Based in London and the Midlands, Backlight Consulting was formed by industry veterans Paul McEvoy and Tom Lawes to provide assistance to Film Producers, Cinema Exhibitors, Festival Organisers and Film Educators.
Paul is the founder and co-director of FrightFest, the UK’s largest genre film festival. Encompassing a wide range of fantasy, horror, thriller and SF titles, the main FrightFest event is held in Leicester Square, London over the August bank holiday weekend, and showcases circa 100 World / UK / International Premieres over 5 days in 2 cinemas (the Cineworld Empire and the Prince Charles) with over 300 international film guests in attendance.
In its 20-year history, FrightFest has screened well in excess of 1,000 premieres, including PAN’S LABYRINTH, DONNIE DARKO, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE RAID, BATTLE ROYALE, OLDBOY, MARTYRS, THE HOST, THE ORPHANAGE, TRAIN TO BUSAN, THE BABADOOK, CLIMAX and numerous other titles.
Guests in attendance at FrightFest have included George A. Romero, Greg Nicotero, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Christopher Nolan, Danny Boyle, Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Gatiss, Alice Lowe, Eli Roth, Dario Argento, Reece Shearsmith, Andy Nyman, Jennifer Tilly, Dominic Monaghan, Sam Raimi, Clive Barker, Selma Blair, Jessica Alba, Chan-wook Park, Alexandre Aja, Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan, Natalie Dormer, Andrew Lincoln, Charlie Brooker, Rob Zombie and many thousands more.
Alongside the main festival, FrightFest hosts events every Halloween showcasing 6 new films in one day, and a long-running strand within the Glasgow Film Festival, encompassing 3 days and circa 15 features. In addition, it presents several exclusive one-off events and screenings throughout the year.
In recent years, FrightFest has also successfully expanded into film distribution. FrightFest Presents is a UK and global film distributor in partnership with Signature Entertainment, and to date has released such notable titles such as THE LOVE WITCH, THE DARK, LIFECHANGER, AAAAAAAAH!, EMELIE, THE GOLEM, plus many more.
Paul has hosted numerous film-related special events worldwide, including Q&A sessions with such guests as Elijah Wood, James Wan, Leigh Whannell, and many more, for clients including Universal Pictures, Momentum Films, MCM Comic-Con, and the Raindance Film Festival. Paul also worked in-house at the AMC Horror Channel for both the UK and Italy, acquiring, curating and programming content for the channel and directing / writing/ co-editing the shows HORROR BITES and DIRECTOR’S NIGHT.
Most recently, he has moved into film production, and is currently in development on a large genre film project involving some of the most exciting talents in the field.
With over 20 years of experience in multiple areas of the film and TV industries, ranging from pre- to post-production, acquisitions, sales agents, distribution, festival strategy, and hosting large-scale public events, Paul is perfectly placed to consult on every aspect of film production and distribution.
Tom Lawes is best known for owning and restoring UK’s oldest working cinema, The Electric in Birmingham, and for directing the critically acclaimed documentary The Last Projectionist.
Starting his career as a musician, Tom Lawes composed the score for 90s BBC primetime drama All Quiet On The Preston Front. Going on to direct low budget horror films, he was later contracted by SEGA to write music for amusement machines and video games. His extensive knowledge of both visual and audio technologies lead to him co-designing and directing the touch screen games of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, The Weakest Link and many more titles combining more than £40m in sales across the world.
Founding his own company in 2001, Tom left SEGA to return to work on films & TV full time. The business soon expanded beyond the confines of his home and new premises beckoned. The derelict Electric Cinema came up for auction in 2004 and was bought and restored by 2005, and is now one of the leading independent cinemas in the country. Within five years of restoration, turnover was increased by over 1000% and has won many regional and national business awards including What’s On Magazine Independent Cinema of the Year for consecutive five years. The restoration and success of the business was commended in Parliament by a cross party EDM lead by current Deputy Labour Leader Tom Watson.
Returning to directing in 2011, Tom released feature length documentary The Last Projectionist, that charts the history of cinemas, focusing on the role of the projectionist during the digital switchover. The film received UK theatrical distribution, playing in over 80 cinemas along with many international festival screenings. The film was critically acclaimed, becoming Mark Kermode’s film of the week on his BBC show, along with Tom collecting two Royal Television Society Awards in 2012.
Following up The Last Projectionist, Tom directed his first narrative feature, Monochrome, a thriller starring James Cosmo, Jo Woodcock and Cosmo Jarvis. The film played internationally and won Best Film, along with Best Cinematography at Jaipur International Film Festival, going on to sell worldwide in territories including the USA and China.
Tom then directed Amaryllis, the UK’s first silent film for 80 years, and the first feature length film to be conceived as a live performance from the outset. More recently he has produced short films for Channel 4’s Random Acts and the BBC New Creatives scheme where he mentors young writer directors.
In addition to working behind the camera, he also worked for seven years as a film critic on BBC radio and sat on several boards including the RTS and the local BID.
£400 per day or £70 per hour per consultant.