Many Europeans have dreamed of a film studio able to challenge Hollywood on its own ground. Only one post-war company has come close PolyGram Filmed Entertainment. This book is a brilliant account of the life and death of PolyGram Films seen through the eyes of its British President, Michael Kuhn. He describes the beginnings of the company, in London and LA, in the heyday of the '80s and its subsequent meteoric growth throughout the next decade.In the words of Sir Alan Parker, "Michael Kuhn is the visionary who created the most successful global company outside of Hollywood. He achieved this with a most unusual premise: championing original and creative work, coupled with imaginative marketing and distribution, and remarkable honesty and fiscal accountability. He failed, of course, but he very nearly pulled it off. Kuhn's candid first-hand account of PolyGram Films' success and demise is a must read for anyone interested in the brutally sharp end of the business of film, or anyone who ever wondered why the films emanating from the Hollywood machine are mostly crap."Combining critical acclaim and popular success with such films as Wild at Heart, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Fargo and Notting Hill, PolyGram Films garnered ten Oscars from 1991 until 1998, when its potential was unexpectedly and unaccountably destroyed.This is not only a story of deals won and lost in a ruthless world peopled by titans, sharks, peacocks and all the usual suspects, but a real business adventure that changed the structure of the global film industry.The book includes valuable appendices: The Players; Chronology; Timeline; Film List; Film Credits; Awards; PolyGram Companies; Corporate Structure.
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About the Author
Michael Kuhn studied Law at Cambridge University before becoming an intellectual property specialist. He joined PolyGram in 1972 and rose to become General Counsel, PolyGram Worldwide. In 1991 he won approval from the Board to establish PolyGram Filmed Entertainment. He relocated to Los Angeles and over the next eight years built up the only worldwide European based film studio, with operations in 14 countries and revenues of $1 billion.
He was responsible for founding the Sundance Channel in the USA, a joint venture with Viacom and Robert Redford, which within three years reached 25m households. He set up PolyGram Television, producing several successful dramas and series, and also founded PolyGram Specialist Video, which became one of the top five sell-through companies in the world.
Michael Kuhn is a Board member of Robert Redford's Sundance Institute in the USA. In Europe, he served on Commissioner Oreja's committee on the media industry and its digital future [the report was published in 1998]. He received the 1999 BAFTA Michael Balcon award for Outstanding Services to British Cinema.