Chris Atkins - Documentary Film Maker

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WHY SHOULD YOU LISTEN TO HIM…? Because he’s behind some of Britain’s most innovative and acclaimed films of recent times, including the UK’s first ever Kung Fu movie!  Any man who can pull that off…!

WHO HE’S WORKED WITH…
Working Title, New Line, Revolver Entertainment.


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Chris had a lucky start to his career when he produced Richard Jobson’s debut feature, SIXTEEN YEARS OF ALCOHOL.  It won numerous festival awards and critical acclaim on it’s theatrical release and was nominated for five British Independent Film Awards, winning two. He went on to produce 2 more films for Jobson including A WOMAN IN WINTER which was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA for best film.

Thanks to a chance meeting with one of Michael Moore’s producers in 2006 he decided to direct a documentary on the loss of civil liberties in the UK called TAKING LIBERTIES - despite having no experience in either directing or documentaries. The film was released theatrically to coincide with Tony Blair’s departure in June 2007 and was given excellent reviews in the national broadsheet and tabloid press. It played in dozens of cinemas around the UK and was one of the highest grossing documentaries of 2007. In 2008 Chris was nominated for a BAFTA in the Carl Foreman Award Category, for best Writer & Director in their first feature film.

Worried that he didn’t criticise the media enough in TAKING LIBERTIES, Chris decided to make an entire film about the toxic effect that the media and celebrity are having on our world. Two years later STARSUCKERS was premiered at the London Film Festival in October 2009, and received unprecedented press attention, taking up the front page of The Guardian for two days running and then making the news in countries all over the world. The film fought off legal challenges from the News Of The World, Max Clifford and Bob Geldof, and was theatrically released to rave reviews, and easily became the most talked about documentary of the year.


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Q: What was your favourite film as a kid?
A:  STAR WARS.

Q: Who inspired you when you were starting out?
A: Quentin Tarantino, and Robert Rodruigez.

Q: What was your big break?
A: Richard Jobson asked me to produce his debut feature, 16 YEARS OF ALCOHOL.

Q: What was the best day in your career?
A: Max Clifford and the News of the World both tried to shut my film down on the same day. We beat them.

Q: What has been your most important lesson?
A: Hire good lawyers.

Q; If a niece or nephew wanted to be in the business, what would you advise them?
A: Do something else. It’s full of deluded narcissistic egotists, and the money is terrible.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job and how do you overcome it?
A: Dealing with Distributors – especially studios. If Dante had been alive today he would have made an extra layer of hell for movie executives. I’m trying to find ways to bypass media corporations by going direct to the audience.

Q: What do you feel is a writers’ or filmmakers' key responsibility?
A: Be truthful.

Q: What mistakes do you see writers or film makers making over and over?
A: In Britain we have a particular disease in that we want to try and reflect a whimsical and quaint image of ourselves back on America. Rather than try and be daring or say something new about ourselves, we regurgitate these saccharine stories over and over, from LOVE ACTUALLY to  BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM to MADE IN DAGENHAM. In a sad desperation to please American audiences we’re missing opportunities to make genuinely challenging films.

Q: What advice would you offer a writer or film maker?
A: Same as William Goldman: no-one knows anything.