×

Busan: Irish Helmers Discuss Hollywood Dominance at Korea Fest

Directors' panel at Busan puts focus on independent cinema

Five Irish directors invited by Korea’s Busan Intl. Film Festival to discuss their country’s industry ended up talking about the dominance of the U.S. over the international biz.

The quintet – John Butler (“The Stag”), Lance Daly (“Kisses”), Neil Jordan (“Byzantium”), Brendan Muldowney (“Savages”) and Jim Sheridan (“Brothers”) – mostly agreed that success in the American market has always been a big boost to the local box office.

Sheridan held up Jordan’s 1992 “Crying Game” as a prime example. The film had a hard time finding audiences in Ireland and the U.K., but after Harvey Weinstein promoted it effectively in the U.S., it took root on its home turf.

“It’s a one-town industry,” he added hyperbolically. “If a movie doesn’t go on a U.S. screen, it doesn’t feel like a movie.”

Jordan recalled that John Carney’s 2006 Ireland-set “Once” vanished quickly after its local release, only to become a hit following its success in America.

Yank films exert sway over content as much as over distribution. Fielding a question about the influence of Brit pic “The Full Monty” on his “Stag,” Butler said he was more inspired by such U.S. male-bonding stories as “Swingers,” “Diner” and “Sideways” to find a way to say something about Irish men.

Sheridan noted an odd similarity between the Ireland’s and Korea’s film industries. Both thrive in the shadow of a more powerful neighboring biz (the U.K. and Japan, respectively), and both live in a nation divided between north and south.

As for the future, Sheridan fears that the Hollywood juggernaut is destroying its own independent cinema by focusing on tentpole fare that eschews drama in favor of costly visual effects. Citing sentiments recently expressed by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas at a USC confab, he said most movies being made by the majors today are huge, almost dialog-free investments.

The trend is driving more directors to television. Even though “we still have a vibrant industry in Ireland,” he said, many directors interested in drama are moving to the small screen. (Jordan, for instance, created Showtime’s “The Borgias.”)

He added, “We’re all trying to figure out how we can migrate to TV because that seems to be the place where you can still say something.”

More Biz

  • Harvey Mason Jr.., Chair of the

    Grammy Board Chief Calls Allegations of Nomination-Rigging ‘Just Not Right’

    Among the many allegations in ousted Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan’s blockbuster legal complaint, the one that possibly cuts most to the heart of the institution — and is of most concern to artists and the public — is the allegation that the nominating process is “rigged.” The example in the complaint points to the [...]

  • Annabella Sciorra

    Friend Tells of Annabella Sciorra's Mid-1990s Struggles at Harvey Weinstein Trial

    A longtime friend of Annabella Sciorra testified Friday in Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial that the actor turned to cutting herself and exhibited other troubling behavior in the mid-1990s after she was allegedly raped by the disgraced film mogul. The defense questioning of model Kara Young got heated as Judge James Burke sustained repeated objections to [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Judge Doubts WGA Claim That Packaging Fees Are Kickbacks

    A federal judge seemed skeptical on Friday of the Writers Guild of America’s claim that packaging fees amount to a criminal kickback to agents. Judge Andre Birotte heard more than two hours of arguments from attorneys for the guild and three agencies: WME, UTA and CAA. He said he would issue a ruling at a [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: Why Aerosmith Is Still Gold for Synchs

    Aerosmith’s star-studded tribute concert as the 2020 MusiCares Person of the Year honorees on Friday night (January 24) will cement another important milestone in the historic Boston-founded band’s contributions to the American rock canon. But over the past decade, some of the band’s best-known music has remained part of the cultural conversation through some of [...]

  • Sirius Logo

    Radio Hall of Famer Kid Kelly Leaves SiriusXM After Two Decades

    In a surprise move, veteran programmer, on-air personality and Radio Hall of Famer Kid Kelly has left SiriusXM after nearly 20 years with the radio giant, a rep for the company has confirmed to Variety. The news was first reported by RAMP. He most recently served as SiriusXM’s VP of Pop Music Programming. “After a [...]

  • Shanghai Disneyland

    Shanghai Disneyland Closes in Response to China Virus Outbreak

    Shanghai Disneyland will close its doors Saturday as a reaction to the spread of a form of coronavirus that has now killed 26 people in mainland China. The resort complex, which normally operates 365 days per year and welcomes more than 10 million visitors annually, announced Friday afternoon local time that it will shutter the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content