Tuesday February 24, 2009
Jon Gripton, In Hollywood
A war of words has broken out between Britain and the US, after Slumdog Millionaire and Kate Winslet led the UK film industry to its best night at the Oscars for years.
Slumdog director Boyle: "It's just one film". It was back in 1982 that Chariots of Fire scriptwriter Colin Welland famously warned Hollywood that the "Brits are coming."
Well now they are here in force, but a senior industry figure has accused the big American studios of damaging British film-making. Peter Carlton, chief commissioning editor at Channel 4 films, has hit out at distribution deals that gave little or nothing back to independent film financiers.
“They (the studios) make sure they’re the first in line for the profits. And the second and third in line as well. It’s damaging to the whole British film industry,” he told The Times.
At a Hollywood post-Oscars lunch hosted by the UK Film Council to celebrate the achievements of British Academy winners and nominees, the mood was more positive about the future, in spite of the economic downturn.
"This year's Oscars is good news, great news, for British film making," said Chris Corbould, nominated for best visual effects for his work in The Dark Knight.
Himesh Kar, a senior executive of the UK Film Council New Cinema Fund, said: "We lead the world in creative talent, and these Oscars are very good for every facet of our film industry.
"They are really important for the way we are perceived: and America is no longer the key. Yes it is important, but so is the rest of the world."
Slumdog Millionaire, by way of example, has a British director, writer and producers, but was shot in Mumbai with a largely Indian cast.
A new film backed by the New Cinema Fund, White Lightnin', was shot in Croatia.
And Nexus Productions, which made Oscar nominated animated short film This Way Up are using the Oscars season to generate new ideas and new business while they are in Hollywood.
"The nomination gives us credibility and is already opening doors for us," said producer Charlotte Bavasso,
"Britain needs these breakout films to show the international film industry that there is a huge appetite and audience for independent British film," said Tessa Ross, controller of Slumdog producer Film4.
Cinema attendance in Britain rose last year, thanks in part to the smash Mamma Mia! But the number of feature films made in the country fell 10 percent to 111.
And with the economy in recession things won't improve anytime soon, even with 11 British Oscars on the country's mantelpiece.
Dan Jolin, features editor of movie magazine Empire, said the global economic downturn was hitting producers, especially independents, who are finding it tough to get bank loans and other financing.
"It's great that a film by a Mancunian director shot in Mumbai with a cast of unknowns can triumph," he said. "But I think the reality is the British film industry isn't in fantastic shape at the moment."
Slumdog director Danny Boyle has urged calm and realism after the euphoric night in Hollywood's Kodak Theatre.
"You’ve got to be careful of claiming that this marks the renaissance of the British film industry. It is one film," he said.
Selasa, Februari 24, 2009