If you’re in or enjoy the British film industry community and on Twitter the name Peter Oxley might well ring a bell – the dapper, quietly spoken movie buff is a very vocal supporter of the UK movies and has turned his hobby into a business, investing in a number of independent British films. We caught up with him to find out where it all started.
Can you tell us about your love of British films and how it began?
I have loved British films ever since I was taken to the cinema aged 11 to see Carry On Screaming after that you could not keep me away from the big screen. Also the stars of the era Michael Caine, Richard Burton and the 70’s brit gangster films Get Carter, Villain, Sitting Target the Squeeze were right up my street but I never dreamed that one day I would be involved in making a British gangland film. I have thousands of blu rays and since I retired, film has become my absolute passion, second only to my wife Marian and our dog Roxy.
You turned your passion into business as you are now an executive producer at Hereford Films. How did this happen?
I wanted to invest into British quality films and Hereford films was making the sort of quality product that I wanted to back. I invested with a couple of other films but to be honest they went nowhere. Some people are chancers, some just don’t have much idea what they’re doing! But with the set up at Hereford under Jonathan Sothcott it was ideal – they are making quality low budget films that looked like a big budget movie and also the turn over of making at least 4/5 movies a year appealed to me. It is one of the best things I have ever done and as well as the financial side I get access to the amazing world behind the scenes. It really makes me very happy.
Tell us about your friendship with film producer Jonathan Sothcott?
I met Jonathan 2 years ago through social media and when we met had a drink or two and had such a common love of British films and actors especially Hammer films, Carry On movies etc that it was not difficult to form a strong friendship. I told him that I look up to him and he said that’s just because he’s taller than me.
He is an honest, hard-working up front producer who is trying to do his best to put UK independent films on the map with quality actors, scripts and directors at Hereford Films. It was actually difficult to give him money as he is not short of investors but I was determined to get involved and eventually wore him down! Jonathan has ideas that other people only dream about and he puts these ideas into action and has some wonderful contacts in the business so you know that these are not going to be cheaply made films but good quality films and films the public actually want to see. He’s a very generous chap and I hate to see people try and take advantage of him, which happens more than you might think. He’s a genuinely nice man. His whole life is really his partner Janine and their family, he’s utterly devoted to her and they really are an amazing couple – she’s a lovely girl. My wife and I love going out with them. He is a very unassuming, humble guy and won’t like me saying this but he is the only person in the film business, which let’s face it is like a shark tank, that I actually trust. With Jonathan my money’s safer than in a bank.
You spend a lot of time promoting up and coming actors and film-makers on social media – is that something you enjoy?
I just feel in this industry we all love we must push, promote the quality actors, films and film makers we have in the UK and having a love of films old and new for 50 years its just something I love doing. For too many years the independent UK film industry turns out too many films that have not got decent scripts or the quality this country and its movie goers deserve. When I see something good I want to tell the world about it – and that’s really the point of social media.
What’s next for you?
My future plans are to stand alongside Jonathan at Hereford making them the best and most envied independent film makers. I hope and would like to think that in 5 years time HF will have become the biggest uk independent film company and has cracked the US market as well. My short-term plans are slightly different and less ambitious though – I’m off to make a cup of tea!