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Ken Loach

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Subject: The Wind That Shakes the Barley (film), 2006 Cannes Film Festival, BAFTA Award for Best Film, Carla's Song, Hidden Agenda (1990 film)
Collection: 1936 Births, Alumni of St Peter's College, Oxford, Bafta Winners (People), Bbc People, British Film Directors, British Republicans, British Television Directors, César Award Winners, English Film Directors, English Socialists, English Television Directors, European Film Awards Winners (People), Fellows of St Peter's College, Oxford, Labour Party (Uk) People, Living People, People from Nuneaton, Prix Italia Winners, Respect Party Parliamentary Candidates, Social Realism, Workers Revolutionary Party (Uk) Members
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Ken Loach

Ken Loach
Born Kenneth Loach
(1936-06-17) 17 June 1936
Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England
Alma mater St Peter's College, Oxford
Years active 1962–present
Spouse(s) Lesley Ashton (m. 1962)
Children 5

Kenneth "Ken" Loach (born 17 June 1936) is an English film and television director.

He is known for his naturalistic, social realist directing style and for his socialism, which are evident in his film treatment of social issues such as homelessness (Cathy Come Home) and labour rights (Riff-Raff and The Navigators).


  • Life and career 1
  • Film style 2
  • Political activities 3
  • Criticism 4
  • Honours 5
  • Filmography 6
    • Television 6.1
    • Cinema 6.2
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Life and career

Loach was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, the son of Vivien (née Hamlin) and John Loach.[1]

Loach's ten contributions to the BBC's Wednesday Play anthology series include the docudramas Up the Junction (1965), Cathy Come Home (1966) and In Two Minds (1967). They portray working-class people in conflict with the authorities above them. Three of his early plays are believed to be lost films.[2] Up the Junction, adapted by Nell Dunn from her book with the assistance of Loach, deals with an illegal abortion while the leading characters in Cathy Comes Home, by Jeremy Sandford, are affected by homelessness, unemployment, and the workings of Social Services. In Two Minds, written by David Mercer, concerns a young schizophrenic woman's experiences of the mental health system. Tony Garnett began to work as his producer in this period, a professional connection which would last until the end of the 1970s.[3]

Coinciding with his work for The Wednesday Play, Loach began to direct feature films for the cinema, with Poor Cow (1967) and Kes (1970). The latter recounts the story of a troubled boy and his kestrel, and is based on the novel A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines. The British Film Institute named it No 7 in its list of best British films of the twentieth century, published in 1999.[4]

During the 1970s and '80s, Loach's films were less successful, often suffering from poor distribution, lack of interest and political censorship. His documentary The Save the Children Fund Film (1971) was commissioned by the charity, who subsequently disliked it so much they attempted to have the negative destroyed. In fact, it was only screened publicly for the first time on 1 September 2011, at the BFI Southbank.[5] Loach concentrated on television documentaries rather than fiction during the 1980s, and many of these films are now rare as the television companies have never released them on video or DVD.[6] At the end of the 1980s, Loach directed some television advertisements for Tennent's Lager to earn money.[6]

Loach's 1981 documentary A Question of Leadership interviewed members of the ISTC (the main trade union for Britain's steel industry) with regards to the 14-week strike in 1980, and recorded much criticism of the union's leadership for conceding over the issues in the strike. Subsequently, Loach made a four-part series named Questions of Leadership which subjected the leadership of other trade unions to similar scrutiny from their members, but this has never been broadcast.[7] Frank Chapple, leader of the Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union, walked out of the interview and made a complaint to the Independent Broadcasting Authority.[7] A separate complaint was made by Terry Duffy of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union.[7] The series was due to be broadcast during the Trade Union Congress conference in 1983, but Channel 4 decided against broadcasting the series following the complaints.[7] Anthony Hayward's book Which Side Are You On? Ken Loach and His Films (2004)[8] claims that the media tycoon Robert Maxwell had put pressure on Central's board, of which he had become a director, to withdraw Questions of Leadership at the time he was buying the Daily Mirror newspaper and needed the co-operation of union leaders, especially Frank Chapple of the electricians.

