Director JIM SHERIDAN on set Photo by: George Kraychyk

Jim Sheridan says Hollywood’s greed sees move to top-notch TV production


Director JIM SHERIDAN on set Photo by: George Kraychyk

TV, really good TV, is taking the place of cinema when it comes to well written and well directed dramas, Irish filmmaker Jim Sheridan has claimed.

The six-time Oscar-nominated director said this weekend that Hollywood's growing obsession with profitability from international box office takings has forced well crafted dramas to move from the big screen onto television.

‘We're in a transition period worldwide,’ Sheridan told a press conference at the 18th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), the largest in Asia.

‘I think Hollywood is making movies for China and India and Brazil and Russia. So they don't want dialogue movies. They don't want dramas. They've migrated the drama to TV.’

International box office receipts have been the biggest money earners for years now, led by a Chinese market that is growing at a reported 30 per cent per year.

China - which collected an estimated $2.8 billion in box office takings last year, compared with Hollywood's $10.8 billion - will easily become the world's dominant market by 2020 experts claim.

According to AFP Sheridan is part of a delegation of five Irish directors visiting the southern South Korean city of Busan, including Oscar-winner Neil Jordan.

Jordan will reportedly host a ‘My Life, My Cinema’ Master Class while a contingent from the Irish Film Board aim to promote the Irish film industry and open the doors to international co-productions.

‘Basically, there is no movie industry,’ Sheridan said on Sunday. ‘There's a TV industry. And if you can go on American TV and in a 30-second ad convince people to leave their homes and go to the cinema, then you're getting into the cinema industry.

‘It's virtually impossible to release a movie outside America that hasn't released in America. You have a one-town industry and basically that's destroying its own independent cinema.

‘You have to acknowledge that 'Jaws' and 'Star Wars' created the opening weekend and created that television advertising,’ said Sheridan. ‘So the cost of making movies kept going up until it was unsustainable. It's like the housing industry.

‘And the only movies that are working are the high-rise movies. Huge investments with no dialogue, no drama.’

But that’s not to say there are not interesting new possibilities ahead, says Sheridan.

‘Like every director in the world now, myself and Neil are trying to work out how to migrate to TV because that seems to be the place where you can say something,’ he said.


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