Gary Springer, a film promoter from the USA, played an important role in promoting three Bangladeshi aspiring filmmakers at the Cannes Film Festival held in last May.
Gary Springer is an advisory board member for the Monaco-based International Emerging Film Talent Association, which in collaboration with local organisation named International Film Initiative of Bangladesh, promoted Lubna Sharmin, Kazi Mahadi Muntasir and Md Abid Mallick at 70th Cannes Film Festival.
Gary was also one of the three jury members who selected these Bangladeshis watching their short films.
‘We will continue the programme to promote more Bangladeshi filmmakers at Cannes as we promote filmmakers from other countries at Cannes,’ Gary told New Age in an interview.
‘This is one of the reasons why I’m here in Dhaka. And another reason is of course the inivitation that I got from Ahmed [festival director of Dhaka International Film Festival] when he was visiting Cannes last year,’ Gary said.
A member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences known as Oscars, Gary Springer is visiting Dhaka as jurist of the Asian Film Competition, the main competitive segment of Dhaka International Film Festival, and also to have practical idea on the local film industry.
‘Apart from film promotional activities, I like to get experiences on new cultures and meet people from diverse backgrounds. And I’m enjoying my stay here as I’m getting chance to meet people and also know about culture and films,’ Gary said.
He also appreciates the Women Filmmakers Conference organised by the festival organisers as an ancillary event. ‘It is very well attended and unique,’ Gary said.
Gary, who also promotes independent and foreign films at festivals and cinemas in the USA, said that films made by foreign filmmakers representing their respective cultures have huge markets in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Washington, San Francisco and Boston. ‘People watch such films to know about diverse cultures and people,’ he said.
‘But,’ Gary said, ‘Independent filmmakers in the USA also struggle a lot to get fund for making films as there is no government grants for promoting such films in the USA as found in some European counties. Yes, of course they can get tax credits in some cities. But you need money first for making a film.’
‘But, things are changing. Some production houses like H24, Sony Classics are funding independent filmmaker these days in the USA,’ Gary said.
Gary, however, did not begin his career as a film publicist. He had the dream to be an actor and he acted in Hollywood films titled ‘Dog Day Afternoon’, ‘Jaws 2’, ‘Small Cycle of Friends’, and ‘Law and Disorder’ in 1970s. ‘I and my wife did not like Hollywood. That is not a fun town but everybody is from entertainment business and one cannot meet diverse people over there. So, within 10 years I lost fascination and left Hollywood and became a film publicist as I like films very much.’
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