Which Side Are You On? (1985), about the songs and poems of the UK miners' strike, was originally due to be broadcast on The South Bank Show, but was rejected on the grounds that it was too politically unbalanced for an arts show.[9] The film was eventually transmitted on Channel 4, but only after it won a prize at an Italian film festival.[9] Three weeks after the end of the strike, the film End of the Battle... Not the End of the War? was broadcast on the Diverse Strands series of Channel 4.[10] This film argued that the Conservative Party had planned the destruction of the NUM's political power from the late 1970s.[10]

Working with writer Jim Allen, Loach was due to direct a play named Perdition, which suggested that Zionists in Hungary collaborated with the Nazis to help the operation of the Holocaust in return for allowing a few Jews to emigrate to Palestine.[11] The play was due to run at the Royal Court in 1987, but its run was cancelled 36 hours before the first night, following widespread protests and allegations of anti-Semitism.[6][11]

The late 1980s and 1990s saw the production of a series of films such as Hidden Agenda, dealing with the political troubles in Northern Ireland, Carla's Song set partially in Nicaragua, and Land and Freedom examining the Republican resistance in the Spanish Civil War. He directed the Courtroom Drama reconstructions in the docu-film McLibel, concerning the longest libel trial in English history. Interspersed with political films were smaller dramas such as Raining Stones a working class drama concerning an unemployed man's efforts to buy a communion dress for his young daughter.

On 28 May 2006, Loach won the Palme d'Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival for his film The Wind That Shakes the Barley,[12] a film about the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent Irish Civil War during the 1920s. In characteristic fashion this sweeping political-historical drama was followed by It's a Free World a story of one woman's attempt to establish an illegal placement service for migrant workers in London. Throughout the 2000s Loach continued to intersperse wider political dramas such as Bread and Roses (which focused on the Los Angeles janitors strike) and Route Irish (set in the Iraq occupation) with smaller examinations of personal relationships. Ae Fond Kiss explored an inter-racial love affair, Sweet Sixteen a teenager's relationship with his mother, and My Name is Joe an alcoholic's struggle to stay sober. His most commercially successful recent film is 2009's Looking for Eric, featuring a depressed postman's conversations with the ex-Manchester United football star, Eric Cantona (played by Cantona himself). The film won the Magritte Award for Best Co-Production. Although successful in Manchester, the film was a flop in many other cities, especially cities with rival football teams to Manchester United.[13]

In 2011 he released Route Irish, an examination of private contractors working in the Iraqi occupation. A thematic consistency throughout his films, whether they examine broad political situations, or smaller intimate dramas, is his focus on personal relationships. The sweeping political dramas (Land and Freedom, Bread and Roses, The Wind that Shakes the Barley) examine wider political forces in the context of relationships between family members (Bread and Roses, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Carla's Song), comrades in struggle (Land and Freedom) or close friends (Route Irish). In a 2011 interview for the Financial Times, Loach explains how "The politics are embedded into the characters and the narrative, which is a more sophisticated way of doing it".[14]

His 2013 film The Angels' Share centres around a young Scottish troublemaker who is given one final opportunity to stay out of jail. Newcomer Paul Brannigan, 24, from Glasgow, plays the lead role.[15] The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival[16][17] where Loach won the Jury Prize.[18]

His 2014 film Jimmy's Hall was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.[19]

Loach lives with his wife, Lesley, in Bath. His son Jim Loach has also become a television and film director.

