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Film company co-founder on turning passion into profit

“We were so desperate for work that we said to O2 that we would do it for free,” Simon Kreitem remembers. “We worked on spec in the hope that if the client liked it, it might just pay for it.”

It was the final roll of the dice for the London-based independent film company, Lonelyleap, which makes documentaries for brands such as Google, American Express, Innocent and Jaguar.

One year in and the company was really struggling.
O2 eventually offered ?40,000 for the film. The company lived to fight another day. “We worked hand-to-mouth for the next five years,” says Kreitem. “We pretty much made no money for half a decade.”

Until 2011, when demand started to really take off.
With faster internet speeds, people could stream high-quality video without any lag or loss of quality. With a smartphone in their pocket, they could do it on the move. Brands had a new medium through which to tell their story.

Key to the company’s success, Kreitem believes, is its uncompromising approach to film. “We don’t cut something to fit a boardroom message,” he explains. It’s not about creating an ad with a slogan.

Instead Kreitem takes an investigative approach, which he honed working as a photojournalist for seven years. “We want to tell stories that cut to the heart of why a company does what it does.”

That starts by asking the simple question at the beginning of each project: what’s the story?


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