Mike Downey

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In 2009, the Zagreb International Film Festival held its first retrospective and chose to showcase the work of Mike Downey and Film and Music Entertainment.

Croatia's Zagreb Film Festival is to play host to a retrospective highlighting the production work of Mike Downey and Sam Taylor of U.K.-based production house Film and Music Entertainment. It will mark the festival's first ever retrospective since being founded eight years ago. The Croatian shindig runs Oct. 18 - 24.

Among the films to be screened as part of the retrospective will be Michael J Bassett's World War I horror thriller "Deathwatch," shot in the Czech republic with Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis and "GUY X," directed by Saul Metzstein in Iceland and Canada starring Jason Biggs and Natasha McElhone.

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Fort Lauderdale

In 2014 British producer Mike Downey, co-founder of London-based outfit Film and Music Ent. (F&ME), was honored as Producer of the Decade at the 29th Fort Lauderdale Intl. Film Festival. 

F&ME’s production or co-production credits include internationally prize-winning pics such as Andrzej Jakimowski’s teacher drama "Imagine," winner of the 2012 Audience Award at the Warsaw Festival, Srdjan Dragojevic’s comedy "Parade," a Panorama Audience Award Film at Berlin in 2012, and Goran Rusinovic’s 2008 emmigrant drama "Buick Riviera," awarded by the Sarajevo Film Festival.

A Jury member of Premiere Brazil, Rio de Janeiro Intl. Film Festival’s centerpiece, which wrapped Oct. 8, Downey worked in the ’80s as a theater director in Europe and was publisher of Moving Pictures Intl. in the ’90s. He has also played as film ("Deathwatch") and TV ("A Legend to Ride") actor. 

 "Over the year’s, Fort Lauderdale Intl. Festival has bestowed many awards to producers. Among those honorees were Ed Pressman and Robert Evans to name a couple of the well known names," says Gregory Von Hausch, FLIFF president and CEO.

"Mike Downey may not have the stateside name recognition of those and other producers, but when looking over his filmography, which is truly outstanding, I thought, what the hell, let’s celebrate a greater body of work than just a year," he added.

Running Nov. 7-23, the Fort Lauderdale Intl. Film Festival will also pay tribute to actors-filmmakers, such as George Hamilton, Jason Alexander, Daniel Baldwin and Clara Mamet.

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The key film event in Czech Republic capital Prague, FEBIOFEST hosted a tribute in 2015 to British producer Mike Downey, CEO and co-founder of London-based Film and Music Entertainment to honour his contribution to European cinema.

Febiofest presented five of Downey's productions, including Peter Greenaway's historical-biographical picture, Goltzius and the Pelican Company; The President (2014) about the last day of a fallen dictator was directed by a famous Iranian director, who has won awards in Cannes and Venice, Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Downey also will also present Ben Hopkins' comedy, Lost in Karastan, which is an absurd satire on the topic of dictatorship, with the script co-written by the recent IDA Oscar winner, Pawel Pawlikowski as well as Darko Lungulov’s Monument to Michael Jackson which he exec-produced.

"It’s a huge honour to be asked to participate in an event like this, and in one of my favourite cities in the world," says Downey who is currently mid-selection for the two festivals Motovun and Pula that he also curates, " I feel as if I have been making films for a very short period of time, and to be honoured here as well as in Fort Lauderdale last year bears witness to the fact that been very active in Europe and we will continue to be so operating from our base in London and engaging in what our own brand of World Cinema from there."

With that in mind Downey's section also included Breathe-Umphefumlo by Mark Dornford-May, which was awarded at the 2015 Berlinale for its music. The South-African based filmmaker expands on his successful adaptation of Bizet's Carmen, which earned him the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2005. This time, he has adapted Puccini's La Boheme, transposed to the township environment of today's South Africa. The production is made with the Isango company, an opera company based in Khayelitsha on whose board Downey serves along with Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Simon Rattle, Alan Rickman and Stephen Daldry.

Downey was not stranger to Prague as he has participated in a number of films which have been local co-production projects, the first was Rajko Grlic’s Josephine, followed by Sebastian Niemann’s Seven Days to Live, Juraj Jakubisko’s Bathory, Jamie Bell starrer Deathwatch and more recently Alice Neelis’ Angels.

Downey's visit is also connected with a protest event, Freedom for Sentsov. Downey has been at the vanguard of the Free Oleg Sentsov Campaign, alongside EFA Chairman Agnieszka Holland, and continues to work for his release.

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