Film style

Ken Loach at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

In May 2010, Loach told Tom Lamont in an interview about the three films that have influenced him most: Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves (1948), Miloš Forman's Loves of a Blonde (1965) and Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers (1966). De Sica's film had a particularly profound effect on Loach. He noted "It made me realise that cinema could be about ordinary people and their dilemmas. It wasn't a film about stars, or riches or absurd adventures."[20]

Many of Loach's films include a large amount of traditional dialect, such as the Yorkshire dialect in Kes and in The Price of Coal, the Glaswegian dialect in My Name is Joe, the dialect of Greenock (in Scotland) in Sweet Sixteen, and a variety of accents in Riff Raff. Many of these films have been subtitled when shown in other English-speaking countries.[21] When asked about this in an interview with Cineaste, Loach replied:

If you ask people to speak differently, you lose more than the voice. Everything about them changes. If I asked you not to speak with an American accent, your whole personality would change. That’s how you are. My hunch is that it’s better to use subtitles than not, even if that limits the films to an art-house circuit.[21]

Political activities

Throughout his career Loach's films have been shelved for political reasons. In a 2011 interview with The Guardian newspaper he said: "It makes you angry, not on your own behalf, but on behalf of the people whose voices weren't allowed to be heard. When you had trade unions, ordinary people, rank and file, never been on television, never been interviewed, and they're not allowed to be heard, that's scandalous. And you see it over and over again. I mean, we heard very little from the kids in the riots. You hear some people being inarticulate in a hood, but very few people were actually allowed to speak".[22] In the same interview his focus on working people's lives is explained thus: "I think the underlying factors regarding the riots are plain for anyone with eyes to see ... It seems to me any economic structure that could give young people a future has been destroyed. Traditionally young people would be drawn into the world of work, and into groups of adults who would send the boys for a lefthanded screwdriver, or a pot of elbow grease, and so they'd be sent up in that way, but they would also learn about responsibilities, and learn a trade, and be defined by their skills. Well, they destroyed that. Thatcher destroyed that. She consciously destroyed the workforces in places like the railways, for example, and the mines, and the steelworks ... so that transition from adolescence to adulthood was destroyed, consciously, and knowingly."

He argues that working people's struggles are inherently dramatic: "They live life very vividly, and the stakes are very high if you don't have a lot of money to cushion your life. Also, because they're the front line of what we came to call the class war. Either through being workers without work, or through being exploited where they were working. And I guess for a political reason, because we felt, and I still think, that if there is to be change, it will come from below. It won't come from people who have a lot to lose, it will come from people who will have everything to gain."[22]

A member of the Labour Party from the early 1960s, Loach left in the mid-1990s.[23] In November 2004, he was elected to the national council of the Respect Coalition.[23] He stood for election to the European Parliament on a Respect mandate. Since then he has broken with Respect.[24]

In 2007, Loach was one of more than 100 artists and writers who signed an open letter calling on the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival "to honour calls for an international boycott of Israeli political and cultural institutions, by discontinuing Israeli consulate sponsorship of the LGBT film festival and not co-sponsoring events with the Israeli consulate."[25][26] Loach also joined "54 international figures in the literary and cultural fields" in signing a letter that stated, in part, "celebrating 'Israel at 60' is tantamount to dancing on Palestinian graves to the haunting tune of lingering dispossession and multi-faceted injustice". The letter was published in the International Herald Tribune on 8 May 2008."[27]

Responding to a report, which he described as "a red herring", on the growth of antisemitism since the beginning of the Gaza War of 2008-2009, he has said: "If there has been a rise I am not surprised. In fact, it is perfectly understandable because Israel feeds feelings of anti-Semitism." He added "no-one can condone violence".[28]

In May 2009, organisers of the

  • Ken Loach - Production Company and DVD box set
  • Ken Loach at the Internet Movie Database
  • Ken Loach at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
  • Ken Loach at MUBI
  • Ken Loach Filmography
  • Extensive Ken Loach Biography and Filmography
  • Interview with Loach about My Name is Joe
  • Interview with Loach from 1998
  • Posters and Stills Gallery from the BFI
  • Interview: Ken Loach about Media, Culture and the Prospects for a New Liberatory Project, Democracy & Nature, Vol. 5, No.1 (March 1999). [Ken Loach was interviewed by Theodoros Papadopoulos in December 1998].
  • Interview with Ken Loach, interview about Route Irish with Alex Barker and Alex Niven in the Oxonian Review

