One Hundred Films and a Funeral

By Michael Kuhn | Go to book overview

13
Talent

For several years while in Los Angeles, I held an annual fundraising event at my house in the Hollywood Hills. It came about in this way: the Sundance Institute on whose board I served, needed to raise sufficient money to pay for their marvellous courses. All board members committed to do what they could to raise this money. I knew that to ask the Studios to contribute would be a lost cause. Every week studio heads receive dozens of invitations to charity events and have to take tables costing $10,000 or more because the event is honouring one of their key actors or directors or producers. There was no way they were going to support the Sundance Institute.

However, I felt that the international community owed a lot to the talent that Sundance generated and should contribute. I therefore came up with the idea of hosting a party at my house at the time of the American Film Market, when all international buyers came to Los Angeles to buy films. I would offer them tickets at $1,000 per head to meet stars. The theory was great. In practice however, by the Friday before the Monday on which the party was to be held, I had one hundred assorted international buyers coming to the house for a great dinner to meet stars. The hitch was that I had no stars. I panicked. I rang all my production companies and told them that they would never get the green light on any movie they wanted to make unless they delivered stars on the Monday. And sure enough, on the Monday, we had an ‘A’ list turn out of stars and raised $80,000 for Sundance.

Every year we went through the same trauma and every year, the quality of the talent turning up improved. In our best year, I think we had Michael Douglas, Jodie Foster, Brad Pitt, Geena Davis, Renee Harlin, David Fincher, Michael Bay and many others among the champagne sipping crowds.

-115-

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One Hundred Films and a Funeral
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Dedication *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations i
  • Preface ii
  • Acknowledgements iv
  • Part One - Polygram and Films — The INS and Outs 1
  • 1 - Early Flirtations 3
  • 2 - When a Film Is Not a Film- The Long Form Music Video Disguise 15
  • 3 - Commitment and Relationships 25
  • 4 - The Strategy Unfolds 33
  • 5 - Building a Studio 45
  • 6 - Four Weddings and a Funeral 57
  • 7 - Chasing the Lion- Polygram, Mgm and Kirk Kerkorian 69
  • 8 - Green Lighting and Marketing 79
  • 9 - The End 91
  • Part Two - Influences, Titans and Characters 97
  • 10 - Arthur Krim 99
  • 11 - Lew Grade 105
  • 12 - Of Colleagues 111
  • 13 - Talent 115
  • 14 - Politicians 121
  • Part Three - Some Other Bit-Parts Observed 125
  • 15 - The Control Sheet 127
  • 16 - Opening a Movie in America 131
  • 17 - African-American Films 135
  • 18 - Television and Catalogues 137
  • 19 - Management 139
  • 20 - The Sundance Channel 141
  • Postscript 143
  • Appendices 145
  • 1 - The Players 146
  • 2 - Polygram Filmed Entertainment Chronology 159
  • 3 - Timeline 163
  • 4 - Polygram Filmed Entertainment- Film List 173
  • 5 - Film Credits 180
  • 6 - Awards 212
  • 7 - Polygram Companies 233
  • 8 - Corporate Structure — Polygram Filmed Entertainment 235
  • 9 - Index 239
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