Taking stock of riots

Logo of Ballpark film distributors set up by Mark Thomas
Logo of Ballpark film distributors set up by Mark Thomas

A SHEFFIELD film producer who has branched out into film and DVD distribution feared his new venture had gone up in smoke with the destruction of the Sony warehouse in Enfield in North London during last week’s riots.

Mark Thomas set up Ballpark Distribution with a slate of films lined up over the next few months for release theatrically, DVD sale and rental, and download.

But the stock was among the 25 million discs which are believed to have been lost in the arson attack on the building used as a storage facility for most of the UK’s independent distributors of film and music.

Sony has announced it is “working very closely with our customers and based on their release schedules, 1.5million discs are in the process of being remanufactured at both our manufacturing sites in the UK and Austria.”

Thomas is hopeful that this will mean his first scheduled release on August 29 can go ahead.

This is the music documentary, Los Zafiros – Music from the Edge of Time, which is first being screened at the Showroom in Sheffield on Saturday evening.

This multi award winning Cuban documentary, in English and Spanish, charts the rise and fall of the Zafiros (Sapphires in English) and how they became part of Buena Vista Social Club.

Ballpark follow this up on September 19 with a lost film about the Rolling Stones from Malmo Sweden, Rolling Like a Stone, winner at the Silverdocs festival.

Then in October a Canadian black comedy horror entitled The French Guy will also hit the stores.

“Over the next four months we are then going out with Phil the Alien, Rock My World, Hollywood North and a hip hop documentary, Player Hating,” says Thomas who sees the potential of this area of specialised distribution as helping to supporting his film production.

This includes working on an adaptation of an Andy McNab thriller and a another collaboration with playwright John Godber to follow Up ‘n’ Under. His new play, The Debt Collectors, about two resting actors who fall into the world of debt recovery, is touring over the next two months.