Director Jewison laments the loss of art in U.S. film

Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:09pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - When award-winning director Norman Jewison, whose hits range from "In the Heat of the Night" to "Moonstruck," talks about Hollywood today, he does so with a fondness for an industry he sees as an integral part of the world.

But there is one ingredient Jewison says is now missing from U.S.-made motion pictures, which was not always the case. He says the art in filmmaking is mostly gone even in some of the so-called "independent" films from studio divisions.

"Art missing -- a lot of it," he told Reuters recently. "When you look back 15 years at any type of awards that are given, you will find that there are very few major Hollywood films honored. I don't know how to change that."

Jewison, who will be honored on Friday by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Canadian Film Center he founded and nonprofit organization Film Independent, linked the drop-off

in artfully done U.S. movies to the rise of corporate-owned Hollywood studios focused on bottom line profits.

Even in the low-budget "indie" film arena, he said moviemakers are forced to hire big-name stars who will perform for a low salary or find a strong marketing angle to lure audiences before productions get funded. As a result, quality storytelling has taken a back seat to profit potential.

"The film should be the star. The story should be the star," he said. "Maybe we've lost our confidence in stories."

Jewison, 82, should know.   Continued...

<p>Canadian Academy Award winning director Norman Jewison wears a Canadian Film Centre cap as he arrives at a luncheon celebrating the Canadian nominees for the Academy Awards at the residence of the Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles, California February 22, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>