External links

  • Golding, Simon W. Life After Kes: The Making of the British Film Classic, the People, the Story and Its Legacy. Shropshire, UK: GET Publishing, 2006. ISBN 0-9548793-3-3
  • Golding, Simon W. - '(New & Updated - on KINDLE) Life After Kes: The Making of the British Film Classic, the People, the Story and Its Legacy.' Apex Publishing, Essex, 2014. ISBN 0-9548793-3-3
  1. ^ "Ken Loach Biography (1936-)". Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d BFI Screenonline - Ken Loach: the controversies
  3. ^ Jason Deans and Maggie Brown (April 28, 2013). "Up the Junction's Tony Garnett reveals mother's backstreet abortion death".  
  4. ^ A selection of the favourite British films of the 20th century
  5. ^ Stephen Bates "Ken Loach documentary to get first screening after 40 years", The Guardian, 20 July 2011
  6. ^ a b c Time Out interview with Ken Loach
  7. ^ a b c d Fuller, Graham (1998). Loach on Loach (Directors on Directors). London: Faber and Faber. p. 68.  
  8. ^ Anthony Hayward Which Side Are You On? Ken Loach and His Films, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004
  9. ^ a b BFI Screenonline: Which side are you on?
  10. ^ a b BFI Screenonline: End of the Battle... Not the End of the War?
  11. ^ a b BFI Screenonline: Allen, Jim
  12. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Wind That Shakes the Barley". Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  13. ^ Ken Loach - the controversies
  14. ^ [4]
  15. ^ Hudson, David. "Ken Loach at 75". MUBI. 
  16. ^ "2012 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  17. ^ "Cannes Film Festival 2012 line-up announced". timeout. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  18. ^ "Awards 2012". Cannes. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  19. ^ "2014 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  20. ^ Lamont, Tom. "Films that changed my life: Ken Loach". The Observer (London). Retrieved May 2010. 
  21. ^ a b Dialect in Films: Examples of South Yorkshire. Grammatical and Lexical Features from Ken Loach Films, Dialectologica 3, page 6
  22. ^ a b Cochrane, Kira (28 August 2011). "'"Ken Loach: 'the ruling class are cracking the whip. The Guardian (London). 
  23. ^ a b Amy Raphael "The great crusader", New Statesman, 20 September 2007
  24. ^ Salman Shaheen "Ken Loach Discusses His Hopes for Left Unity", The Huffington Post, 20 November 2013
  25. ^ Matthew S. Bajko "Political Notebook: Queer activists reel over Israel, Frameline ties", Bay Area Reporter, 17 May 2007.
  26. ^ "San Francisco Queers Say No Pride in Apartheid", The Electronic Intifada, 29 May 2007.
  27. ^ "60 Years of Palestinian Dispossession ... No Reason to Celebrate 'Israel at 60'!", Mr Zine (Monthly Review Press) website, 17 May 2008.
  28. ^ "EU-wide rise in anti-Semitism described as 'understandable'", EU Politics News, 4 March 2009
  29. ^ Edinburgh film festival bows to pressure from Ken Loach over Israeli boycott, The Times], 20 May 2009
  30. ^ Loach pressure sways Edinburgh festival [5] Digital Spy, 20 May 2009.
  31. ^ Edinburgh film festival refuses Israeli grant due to pressure by Ken Loach [6] Haaretz, 20 May 2009.
  32. ^ Ahmad, Muhammad. Ken Loach responds to critics,, 26 May 2009.
  33. ^ a b Ahmad, Muhammad. 'Enough is Enough', say Ken Loach and Ilan Pappe,, 18 June 2009.
  34. ^ Israeli funding angers filmmaker by Philippa Hawker, The Age. 18 July 2009.
  35. ^ British director withdraws festival film, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), 19 July 2009.
  36. ^ Why we back the boycott call by Ken Loach, Rebecca O'Brien and Paul Laverty, The Electronic Intifada, 7 September 2009.
  37. ^ Paul Owen, et al "Julian Assange refused bail over rape allegations",The Guardian, 7 December 2010
  38. ^ "Ken Loach Interview - Entertainment - ShortList Magazine". Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  39. ^ (London), 4 September 2012Daily Mail
  40. ^ "Film director Ken Loach is backing the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in this May's London Assembly elections". Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  41. ^ Ken Loach (15 April 2012). "Boycott this Israeli farce". The Observer (London). Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  42. ^ Nick Clark (23 November 2012). "Director Ken Loach refuses Italian award after row over wage and staff cuts". The Independent (London). Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  43. ^ Ken Loach, Kate Hudson and Gilbert Achcar "The Labour party has failed us. We need a new party of the left", The Guardian (London), 25 March 2013
  44. ^ Brent Lang (9 April 2013). "Ken Loach Slams Margaret Thatcher, Says Funeral Should Be Privatized". 
  45. ^ "People's Assembly Against Austerity". The Guardian (London). 5 February 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  46. ^ "The Case for Cultural & Academic Boycott of Israel with intro by Ken Loach". PACBI. 20 November 2012. 
  47. ^ Goel Pinto (27 August 2006). "British director Ken Loach backs Palestinian call for boycott on Israel". Haaretz. 
  48. ^ Ken Loach; Rebecca O'Brien; Paul Laverty (1 September 2009). "Boycotts don't equal censorship". The Guardian (London). 
  49. ^ Ken Loach and others "Letter: Chechnya needs a fair political settlement", The Guardian (London), 23 February 2009
  50. ^ "Nuneaton and Bedworth Doorway". Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  51. ^ DHI Online
  52. ^ a b Edwards, Ruth Dudley (30 May 2006). "Why does Ken Loach loathe his country so much?". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  53. ^ a b Massie, Alex (19 May 2009). "Ken Loach's Bullying Ghastliness". The Spectator (London). Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  54. ^ a b Bindel, Julie (2 June 2014). "Dick-swinging filmmakers like Ken Loach constantly write real women and our struggles out of history". The Spectator (London). Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  55. ^ TV Guide - Poor Cow
  56. ^ Director Loach slams TV news, BBC News, 13 March 2001, Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  57. ^ "Film director gets top Keele Uni honour (VIDEO)". The Sentinel. 21 February 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  58. ^ Biography on Ken Loach's website.
  59. ^ "Homage and Honorary Golden Bear for Ken Loach". Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  60. ^ "Ken Loach gets lifetime award in Berlin". BBC News. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 


