“Cinema will be okay” – film critic discusses the impact of Covid-19 on the film industry

Yorkshire Voice Darren Harper hosting Helen O’Hara’s talk at Journalism and Media Week

Concerns about how Covid-19 will affect the film industry were expressed by Empire Magazine’s editor-at-large Helen O’Hara at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism and Media Week.

The film critic said: “There is the very real chance of significant cinema closures in the UK because of all this – but significant as in twenty per cent, not fifty or one-hundred per cent.”

She expressed her concerns for individual cinemas, stating that the closures are bad, but it is not the death of cinema.

Helen explained that streaming is not an option for many film producers, claiming that ‘the maths doesn’t work’.

She said: “MGM considered selling the Bond rights to a streaming service just to get it out there because it was costing them money, but the numbers that the streaming service was coming up with was simply not as much as the cinema producers.

 “There’s twelve months nearly of incredible movies, big mainstream blockbusters that are just itching to come out and you have cinemas and studios and stars and directors who are absolutely adamant that those will not stream. They will be in cinemas at some point.”

Helen also expressed her concerns about women directors in the film industry. She said: “This was the year where we were meant to have women directing Wonder Woman, Black Widow, The Eternals, Birds of Prey and Mulan.”

 She told viewers that she is concerned that women will be considered a failure for a situation that is out of their control, and that she is worried that COVID-19 will affect the progress and momentum for women in the film industry.

Helen is passionate about how women in the film industry are treated and she has got a book coming out next February called Women VS Hollywood: The Fall and Rise of Women in Film.

The book discusses how women got pushed out of Hollywood during the studio era.

 She said: “It is about how that happened, why that happened, how women got used in the studio era and how they are pushing their way back in.”

Helen also gave tips to students wanting to start a career in the film industry, listing the three main ingredients to write a good film review: explain the film, explain what you thought about the film and hook in the reader.

She also told students to make every application specific and to write in the style of the magazine when applying for jobs.

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