Although Charles Finch (Marianne & Léonard: Words of Love) is an Englishman, Hollywood runs through his veins. He chose to start making films again “in the middle of Covid, in his late 50s,” after writing pictures, producing a handful, and directing three; managing movie stars and building brands, and publishing high-end cultural journals.
He’s started a modest film firm called STANDALONE. Columbia Pictures has a relationship with Finch, and he will officially announce a development contract with the company next month. The entrepreneur is also working on a Netflix project.
Finch said he was working on 15 to 20 projects. Josie Rourke (Mary Queen of Scots), Tom Hooper (Wretched), Marina Zenovitch (Robin Williams: Come inside my head), Simon Curtis (Downton Abbey: A New Era), and Florian Zeller are among his film partners (The father).
Finch describes himself as a “very old-fashioned impresario, pretty adept at finding talent,” and he wants to leverage that concept to get films created. According to him, the studios made a mistake by cutting the producers’ contracts. “I think it’s a mistake because you’re undermining the studio by making the director the producer, the actor the producer…how do you find someone to do the job?”
“You don’t really have a pipeline to fill your studio because the actor can only do so many movies that he develops, and the director can only do one movie every two years,” he stated.
Because his father, Oscar-winning actor Peter Finch (Network), attended Columbia, he has a special bond with the university. He told TBEN over a breakfast of delicious smoked salmon at the ultra-chic Hotel du Cap in Antibes, where he likes to stay during the Cannes Film Festival, “I have a genuine affection for this studio.”
It’s a lively and iconic hangout spot, but it’s also a location where the fashionable 59-year-old works. He has been hosting his Annual Filmmakers’ Dinner at the Eden Roc restaurant by the sea at the Hôtel du Cap for the past eleven years, in addition to making appointments there. The celebration, which is normally held on the first Saturday of the festival, has been changed to tonight, Wednesday.
As a result, a smaller, more exclusive dinner will be held tonight at the Villa Doran in Antibes, where close friends Jean Pigozzi and Dr. Barbara Sturm will give eulogies for the filmmakers with Finch. They’ll also celebrate the inaugural issue of his new publication, A Rabbit’s Foot, which is named after Ernest Hemingway, who “used to carry a rabbit’s foot in his pocket for his nervousness,” according to Finch.
The beautiful Cannes edition of A Rabbit’s Paw features a black and white portrait of Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless) at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival, taken by Brigitte Lacombe. A Rabbit’s Foot is a “bookazine” that Finch has lovingly crafted with the lights of French cinema. Its goal is to publish three print editions every year “as long as I can afford it.” A Rabbit’s Foot will also have an online presence, with updates every two months.
On the first Saturday of the film festival, the annual Filmmakers Dinner will return to the Eden Roc, with longtime partner Chanel as a sponsor.
On the eve of the BAFTAs in London and the Oscars in Hollywood, the legendary Parisian house sponsors its kill-to-get-an-invitation dinners. Both are elaborate affairs with a swarm of celebrities in attendance. The Georgian Townhouse 5 Hertford Street, a private club in Mayfair, is the venue in London. Oscar nominees, artists, and models – in other words, the well-heeled – frequent the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. Dinner parties, Finch said, are “like an albatross around my neck,” but he enjoys throwing them.
It began when he was “very broke, again,” he told TBEN, and his restaurant friend Michael Chow of Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills questioned him simply, “To how broke are you?”
“‘I’m fucking broke,’ I muttered. ‘Eat out whenever you want,’ he added. I’ll cover your expenses as long as you have a nice time, don’t overeat, and don’t bring too many people.
Mr. Chow’s significant offer was accepted by Finch. After a few months, Finch approached Chow and asked if he could organise an Oscars party the night before. The Academy will not accept this, according to Chow, because they want all movie stars to go to bed early!
“I said, ‘Look, I’m 25 years old.’ What does it matter if the Academy is unaware of my existence? ‘How many people?’ Chow inquired.
” Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, all the beautiful girls, the famous actresses were all there… In a restaurant that could only hold 60 people, there were 140 people. “The celebration started at eight o’clock in the evening and we were still there till four o’clock in the morning, and it was amazing,” Finch says, beaming.
But he continued to have those dinners, and he still does, albeit at a different address.
He afterwards received a job at the William Morris agency in London, and a BAFTA party was soon arranged for him. “I paid for this for years and years until Chanel called, and they’ve been financing us ever since.”
The Academy and the BAFTAs, according to Finch, need to step up their game. “We’ve covered all of the political ground that needs to be covered. Let’s reduce the number of films available and focus on the top five. Let’s concentrate on something elegant. Being formal has a certain allure because if you mess with the formality of these things, you’re underestimating the cost.
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He called the Oscars “an embarrassing debacle” this year.
He made a finger gesture. “Why do you have to laugh all the time?” Have a host that does it well and praises those who put their hearts and souls into their films. This is also true for the BAFTAs!
He raged, “Why would anyone bother attending the BAFTAs?” “What the hell is going on here?” This should not be interpreted as a reflection of society’s bustle. This should be a representation of society’s best; however, it is much different.
It turns out he wasn’t finished with the Academy yet. “It’s a night where we want to see the best in you…not make you make ridiculous remarks about how others look and act.” This is a serious situation. “This roasting of people is demeaning,” he remarked, alluding not only to the Chris Rock-Will Smith episode but also to the notion that hosts and presenters must humiliate and abuse people for laughs. “Ricky Gervais shouldn’t be in charge of award distribution. He’s a fantastic comedian, but he doesn’t require that level of publicity,” he told TBI.
“What happened to Will Smith was obviously horrific and wrong, and he must have been going through something we don’t know about.” But all he should have been asked to do was leave right away.
Then there was the “shameful moment” of parading around the Vanity Fair Party, according to Finch.
People can laugh and enjoy themselves, according to Finch. “However, there is an elegant solution.”