A conversation with Christopher Meir on his fascinating new book on Studiocanal and on how Europe also mass produces cinema. It’s a wide-ranging conversation touching on historical antecedents (Pathé, UFA, The Rank Organisation), the influence of the Cannon Group and Carolco in the late 80s and 90s, the business history of the studio beginning with Canal Plus, the importance of a film library and much more. Meir demonstrates how European Cinema is industrial; how television has taken the place cinema had for a mass audience, how this change has proved transformative for cinema and industrial models are also changing for television. I love works of history on media industries. We don’t have enough of them. In fact this is one of the first on a contemporary European studio. The conversation is a fascinating taster that will leave you wanting to read the book.
I love finding out more about the business of film and television; about the economics of production, distribution and exhibition; about the industrial histories of media industries. I wanted to read Christopher Meir’s book Mass Producing European Cinema: Studiocanal and its Works (London: Bloomsbury, 2019) as soon as I heard he was writing it; and once I began reading, I was eager to talk to him before I even finished it. This is how a Spanish-Canadian and an American ended up in a Madrid hotel room talking about the European-ness of British cinema.
Chris explains how it was seeing the credits of Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011) that sparked his interest and begun the research that would eventually become the book. The director was Swedish and almost everyone but the cast seemed Scandinavian, Spanish, French. And this at a moment of great euroscepticism in Britain. This made him…
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