Cannes Winner Loach To Put Gangmasters In The Frame

Just days after winning one of cinema's top prizes, controversial director Ken Loach is turning his attention to gangmasters for his next film, which will shoot in Scotland this autumn. Loach won the Palme d'Or last weekend at the Cannes Film Festival for The Wind that Shakes the Barley, a drama about the early days of the IRA which some critics have accused of being anti-British. He is lionised in Europe but expects his latest film to open in 10 times as many cinemas in France than in Britain. He said that British cinemas were "in the pockets" of the big American film companies.

 

"We are really wanting to keep quite quiet about it at the moment."

Ken Loach - returning to Scotland Loach and his producer Rebecca O'Brien were reluctant to give much away about their next film except to say it is called These Times, a "contemporary drama" which will be shot in Scotland and the London area. Loach has made several films in Scotland in recent years, repeatedly collaborating with Paul Laverty, a scriptwriter from Glasgow.

O'Brien said: "We are really wanting to keep quite quiet about it at the moment."

Asked it if it was likely to be controversial, she added: "Look at the rest of our films and you can decide from that."  Details of the film inadvertently appeared last week in a section of the website for Loach's company Sixteen Films, named after Sweet Sixteen, the film in which Martin Compston made his debut four years ago.

Read Brian Pendreigh's story in full HERE

 

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0 # Out to LoachGuest 2006-06-04 06:12
This is the fourth Loach-related item to feature in the news section. Meanwhile my latest diary item - No Such Thing as a Free Loach - has been pulled from the front of this site for being \'vicious\'.

Decide for yourselves, folks and let\'s debate it.
0 # Out to LoachGuest 2006-06-04 06:12
This is the fourth Loach-related item to feature in the news section. Meanwhile my latest diary item - No Such Thing as a Free Loach - has been pulled from the front of this site for being \'vicious\'.

Decide for yourselves, folks and let\'s debate it.
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 07:35
Four Loach-related news items, eh? You\'d almost think he\'d just won a major award or something... ;-)
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 07:35
Four Loach-related news items, eh? You\'d almost think he\'d just won a major award or something... ;-)
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 08:08
In your diary piece, you didn\'t mention that The Wind that Shakes the Barley was an Irish/British/German/Italian/Spanish co-production.

You also wished Loach would concentrate on his own class. Yet, he was raised in a working-class family.

You also attacked him for making commercials (they were beer ads, mostly). He did this during the 80s when he was unable to make films. What would you rather the man did? Work in McDonald\'s?

Also, why shouldn\'t he receive funding through the lottery? He has been one of this country\'s most consistent filmmakers (no doubt you will say because he has been given money to make his movies). What is it exactly that incenses you about Loach? The fact that he is able to get funding? The fact that he has remained true himself and his politics? The fact that he is an Englishman making films in Scotland? The fact that he is an Englishman?

There were no complaints about Loach until he won the Palme d\'Or. Now everyone, from Tory MPs to Orange Order sympathising \'historians\', wants to tear strips off the man.

I\'d have thought that his victory in Cannes could only be a positive thing for the British film industry. Maybe I\'m wrong. Clearly, you think differently.
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 08:08
In your diary piece, you didn\'t mention that The Wind that Shakes the Barley was an Irish/British/German/Italian/Spanish co-production.

You also wished Loach would concentrate on his own class. Yet, he was raised in a working-class family.

You also attacked him for making commercials (they were beer ads, mostly). He did this during the 80s when he was unable to make films. What would you rather the man did? Work in McDonald\'s?

Also, why shouldn\'t he receive funding through the lottery? He has been one of this country\'s most consistent filmmakers (no doubt you will say because he has been given money to make his movies). What is it exactly that incenses you about Loach? The fact that he is able to get funding? The fact that he has remained true himself and his politics? The fact that he is an Englishman making films in Scotland? The fact that he is an Englishman?

There were no complaints about Loach until he won the Palme d\'Or. Now everyone, from Tory MPs to Orange Order sympathising \'historians\', wants to tear strips off the man.

I\'d have thought that his victory in Cannes could only be a positive thing for the British film industry. Maybe I\'m wrong. Clearly, you think differently.
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 10:02
I do think differently, Stephen. That\'s why I want this debate and to hear other people\'s views.

First off, I don\'t make mention of The Wind that Shake the Barley in my piece because it isn\'t one of the four films he made in Scotland, all funded by the Scottish Screen Lottery Fund, making him the most subsidised filmmaker in the country. It\'s got nothing to do with his nationality. Only the small-minded could arrive at that conclusion.

