The Europeans are coming: why our film-makers don't need Hollywood any more

The big draws at this week's Venice Film Festival are notable for one thing: they have not required US money

It boasts one of the strongest British casts to reach the screen, has a Swedish director, is financed in France and will premiere next Monday at the Venice International Film Festival. As such, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is perhaps the biggest among a growing crop of films with one thing in common: they have never touched the Hollywood hills.

In a major industrial shift away from the home of movies, the Venice festival, which starts today, will screen the world premieres of a handful of high-profile films financed and produced in Europe.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the eagerly awaited adaptation of John Le Carré's 1974 novel, was financed in full by the major French company StudioCanal. "This is a movie with strong appeal for European audiences and with European talent. That includes producers Working Title, the [Swedish] film-maker Tomas Alfredson and this fantastic British cast [Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy]. The domestic market for this is Europe, not the US. The US is an upside," Olivier Courson, the chief executive of StudioCanal, told Screen International this week.

Mr Courson's view underlines the hope European producers now have that they can get big, international movies off the ground without looking to the Hollywood studios. The belief is that the European market is large enough for them to recoup their costs regardless of what happens to the films in the US.

Roman Polanski's new film, Carnage, adapted from the Yasmina Reza play and starring Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster, is produced and financed in France and put together as a French-German-Polish co-production.

David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, about the rivalry between Freud and Jung, is also largely European financed (although it lacks British investment despite being produced and written by Brits – Jeremy Thomas and Christopher Hampton – and filled with British acting talent).

Setting up a pan-European "super studio" with the financing, marketing and distribution power of the Hollywood behemoths has long been the Holy Grail for producers this side of the Atlantic. Invariably, they have come unstuck. Alexander Korda and J Arthur Rank in the 1930s and 1940s, EMI and Goldcrest a generation later and, more recently, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment in the 1990s all followed the Euro studio dream. In the end, they simply didn't have the resources, access to worldwide distribution, or the ruthlessness to compete against Hollywood.

Now, a new breed of European producers thinks it has cracked the problem. The StudioCanal business plan is based on having companies in three major European territories – France, the UK and Germany – which, combined, represent 60 per cent of the European market. StudioCanal produces local films in all of these territories but also has the scope to make international projects on its own, or with Hollywood partners.

Given Polanski's continuing problems with the US authorities following the statutory rape charge against him more than 30 years ago, he has little choice other than to work out of Europe. However, what is increasingly apparent is that other European directors, who once would have headed to the US to further their careers, are now able to make films of scale and formal ambition at home. It is also clear that Americans are keen to work in Europe: to take advantage of the soft money schemes and regional funds that exist in the region.

Before the Europeans get too carried away though, they should note that the US market remains hugely important to them.

Films such as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Carnage and A Dangerous Method may have been made and financed in Europe but how they are received by US audiences and critics will go a long way to determining how successful they can be. They might recoup their costs in their own back yard, but the North American market still matters if they're to turn into box-office hits.

All three films are being tipped for awards. Come Oscar night next spring, one prediction can safely be made: if they do win, their producers are bound to crow "the Europeans are coming!"

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
music review
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Boy George performing with Culture Club at Heaven

musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker