×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Brit bizzers confab on U.K. creative industries

Howard Stringer urges 'risk-taking' at Global Business Summit

Sony board chairman Howard Stringer, fashion designer Stella McCartney, “War Horse” author Michael Morpurgo and “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes were among heavyweight speakers assembled by the U.K. government at a conference Tuesday in London to promote Britain’s creative industries.

The Global Business Summit on Creative Content is part of a series of events designed to use the Olympic spotlight to attract investment into the U.K.

Panelists representing the film industry also included Working Title co-chairmen Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, Bond producer Michael Wilson, “Harry Potter” producer David Heyman along with actor Rupert Grint and Warner U.K. topper Josh Berger, and Pinewood chief exec Ivan Dunleavy.

In a speech on commercializing creativity, Stringer called for the U.K. to understand “the importance of encouraging a culture of risk-taking.”

He also emphasized the need for a robust system to protect intellectual property, not just to benefit the creative industries but also the technology sector. “A pound lost in copyright infringement is a pound not available to invest in the next energy-efficient car battery,” he said. He called for more effort to promote the development of technology, and especially engineering skills.

Popular on Variety

But he also warned against allowing commercial pressures to erode culture, noting that when he was a producer at CBS in the 1960s, the network made 20 primetime documentaries a year, but that number today has dwindled to one. He suggested that the existence of British institutions such as the BBC and the West End stage act as an important bulwark to protect creativity.

Wilson presented the latest trailer for “Skyfall,” and enumerated the pros and cons of working in Blighty. The pros include: the rule of law, the tax credit, the English language, the talent and technicians, the post-production facilities and the studios. The cons are the cost, the weather and the exchange rate risk.

Bevan and Fellner discussed the advantages of being based in Blighty.

Fellner said: “We tried to turn being in the U.K. into a positive thing not a negative thing, in the beginning it was all about Hollywood. It’s actually a fantastic thing to be here in the U.K., it’s good to look east, not always be looking west.”

Commenting on the evolution of the business, Bevan said, “Distribution was absolutely king 25 years ago, now the balance has shifted. Access to distribution is easy, it’s the access to creative quality, or even to financing creative quality, that’s rare.”

McCartney was one of several speakers who referred to the close proximity of the U.K.’s various creative sectors to each other, and the collaboration between them, as one of the greatest factors in the country’s success.

Morpurgo described the haphazard and fortuitous series of chances that led to his book “War Horse” being turned into a play at the National Theater, and then into a film by Steven Spielberg. “I love the film for what it does to people who see it,” he commented, adding with a laugh, “Neither the film, nor the play, is as good as the book!”

U.K. culture secretary Jeremy Hunt went out of his way to commend the importance of state subsidy as the foundation for the success of the U.K.’s creative industries.

“The thing that’s special about the U.K. is the interaction between the subsidized arts sector and the commercial creative industries,” he noted. The commercial success, he said, was only possible “from having a foundation in a very strong cultural sector.”

More Film

  • The Champion

    Italy's 'The Champion' Picked Up for France Ahead of De Rome a Paris (EXCLUSIVE)

    French distributor Destiny Films has acquired rights for France to Italian soccer dramedy “The Champion” from Italy’s True Colours in the runup to the De Rome a Paris festival and confab, which kicks off Friday. Produced by Matteo Rovere’s Groenlandia (“Romulus”), “The Champion” turns on the uneasy relationship between a young male soccer star and [...]

  • Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) is

    AACTA International Awards Nominations Favor 'The Irishman'

    Netflix’s “The Irishman” garnered the most nominations for the Australian Academy of Cinema & Television Arts International Awards. It picked up six nods, ahead of five for “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood,” and the four each for “Joker,” “Bombshell,” and “Parasite.” AACTA’s international awards seek to “(honor) the best achievements in film excellence, regardless [...]

  • Prince Dead

    'Purple Rain,' 'Clerks, 'She's Gotta Have It' Added to National Film Registry

    “Purple Rain,” “Clerks,” “She’s Gotta Have It,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Amadeus,” “Sleeping Beauty,””Boys Don’t Cry” and “The Last Waltz” are among this year’s additions to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. The list also includes 1944’s “Gaslight,” starring Ingrid Bergman in an Oscar-winning performance; the 1955 film noir “The Phenix City Story,” [...]

  • 6 Underground

    Michael Bay's '6 Underground': Film Review

    If “6 Underground” were opening in theaters, you’d want to be sure to get there on time. Within the first six minutes, Michael Bay destroys a plane, a motorcycle, three cars, countless pedestrians, and the dignity of three Italian nuns. I’m fairly certain that Ryan Reynolds — who heads up the film’s off-the-grid vigilante squad, [...]

  • Juliette Binoche (L) and Catherine Deneuve

    Macao Festival: Juliette Binoche Tells 'The Truth' About Acting

    It’s hard for Juliette Binoche to think about her recent career trajectory from a bird’s eye view as she hurtles along within it. She has put out five films in the past two years. Her latest is Hirokazu Kore-eda’s French-language drama “The Truth,” which is getting her Oscar buzz for her role opposite Catherine Deneuve. [...]

  • Kathy Bates Walk of Fame Honor

    Kathy Bates Erroneously Submitted for Lead Actress in SAG Awards Race (EXCLUSIVE)

    If dark horse awards contender Kathy Bates is absent in the best supporting actress category come tomorrow’s Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, don’t be too quick to put in on her performance in “Richard Jewell.” A clerical error was made by the Clint Eastwood film’s distributor Warner Bros., an insider with knowledge of the mixup [...]

  • Kasi LemmonsNew York Women in Film

    Kasi Lemmons, Jane Rosenthal, Ann Dowd Talk Golden Globes Female Director Snub

    The absence of women among director nominees for the Golden Globes is another example of how much work remains to be done to achieve gender parity in the entertainment industry, honorees said Tuesday night at the 40th annual Muse Awards presented by New York Women in Film and Television. “Harriet” director Kasi Lemmons, “The Irishman” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content