Second, this isn\'t about Ken Loach personally. I don\'t give a toss what his background is. It\'s about his portrayal of a Scottish under/working class and the fact his contribution has helped to create a negative perception of Scottish film - the grimy miserablism the media tell us we revel in. If he\'s being attacked right now then that\'s because the likes of MacDonald and Rutter help to reinforce the Ken Loach brand - telling the world his films are good for a bit of controversy. If Murdoch\'s gunning for him, then he ought to take it on the chin - that\'s the game he\'s in. No filmmaker ought to be bulletproof, not even our Ken.

And no, Loach shouldn\'t receive Lottery funding. An argument increasingly used by public funders is that films have to turn a buck, which they use as an excuse for not funding other, lesser known filmmakers. There\'s no evidence that any of Loach\'s four Scottish-backed films have returned anything to the public sector. Ergo, his films aren\'t viable. If they had, I wouldn\'t have a problem. Besides, as an established filmmaker, surely he\'s in a position to source alternative funding - industry and broadcast - not tap into funds purportedly set up to support emerging talent. I mean, the NEW Cinema Fund? What\'s new about any Ken Loach movie?

Of course His Palme D\'Or win should be applauded, but I fail to see how it can help me or any other struggling filmmaker, not when he\'s first in line to get his Lottery application rubber-stamped.

How many filmmakers can blithely report that they\'re due to start shooting in the autumn? While Scottish producers are as demoralised as they\'ve ever been with the imminent demise of Scottish Screen, it\'s galling to think that Ken just keeps on churning them out, no matter how worthy the subject matter.

Oh, and it was Mike Figgis who did the Mickey D ads. What hardship it must have been, directing beer commercials. Enough to put your kids through private school, so I\'m told.
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 10:02
I do think differently, Stephen. That\'s why I want this debate and to hear other people\'s views.

First off, I don\'t make mention of The Wind that Shake the Barley in my piece because it isn\'t one of the four films he made in Scotland, all funded by the Scottish Screen Lottery Fund, making him the most subsidised filmmaker in the country. It\'s got nothing to do with his nationality. Only the small-minded could arrive at that conclusion.

Second, this isn\'t about Ken Loach personally. I don\'t give a toss what his background is. It\'s about his portrayal of a Scottish under/working class and the fact his contribution has helped to create a negative perception of Scottish film - the grimy miserablism the media tell us we revel in. If he\'s being attacked right now then that\'s because the likes of MacDonald and Rutter help to reinforce the Ken Loach brand - telling the world his films are good for a bit of controversy. If Murdoch\'s gunning for him, then he ought to take it on the chin - that\'s the game he\'s in. No filmmaker ought to be bulletproof, not even our Ken.

And no, Loach shouldn\'t receive Lottery funding. An argument increasingly used by public funders is that films have to turn a buck, which they use as an excuse for not funding other, lesser known filmmakers. There\'s no evidence that any of Loach\'s four Scottish-backed films have returned anything to the public sector. Ergo, his films aren\'t viable. If they had, I wouldn\'t have a problem. Besides, as an established filmmaker, surely he\'s in a position to source alternative funding - industry and broadcast - not tap into funds purportedly set up to support emerging talent. I mean, the NEW Cinema Fund? What\'s new about any Ken Loach movie?

Of course His Palme D\'Or win should be applauded, but I fail to see how it can help me or any other struggling filmmaker, not when he\'s first in line to get his Lottery application rubber-stamped.

How many filmmakers can blithely report that they\'re due to start shooting in the autumn? While Scottish producers are as demoralised as they\'ve ever been with the imminent demise of Scottish Screen, it\'s galling to think that Ken just keeps on churning them out, no matter how worthy the subject matter.

Oh, and it was Mike Figgis who did the Mickey D ads. What hardship it must have been, directing beer commercials. Enough to put your kids through private school, so I\'m told.
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 11:04
No, we\'re clearly going to agree.

Apologies for thinking you might be knocking his nationality but it wasn\'t clear from your diary what your point was.

What does M & R have to do with reinforcing the Loach brand? Yes, they prepresent his films, but the likes of the Guardian, the Times and the Telegraph figured out for themselves that The Wind that Shakes the Barley is a good film. I don\'t think any of their reviewers are particularly swayed by M & R. As for them creating controversy, that has been done by the right-wing media. There was no great controversy surrounding the film in Cannes.

You did attack Ken personally, saying he should stick to his own class and keep his hands off yours. As I said, he comes from a working class background. If his background isn\'t important, why refer to your class as if it is distinct from his?

Lynne Ramsay\'s films don\'t seem to have suffered because of Ken Loach. They were well received.

Yes, Loach seems big enough to take it on the chin from the Murdoch press. It\'s just a pity that people on here seem to want to join in the bashing.

And Loach didn\'t blithely announce that he had a news film coming out in the Autumn. When I interviewed him last week, he said it was too early to say anything about the film. It seems that he has been forced into commenting because the people who run his production company\'s website put something up about the film.

