early stages, and I’m actively advising/producing a couple of films – one a lyrical feature doc about British local festivals/customs and another a short about the impact of coastal erosion on a community’s housing.

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EMERGING PRODUCERS is a leading promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.

Deadline for applications to the EMERGING PRODUCERS 2025 edition is 31st March 2024.

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