Jim Sheridan says he ‘begged’ RTÉ to make Sophie documentary
10th July 2021
Jim Sheridan has said he offered his acclaimed documentary series on Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s murder to RTÉ and Virgin Media — but both turned him down.© Provided by Evoke.ie
The director said he had no alternative but to release Murder At The Cottage: The Search For Justice For Sophie on Sky.
‘It wasn’t a question that I decided one day: let’s do it on Sky Crime,’ he said. ‘I went around begging and trying to get the thing out on every channel in the world — including TV3 [Virgin], RTÉ, BBC — until I got enough finance to be able to make it through Sky.
‘It wasn’t that I decided or whatever. I do, in fact, think true crime suits the streaming world more than movies or even TV series because it is like a discussion platform — people talk about it.© Provided by Evoke.ie Jim Sheridan. Pic: Brian McEvoy
‘But it is getting to the stage where the only real movies being made are American movies — 99 per cent of the movies being made are American and all the issues you are talking about are American issues that don’t really have deep relevance in Ireland, I would say.’
Sheridan’s series was aired on Sky Crime and is available on Sky’s streaming service Now TV. But the director said the battles between streaming giants make no business sense. ‘It is hard. It is a different world when you are streaming for essentially free,’ he said on Newstalk yesterday.
‘The whole Netflix, Amazon streaming world is a business that makes no sense. It is just a fight for market share until only one studio exists in the world. I’m not sure that, even if one company got to dominate and own the world, that it is ever going to make business sense in the long run.’© Provided by Evoke.ie Jim Sheridan had pitched his Sophie Documentary series to many Irish and UK broadcasters Pic: Getty/AFP
The Oscar-winning director said he is ‘worried about the future of culture’ — warning that streaming giants such as Disney, Netflix and Amazon make movies that ‘just disappear into the ether.’
‘Netflix make hundreds of movies and I haven’t seen any of them. They just don’t seem to penetrate when they are on the streamers, you know?’ Sheridan, 72, added.
‘People don’t talk about them. There are no water-cooler moments — there is no discussion of them. All the small movies are getting pushed on to the Netflix, Amazon… and just disappearing into the ether, you know? There is no way to judge whether they’re successful or not.© Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Rex
‘The streamers are making movies that cost hundreds of millions and they come out and nobody sees them or talks about them. They disappear and nobody says they are a flop.’
The Dubliner said it is getting more difficult for young directors to get their start in the business — noting that his own early films would never be made today.
‘I’m more worried about the future of culture than the future of cinema,’ he said. ‘It is like cinema reflects culture in a lot of areas and I would say that the kind of theatre I did and my brother Peter did in the Seventies – socially aware, I suppose you could call it political theatre — that all migrated to the screen, and then, if you can’t make them any more…’
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