See also


  • Catherine ("Teletale", 1964)
  • Z-Cars (series episodes, 1964)
  • Diary of a Young Man (series, 1964)
  • Tap on the Shoulder (The Wednesday Play, 1965)
  • Wear a Very Big Hat (The Wednesday Play, 1965)
  • Three Clear Sundays (The Wednesday Play, 1965)
  • Up the Junction (The Wednesday Play', 1965)
  • The End of Arthur's Marriage (The Wednesday Play', 1965)
  • The Coming Out Party (The Wednesday Play', 1965)
  • Cathy Come Home (The Wednesday Play', 1966)
  • In Two Minds (The Wednesday Play', 1967)
  • The Golden Vision (The Wednesday Play', 1968)
  • The Big Flame (The Wednesday Play', 1969)
  • The Rank and the File (Play for Today, 1971)
  • After a Lifetime ("Sunday Night Theatre", 1971)
  • A Misfortune ("Full House", 1973)
  • Days of Hope (serial, 1975)
  • The Price of Coal (1977)
  • The Gamekeeper (1980)
  • Auditions (1980)
  • A Question of Leadership (1981)
  • The Red and the Blue: Impressions of Two Political Conferences - Autumn 1982 (1983)
  • Questions of Leadership (1983/4, untransmitted)
  • Which Side Are You On? (1985)
  • End of the Battle... Not the End of the War ("Diverse Reports", 1985)
  • Time to Go ("Split Screen", 1989)
  • The View From the Woodpile (1989)
  • The Arthur Legend ("Dispatches", 1991)
  • The Flickering Flame (1996)
  • Another City: A Week in the Life of Bath's Football Club (1998)



