Mel Gibson: Los Angeles No Longer A ‘Mecca’ Of Filmmaking

Mel Gibson is offering some advice to young filmmakers: go where the inspiration is – and there is not much of that happening in Los Angeles right now.

In the Czech Republic this weekend, to accept a special award at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Gibson spoke with Variety about his current views on movie-making and Hollywood. Said Gibson:

They come to Los Angeles, and they believe it to be this kind of Mecca of filmmaking, and I think it used to be, but I don’t think it is anymore. I think it’s wherever the inspiration is. It’s wherever it’s going to… it’s a homegrown thing. You got a better chance of making a world-breaking phenomenal story here in Karlovy if you are local and you understand it than you will have travelling to the West Coast of America. Nothing much is happening there now.

When asked about his recent work on an independent film spearheaded by a French director and Paris-based production company, Gibson gave his colleagues kudos, saying:

It’s fun. I like it and their enthusiasm. And they are very frugal because they have to be, because they haven’t got that Hollywood backing; they don’t have that support. So they have to be able to go in like robber’s dogs and extract a piece of gold somehow with minimal effort… not minimal effort, believe me there’s a lot of hard work involved, but they have to be able to do it quick, is what I’m saying, and I like that.

In the interview, Mel Gibson also expressed his admiration for actor Gary Oldman, who was recently criticized for comments he made in a Playboy interview. Gibson said, “These things happen… he’s a good guy.”

In fact, it was Gibson’s own controversial comments that had members of the Czech Jewish community reacting negatively to his receipt of an award this weekend. The Karlovy Vary festival gave Gibson its highest honor, the Crystal Globe for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema. The head of the Czech Federation of Jewish Communities, Petr Papousek, said, “[a]t the time of increasing anti-Semitism Mr. Gibson’s work can be easily used to justify anti-Jewish hatred.”

Specifically, the organization singled out Gibson’s 2004 film The Passion of the Christ, and said it perpetuated “classic stereotypes” about Jews.

Festival spokesperson Uljana Donatova responded to the criticism, stating, “[o]ur highest award is for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinematography and therefore we’ve assessed the film career of Mr. Gibson as a whole. The particular film mentioned by the federation isn’t even on our screening program.”

[Image: Yell Magazine]