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Croatia-based film producer invited to join US Academy

Croatia-based producer invited to join US Academy

Mike Downey

Croatia-based British-Irish producer Mike Downey is among a list of distinguished artists and executives invited to join the the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). 

The US Academy’s class of 2022 invitees includes 71 Oscar nominees, including 15 winners. 

Downey is among 30 producers offered Academy membership, alongside the likes of Damon D’Oliveira, Philippe Rousselet, Tim and Trevor White and Teruhisa Yamamoto. 

Downey, who resides on Croatia’s Istrian peninsular, is one of the founders of the local Motovun Film Festival, as well as leading the Artistic Direction of Pula Film Festival, Croatia’s oldest film festival, for a number of years. He has also produced over 15 films locally from his 100-film catalogue.  

Downey founded the UK-based independent production house Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME) twenty two years ago in 2000.  

He was awarded The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2021, this British order of chivalry, was presented to him for his services to World Cinema.  

In early 2022, nominated by Lord Putnam, he was invited to be a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, joining a broad-based past membership of artists and scientist members which has included Karl Marx, Charles Dickens and Stephen Hawking.

In his relatively short career as a film producer he has worked with the likes of four times Academy award nominee Stephen Daldry, and other nominees, Peter Greenaway, Agnieszka Holland, Julien Temple, Pawel Pawlikowski, Andrzej Jakimowski, Juraj Jakubisko, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, and many other directors the length and breadth of Europe. 

His work as a film maker has seen projects developed with novelists James Ellroy, the late Gunter Grass, and Thomas Keneally (Schindler’s List); Academy Awarded winning writer of IDA, Rebecca Lenckiewicz, VICE Group founder and CEO Shane Smith, as well as directors like Academy Award winner Volker Schloendorff, Oscar nominee Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and Julien Temple; and writers of the ilk of Lee Hall (Billy Elliot), Colm Toibin (Brooklyn), and David Grossman (To the End of the Land).

In September 2020 it was announced that Downey would be the Honorary President of the 2020/2021 jury for the revamped LUX Prize, renamed LUX – the European Audience Film Award by the European Parliament and the European Film Academy (also known as LUX Audience Award). His most recent film festival directorship was for two years the artistic director of the International Antalya Film festival in Turkey.

British-Irish producer with a Croatian address appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire receives OBE

Mike Downey with his OBE (Photo credit: ZFF Press/Samir Cerić Kovačević)

He has been a board member of the European Film Academy for almost 20 years and is just completing his third year as Chairman alongside presidents Wim Wenders then Agnieszka Holland – the six previous years he was deputy chairman. He has been a member of the BAFTA board for 15 years.

In 2014 he was named Producer of the Decade at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, joining the two previous incumbents Ed Pressman and Robert Evans.  A Tribute was also held to his work as a producer at the 2015 Prague Film Festival.  This was followed in 2022 by the awarding of the lifetime achievement award, the Kristian Prize, for his contribution to World Cinema. 

He continues his humanitarian work, not only with the White Ribbon Alliance, but also last year, Downey was part of the team that launched the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR).

A member of the Asia Pacific Screen Academy (APSA) since 2017, Downey was as a former APSA Cultural Diversity Award winner a jury member at the 2019 APSA’s, he is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) as well as being an Alumnus of the Sundance Institute.

Downey’s debut novel, Istria Gold, will be published in the UK in July by MPress Media.

You can see the full list of new Academy members Class of 2022 HERE.

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