Speaking to The Guardian ahead of the launch of Breakthrough Brits, an initiative spearheaded by BAFTA offering career advice and mentoring to young people in the film industry, director Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips, The Bourne Supremacy) was critical of the lack of opportunities available to young working-class film makers and performers. Here’s what he had to say:
“Young people starting out are being screwed to the ground. If you don’t have a rich mum or dad, that’s a problem.”
“Our industry is not the plaything of the aristocracy, but there’s no question that being able to be sustained by your parents when starting salaries are luncheon money and contract length is tiny is invaluable. It’s being filled by people with means.
“We’ve got to work harder as an industry to make young people’s route in benign. It wasn’t that I didn’t have my arse kicked, but you were in a system where you had time to make mistakes and were given space not to conform.”
“We have to think about where we’re going to be as an industry in five years’ time and how we’re going to create systematic opportunities for people to train.”
“Sport and music – much more readily reflect the Britain outside. And that’s because it feels very remote to make a film unless you’re middle-class”.
That the British film and TV industries currently enjoy such good health, he said, should not mean that positive action is arrested. “You have to make dispensation in good times for the next generation.”
“One of the things we look to the next generation for is hope: where is the possibility of human life here? That’s going to be very, very important for British cinema to find.”