I\'m not sure what your point is re Mike Figgis and McDonald\'s. Mine was that you seemed to be suggesting in your diary that Loach shouldn\'t be making adverts.
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 11:04
No, we\'re clearly going to agree.

Apologies for thinking you might be knocking his nationality but it wasn\'t clear from your diary what your point was.

What does M & R have to do with reinforcing the Loach brand? Yes, they prepresent his films, but the likes of the Guardian, the Times and the Telegraph figured out for themselves that The Wind that Shakes the Barley is a good film. I don\'t think any of their reviewers are particularly swayed by M & R. As for them creating controversy, that has been done by the right-wing media. There was no great controversy surrounding the film in Cannes.

You did attack Ken personally, saying he should stick to his own class and keep his hands off yours. As I said, he comes from a working class background. If his background isn\'t important, why refer to your class as if it is distinct from his?

Lynne Ramsay\'s films don\'t seem to have suffered because of Ken Loach. They were well received.

Yes, Loach seems big enough to take it on the chin from the Murdoch press. It\'s just a pity that people on here seem to want to join in the bashing.

And Loach didn\'t blithely announce that he had a news film coming out in the Autumn. When I interviewed him last week, he said it was too early to say anything about the film. It seems that he has been forced into commenting because the people who run his production company\'s website put something up about the film.

I\'m not sure what your point is re Mike Figgis and McDonald\'s. Mine was that you seemed to be suggesting in your diary that Loach shouldn\'t be making adverts.
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 11:06
Obviously I meant we\'re clearly not going to agree.
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 11:06
Obviously I meant we\'re clearly not going to agree.
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 11:45
MacDonald and Rutter is a PR company. If they\'re not responsible for creating a brand through the way they present a film, then I don\'t know who is.

Like I say, I deliberately didn\'t comment on TWTSTB because a) I haven\'t seen it b) it doesn\'t impact on Scottish filmmakers like say, My Name is Joe or Sweet Sixteen did. If the Guardian et al find in its favour, then great - it balances up what the US trades had to say about it.

To reiterate, I don\'t care about Loach\'s background. I still think he fails when it comes to the sub/working classes. Without getting into a thesis about it, I don\'t recognise the characters in My Name is Joe - the courageous recovering alky, the two-dimensional gangster, the suicidal junkie. There\'s nothing illuminating about these people, nothing that suggests redemption can be found among these folks. There\'s just no dignity, only a taint of exploitation and a kind of moralising, finger-wagging \'there but for the grace of God\' pious schtick. The people he portrays don\'t go to the pictures - they\'d rather watch Sky - so who are his films for? A conscience-ridden middle class? Am I not entitled as an individual to pass comment on who\'s making movies off the back of my Lottery tickets?

As a journalist, you know only too well how hard it is to put a positive spin on a Scottish film. Lynne Ramsay\'s irrelevant in this debate - she\'s had two Lottery awards from SS for films made in Scotland and rightly or wrongly got a lot of acclaim, if no significant box. So what? Let\'s not forget she had to quit Scotland, just like virtually every other filmmaker who can\'t get past go.

Returning to Loach, what\'s wrong with a bit of justified criticism here or anywhere else? Are we only supposed to write nice things in Netribution? If we can\'t find the space here for a contrary view then where do the dissenting voices go? Or is Ken Loach above all and any criticism? He\'s hardly had a hard time, being so serially funded and while he may not want to say too much about his forthcoming shoot at least he\'s shooting - more than you can say for the majority of Scottish-based directors.

And believe me, there\'s nothing wrong with adverts. They pay better than the average UK flick. Good luck to any director who gets the gig. You might also ask who\'s directing all these glossy sub-porn flicks for the Playboy Channel. But that\'s another story.

Lighten up, for goodness sake. Trying to make movies here is hard enough. If a wee bit of Loach baiting turns people into \'indignant of Hyndland\', then what the hell\'s wrong with that?
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 11:45
MacDonald and Rutter is a PR company. If they\'re not responsible for creating a brand through the way they present a film, then I don\'t know who is.

Like I say, I deliberately didn\'t comment on TWTSTB because a) I haven\'t seen it b) it doesn\'t impact on Scottish filmmakers like say, My Name is Joe or Sweet Sixteen did. If the Guardian et al find in its favour, then great - it balances up what the US trades had to say about it.

To reiterate, I don\'t care about Loach\'s background. I still think he fails when it comes to the sub/working classes. Without getting into a thesis about it, I don\'t recognise the characters in My Name is Joe - the courageous recovering alky, the two-dimensional gangster, the suicidal junkie. There\'s nothing illuminating about these people, nothing that suggests redemption can be found among these folks. There\'s just no dignity, only a taint of exploitation and a kind of moralising, finger-wagging \'there but for the grace of God\' pious schtick. The people he portrays don\'t go to the pictures - they\'d rather watch Sky - so who are his films for? A conscience-ridden middle class? Am I not entitled as an individual to pass comment on who\'s making movies off the back of my Lottery tickets?

