The forth day’s topic was movies in the intensive course I joined in. I hadn’t known about Jeff Skoll and his company Participant Productions until the teacher gave the handout.
Jeff Skoll is a Canadian businessman, who was one of the founders of internet auction firm eBay. He cashed his eBay’s stocks 5 years ago, and then found Participant Productions, a movie production company 2 years ago.
Participant Productions has gained critical success and got Oscar nominations, and have made lots of money, though it is quite new. They released these movies so far: Murderball, Arna’s Children, Syriana, Good Night, and Good luck, North Country, The World According to Sesame Street, An Inconvenient Truth, Fast Food Nation, American Gun and Electric Dreams.
Hollywood producers have made films to only entertain people and have aimed for the big profits until today. And their success has been judged by the box office.
But Participant Productions’ aim is different. They want both to entertain and to make people aware of social issues. Jeff Skoll says, “If a film is successful but does no good in the world, I would consider it a failure. Whereas if a movie does some good but doesn’t make a lot of money, I’d still say it was worthwhile.” http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,14931-2325191,00.html
And the Executive vice president, Meredith Blake also says, “Our product is social change, and the movies are vehicle for that social change.” http://observer.guardian.co.uk/screen/story/0,6903,1681361,00.html
Now Hollywood dinosaurs have trouble with high production costs, piracy and the rise of Internet. And they don’t have new original ideas. So new producers like Jeff Skoll and his company with their originality may conquer the silver screen in the near future and affect our society.