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International Film Foundation to nurture talent

International Film Foundation



A new international Film Foundation, based in Europe, is in the process of being set up.

The aim of the proposed Foundation is to directly intercede into the European Film Industry.

European feature films seem to be produced for some cultural elite rather than for "Box Office" success.Out of 2000 films backed by the European Union each year, only 3 or 4 ever see the light of day.

"Talent needs to be nurtured not just found"

(UK Times)

The Foundation would acquire, set up and back new companies using the American model, to produce quality "Box Office" entertainment. Information on the foundation and its aims can be found at

"British film companies tend to go belly up when they think they are Warner Brothers- Palace Pictures (Absolute Beginners), Goldcrest (Revolution),Channel Four Films (Charlotte Gray), and Handmade (films) essayed this with Shanghai Surprise, starring Madonna and her then husband, Sean Penn, who kept firing fellow actors and crew. It cost $17m to make and returned $2m in America"

Ian Johnstone, Sunday Times May11 2003

Executive Summary The aim of the proposed Foundation is to directly intercede into an ailing European film industry. It will seek out, develop and sustain new and established talent alike. The Foundation will acquire and set up individual companies. These companies will begin to harness the commercial flair of Hollywood with the technical and creative expertise of Europe. The proposed organization would become a byword for quality box office movie production, in a very short period.

Proposal and vision

There is no doubt that the European Film Industry is in steep decline. Out of 2,000 movies produced each year only 2 or 3 ever see the light of day. Movies in Europe seem to be made for some cultural elite rather than entertainment & Box office success. The recording industry appears to be suffering from the same endemic problems. Talent seems to be found, used and then summarily dumped, without any regard to longevity, continuity or quality. Movie making in Europe has had a bumpy ride since movies began. It seems now, the ride is all downhill

It seems to me that the time has come for an outside, independent organization, such as the Foundation I propose, to directly intercede into the European film industry. An organization that recognizes that both talent and production values need to be raised and further developed, over a period of time if necessary. The Foundation would allow for time and space to become a necessary part of European production. An organization, such as the one I propose, recognizes the need for a strong alliance of Hollywood commercial flair combined with European technical and artistic expertise. A marriage made in heaven, maybe not?

" Europe's film industry is making too many subsidized flops at the box office" (The European)

British Television is also in the doldrums. Schedules are filled with cheap and not so cheerful, made for TV dramas, formulaic Soaps and voyeuristic pap. Even the world renowned BBC has joined in, in producing programmes on a factory production line, with production values low on the list, if they are there at all.

"Where are the broadcasting companies willing to nurture a good new comedy series until its initial difficulties are overcome? Where is the original new drama? Where are the serious documentaries or the ground breaking ideas that once made British television a benchmark of quality?" (Daily Mail 1998) If it doesn't sound too pompous, we had a sense of our wider responsibilities. I remember the children's TV show Sesame Street taking America by storm and being turned down by British Broadcasters. Nobody who watched the show doubted its quality. But they shared an uneasy feeling that the programme was just too popular. Might it not encourage children to watch too much TV? Might it not distract them from reading and other worthy pursuits? Rightly or wrongly, Sesame Street was at first rejected and didn't appear on British Television for some time thereafter. In today's terms, that response may seem impossibly naïve, but it does illustrate the point that broadcasters cared about the impact of what they were doing."…(Anthony Smith, former Director of the British Film Institute, Daily Mail)

European expertise is used in countless American productions, from Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter. There is no doubt that the talent is out there and plenty of it. The trouble is, there is no management or cohesion. Money is thrown at the industry via the government and the Lottery. But the cash continues to disappear into an ever-expanding black hole.

" So European taxpayers have spent huge sums to create a vast back catalogue of unwanted, unwatched and usually unwatchable films. I think a lot are made by starry eyed film makers who never give a thought as to who their audience is, says Tim Adler, a business analyst at Screen Finance, which monitors the film industry in Europe." According to one media consultant, Martin Dale, the author of a report on the European Film Industry, no other part of the world produces so many films, which are immediately forgotten.

"The majority of European films have virtually zero box office appeal", says Dale. His book, The Movie game, shows that while Hollywood has been growing by 25% every year, Europe's film industry is in steep decline". (European)

I see the proposed Foundation active on many levels. Its aim being the development of both established and new talent. The production of movies for entertainment & box office success. Audiences go to the cinema to be entertained, not to look at their navels. They pay their hard earned money to be taken out of themselves, into a new exotic, romantic universe. The human range of emotions is enormous. Why do box office receipts suggest that adults are as mesmerized with Harry Potter, as are their children? The answer is they love to be entertained. They disappear into a world they thought they had left behind. Why is Lawrence of Arabia so dramatic in the desert? Because it uses the full majesty of wide screen cinematic photography. We are not just watching the film we are inside it.

I see the Foundation;

1/ Developing and nurturing new film talent worldwide by enabling them to work alongside established professionals from allover the globe. Producing high quality productions using the American model.

2/The Foundation would both set up and acquire new and established production companies. Individuals geared for box office success would staff firms. All types of companies would be groomed, including: Live Action, Animation, Video and Television production. A major Hollywood producer, with a full production slate, would lead the production arm of the Foundation. Thus enabling the Foundation to be in production from day one.

3/ Each year the Foundation would give a award to the; Most entertaining film production of the year Most entertaining television production of the year, Best new talent Best new talent developed by a European production company Innovation in Film 7 TV

4/ The Foundation would begin to develop an international database of film talent. Information that would be made available to worldwide film & Television production personnel. This database would be accessed via the Foundations Internet site. A truly international green room for everyone involved in their countries film industries.

5/ The Foundation would work closely with centers of excellence & Film Schools from all over the world. Out of this association would develop a new annual European film festival, open to all. Industry professionals would be invited and encouraged to meet new talent and allow the synergy of like minds to blossom.

6/ The Foundation would develop training courses, held in New York, London and Paris. It would acquire its own New Media Company to produce educational CD ROMs and training materials. I see the Foundation based in either London or Dublin. An organization, that having recognized the inherent problems in European production, decided to do something about it.

All interested groups are encouraged to contact the Foundation:

"There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot,but there are others who,thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun"

Pablo Picasso

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