Director and Co-writer, FRANCO ROSSO
Born in 1942 in Italy with Italian parents, FRANCO ROSSO grew up in London, completing his education at the Camberwell Art School and the Royal College of Art. He considers England his home, but not his native land. An attitude which has given him rare sympathy and understanding with minority groups in general, immigrant minority groups in particular. This has been reflected in his films like House on the Hill, the story of a black borstal boy which caused a storm of controversy when it was banned by ATV, Black and Blue and Dread Beat and Blood, his sensitive Omnibus documentary about reggae poet Lynton [sic] Kwesi Johnson, which gained the attention of the national press when its showing was postponed until after last years General Election. Apparently, the BBC felt the film was politically biased. When, finally, Dread Beat and Blood was allowed on the airwaves it received high praise from television critics. With Babylon, FRANCO ROSSO is bringing to the screen a story he has waited five years to film. The story has undergone changes in the meantime because situations change. Like all Rosso s work, Babylon is realistic and uncompromising. "As a film-maker I believe my first job is to entertain, but I also believe in filming things the way they are. Babylon is fiction, a story, but it is a story that could happen and the situations are entirely real".
Aside from writing and directing, ROSSO works consistently as a film editor. He was assistant to Ken Loach on Kes and in the past few years has edited a prodigious number of television documentaries. His other directorial credits include Dream Weaver , a 50 minute drama which received awards at Chicago and Mannheim, promotional films for John Lennon, a film on Stephen Stills, Mangrove Nine, History of Black Music, for VPS and Target which he co-wrote with Martin Stellman for the BBC last year.
Producer, GAVRIK LOSEY
Born in America, son of film director Joseph Losey, Gavrik came to the U.K. in 1955 and has lived here ever since. He arrived to study economics and anthropology at London University. When his studies were over he entered the film industry, working for a documentary company as Assistant Editor with directors like Karel Reisz and Lindsay Anderson. Moving into camera work Losey worked as an assistant on the films Tom Jones, The Girl with Green Eyes and The Uncle amongst many others. Later he joined Granada TVs World in Action team as a cameraman covering current affairs in the worlds trouble spots. From cameraman to assistant directing and on to the production side he then worked as Production Manager on Thirty is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia, Robbery, Lindsay Andersons If, Tony Richardsons Hamlet, Laughter in the Dark and Ned Kelly, filmed in Australia with Mick Jagger. He was Production Controller for the Beatles on Magical Mystery Tour, for EMI on Villain starring Richard Burton and on Alistair MacLeans Fear is the Key. In March 1970 he joined forces with David Puttnam and Sandy Lieberson at VPS/Goodtime Enterprises as Associate Producer and Producer; his credits included Melody, Pied Piper, Thatll Be The Day, Stardust and Flame. He also produced Little Malcolm for Apple Films which won major awards at Berlin and Atlanta, was Production Consultant on The Greek Tycoon and produced Agatha for Warner Bros./First Artists with Vanessa Redgrave and Dustin Hoffman. He spent a year developing the package of Gerald Durrells My Family and Other Animals with Allen Kleins Abkco Group and then produced Babylon, the black youth music movie for release soon.
Losey has formed a partnership with the writer Gordon Williams to develop films from original ideas and from the wealth of material already written by Williams including the book from which the film Straw Dogs and the Hazell books. The partnership is now preparing Bornless Keeper for Cohn Sherborne to direct later this year.
Writer and Associate Producer, MARTIN STELLMAN
Born in 1948, Martin Stellman grew up in West Hampstead and after attending St Marylebone Grammar School went to Bristol University, to study Drama and English but dropped out after two years to join Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, as experimental rock theatre group popular between 1968 - 1971. He then worked at The Albany in Deptford where he wrote and directed a number of plays with teenagers including Down in Black and White and Us Girls. At the same time with Brenda Moor, he set up The Schoolhouse, South East Londons first alternative school for secondary age kids. Also at this time he was working as a freelance journalist contributing regular features to "Ink" and "Time Out" magazines.
After meeting France Rosso in 1975, he embarked on the joint project that became Babylon, originally commissioned for the BBC Play for Today series. Two years later Rosso and Stellman wrote Black and Blue for Granadas Crown Court series as well as an episode for BBCs Target series. Aside from his work with Rosso, Stellman has written two stage plays Miss and Inside Kid for Common Stock Theatre Company and co-written the screenplay of Quadrophenia.
Director of Photography, CHRIS MENGES
Amongst cameramen, CHRIS MENGES has an entirely individual talent and reputation, preferring to photograph subjects that appeal to him and that he can feel involved in. Therefore, after gaining considerable acclaim for his photography of Kes he returned to working in television, spending nearly ten years on documentaries, filmed drama and TV specials. During that time he made brief sorties into feature films with Gumshoe directed by Stephen Frears, starring Albert Finney, Bloody Kids also directed by Frears, and more recently Black Jack for Ken Loach. He also photographed Tony (brother of Ridley) Scotts first film Loving Memory, which was produced with funds from the British Film Institute. As Director of Photography for the second unit he was responsible for the battle scenes in Zulu Dawn; last year he spent five months on The Empire Strikes Back, produced by the Star Wars team, as second unit Director of Photography. He is scheduled to photograph Tony Scotts first major feature, which will be filmed in Chile, and has just completed photographing John McKenzies feature film, The Hard Man in Scotland.