Archive for Third Window Films

Coventry Conversations – Adam Torel, Third Window Films

Posted in Film Reviews And Conversations with tags , , , on November 18, 2009 by Adam Broome

Adam Torel is a distributor of Third Window films – a company that aims to bring unreleased and unknown Asian cinema over to this side of the world. It’s uncommercial, it’s low budget, and it’s proud of it. Ahead of the viewing of ‘A Piece Of Our Lives‘, Adam Torel gave a brief talk introducing himself, the film, and the company as whole. The talk lasted about forty minutes. Adam claimed he was ‘bad at giving speeches’, which prompted one of our fellow lecturers to give a sort-of interview, which led the conversation.

The first topic Adam touched upon was the current mission he was on – to use Third Window films to introduce new genres to a Western audience, beyond those which has become almost stereotypical of Asian cinema (namely, ‘hair horrors’ and surrealist films). I did immediately wonder about the comedy genre, as this is the most difficult genre to disperse through different cultures. Only a few weeks ago my class were given the chance to watch a small extract from a film called Yatterman. People were laughing nervously in confusion, which goes to show how much our infamously ‘British’ sense of humour differs from everyone else’s.

Adam Torel used to work for Tartan, which have become to main distributors of Asian cinema in this country. Tartan are possibly responsible for such stereotyping of Asian cinema in the name of profit, which is one reason why Adam left – Tartan were neglecting less-obvious genres and films. As he put it, they had ‘destroyed their own market’. Adam is definitely one for more unusual, low-budget films, that focus more on acting and scripts, rather than doing what has already been done before. From this, we can assume Adam Torel is definitely one of those risk-taking entrepreneurs, who are willing to back anything up as long as they are convinced it has a market. Adam did say his main focus was always on the audiences and the markets, and introducing them to Asian culture through film. To be honest, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on audiences who watch less-obvious Asian films, as clearly it is a niche market, and the customers you get are likely to be long-term, but harder to come by.

Adam reflected on whether he thought awards led to sales. He was certainly more interested in the rating of films rather the awards it won, although he clearly understood the importance of winning awards, and how this can increase popularity for a company such as Third Window. As he focuses on the less mainstream, it is wise not to think too big in terms of awards – but certainly, ratings are the way forward, as there is many a cult film that has won little awards (take Troll 2, for example). Adam also mentioned the importance of finding out societies such as the one here in Coventry, and using them as a distribution channel, and as a way of introducing films to as many people as possible, in order for the films to achieve such cult statuses.

The only film Adam wished he’d picked up at Third Widow was a film called ‘The Pastures’. After answering a few more questions from students, Adam promptly left, leaving our lecturer to introduce the film (see A Piece Of Our Lives Review).