As a journalist, you know only too well how hard it is to put a positive spin on a Scottish film. Lynne Ramsay\'s irrelevant in this debate - she\'s had two Lottery awards from SS for films made in Scotland and rightly or wrongly got a lot of acclaim, if no significant box. So what? Let\'s not forget she had to quit Scotland, just like virtually every other filmmaker who can\'t get past go.

Returning to Loach, what\'s wrong with a bit of justified criticism here or anywhere else? Are we only supposed to write nice things in Netribution? If we can\'t find the space here for a contrary view then where do the dissenting voices go? Or is Ken Loach above all and any criticism? He\'s hardly had a hard time, being so serially funded and while he may not want to say too much about his forthcoming shoot at least he\'s shooting - more than you can say for the majority of Scottish-based directors.

And believe me, there\'s nothing wrong with adverts. They pay better than the average UK flick. Good luck to any director who gets the gig. You might also ask who\'s directing all these glossy sub-porn flicks for the Playboy Channel. But that\'s another story.

Lighten up, for goodness sake. Trying to make movies here is hard enough. If a wee bit of Loach baiting turns people into \'indignant of Hyndland\', then what the hell\'s wrong with that?
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 12:06
We\'re coming at this from different directions. My concern is not how Loach funds his films; my concern is the concerted attack by the right, which is seeking to discredit Loach and his film because of the parallels it seeks to draw between Ango-Irish relations in the early 1920s and the Iraq war. This represents a bigger issue than just Loach and his film, because it seems that one cannot now criticise one\'s own government\'s policies without being charged with being anti the country as a whole. The same happened to Michael Moore in America, of course, over Fahrenheit 9/11. This is the reason why I\'d hoped we wouldn\'t also get drawn into bashing Loach. The funding issue is a different matter and doesn\'t really concern me.
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 12:06
We\'re coming at this from different directions. My concern is not how Loach funds his films; my concern is the concerted attack by the right, which is seeking to discredit Loach and his film because of the parallels it seeks to draw between Ango-Irish relations in the early 1920s and the Iraq war. This represents a bigger issue than just Loach and his film, because it seems that one cannot now criticise one\'s own government\'s policies without being charged with being anti the country as a whole. The same happened to Michael Moore in America, of course, over Fahrenheit 9/11. This is the reason why I\'d hoped we wouldn\'t also get drawn into bashing Loach. The funding issue is a different matter and doesn\'t really concern me.
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 13:17
Fair enough. Then you understand that\'s a separate issue from the one I\'m writing about.

I\'m just a filmmaker who has to do one of those Macjobs that Loach so narrowly avoided because like most of my fellow filmmakers, I can\'t compete with Ken Loach when it comes to scoring Lottery dosh. I guess I\'ll just have to wait for my turn in the queue. In the meantime I\'ll keep fighting the good fight for the voiceless.

And thanks to Netribution for reinstating my piece. Viva Free Speech!!
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 13:17
Fair enough. Then you understand that\'s a separate issue from the one I\'m writing about.

I\'m just a filmmaker who has to do one of those Macjobs that Loach so narrowly avoided because like most of my fellow filmmakers, I can\'t compete with Ken Loach when it comes to scoring Lottery dosh. I guess I\'ll just have to wait for my turn in the queue. In the meantime I\'ll keep fighting the good fight for the voiceless.

And thanks to Netribution for reinstating my piece. Viva Free Speech!!
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 14:05
I don\'t think the piece was ever taken down, was it? I understand it was moved to a section which made clear that it was a personal blog rather than news.
0 # Guest 2006-06-04 14:05
I don\'t think the piece was ever taken down, was it? I understand it was moved to a section which made clear that it was a personal blog rather than news.
0 # Guest 2006-06-05 01:21
Oh, you again.

I don\'t know why you\'re so bothered about my item, but thanks to this debate I\'ve had a ton of hits so cheers for that.

FYI. I never claimed my piece was removed entirely -read the top comment on this page - it was removed off the front of the site and buried with the rest of the diary entries. Fortunately the site administrator saw sense and restored it when I pointed out that this site ought to be big enough to carry the occasional cry of dissent from its regular contributors.
0 # Guest 2006-06-05 01:21
Oh, you again.

I don\'t know why you\'re so bothered about my item, but thanks to this debate I\'ve had a ton of hits so cheers for that.

FYI. I never claimed my piece was removed entirely -read the top comment on this page - it was removed off the front of the site and buried with the rest of the diary entries. Fortunately the site administrator saw sense and restored it when I pointed out that this site ought to be big enough to carry the occasional cry of dissent from its regular contributors.