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CANNES 2002 Competition

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A European future for Loach

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- Sweet sixteen without a British distributor: "Co-production's the solution"

A European future for Loach

«Last week I was at home in Greenock and now I´m in Cannes. It´s fantastic,» declares an ecstatic Martin Compston, the star of Ken Loach's latest film Sweet Sixteen, in competition in Cannes.
Compston who hails from Glasgow isn't really an actor but a professional soccer player whose team is currently in Scotland's second division and so unsure of his acting skill was he, that he didn't even show up on the first day of shooting. But Ken Loach's legendary talent-spotting skills are still working perfectly and he decreed that only Martin could play Liam, an adolescent from the west of Scotland whose mother is in prison and who makes a living in the only way open to him, by pushing drugs. Amazingly, Loach's film has yet to find a British distributor.
«Liam is an intelligent boy, very creative and courageous,» explains Loach. »Had he been born in another social class Liam would have gone to university. As it is just another truancy statistic. In Scotland, 40,000 children drop out of school every year.» Loach blames the free market and weak authorities, both social and political. «But on the other hand, a stronger Europe will result in the creation of a single market where companies are free to move to countries where labour costs less.» The controversial director tells us what he thinks about the film industry, «The British government no longer funds films like the ones I make so the only way ahead is to set up co-productions with multiple European partners, rather on the lines of Wenders´ Roadmovies. That is the only way I'll be able to hang on to my artistic freedom."

(Translated from Italian)

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