In 2014 he was presented with the Honorary Golden Bear at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival.[59][60]

He received the 2003 Praemium Imperiale (lit. "World Culture Prize in Memory of His Imperial Highness Prince Takamatsu") in the category Film/Theatre.

Loach has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Bath, the University of Birmingham, Staffordshire University, and Keele University.[57] Oxford University awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in June 2005. He is also an honorary fellow of his alma mater, St Peter's College, Oxford.[58] In May 2006, he was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship at the BAFTA TV Awards.

It's all the things I think are despicable: patronage, deferring to the monarchy and the name of the British Empire, which is a monument of exploitation and conquest. I turned down the OBE because it's not a club you want to join when you look at the villains who've got it.[56]

Loach turned down an OBE in 1977. In a Radio Times interview, published in March 2001, he said:


Radical feminist Julie Bindel has criticised Loach's films for a lack of female characters and argued that women rarely appear in Loach's films except for as love interests for the male characters.[54] Bindel also wrote, "Loach appears not to know gay people exist".[54] However, his early work Poor Cow was praised for "unusual sensitivity to a woman's point of view".[55]

Loach was criticised for his call for a boycott of the 2009 Edinburgh Film Festival if it showed a film by Tali Shalom-Ezer, who had accepted £300 from the Israeli embassy for travel expenses.[53] An editorial in The Scotsman noted that Loach had not called for the same boycott of the Cannes Film Festival, where his film was in competition with some Israeli films. [53]

His films Hidden Agenda and The Wind That Shakes The Barley have been criticised as being too sympathetic to the Irish Republican Army and Provisional Irish Republican Army.[2] Conservative MP Ivan Stanbrook referred to Hidden Agenda as "the IRA entry at Cannes".[52] In the case of the latter film, Loach was criticised for taking public money from the UK Film Council to make a film that sided with the IRA against the UK.[2] The Daily Mail wrote an article entitled, "Why does Ken Loach loathe his country so much?".[52]

During the 1960s, Grace Wyndham Goldie, the BBC's head of Talks (i.e. non-fiction), complained that Loach appeared to be side-stepping the Corporation's normally stringent rules about political partisanship by using some documentary material in his fiction.[2]


Loach is a Patron of several charities, including Doorway, a homeless charity in Nuneaton,[50] and Developing Health and Independence (DHI) in Bath.[51]

Loach supports the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.[46][47][48] Loach has also expressed strong support for Chechen independence from Russia.[49]

In February 2013, Loach was among those who gave their support to the People's Assembly in a letter published by The Guardian newspaper.[45] He also gave a speech at the People's Assembly Conference held at Westminster Central Hall on 22 June 2013.

After Margaret Thatcher died in April 2013, Loach called for her funeral to be privatized and handed to the lowest bid, in memory of her economic policies.[44]

With the support of the activist Kate Hudson and academic Gilbert Achcar, Loach launched a campaign in March 2013 for a new left-wing party[43] which was founded as "Left Unity" on 30 November.

In November 2012, Ken Loach turned down the Turin Film Festival award, after learning that the National Museum of Cinema in Turin (Italy) has outsourced cleaning and security services. As a consequence, workers had been dismissed, while there had been allegations of intimidation and harassment. Some workers lost their jobs after opposing a wage cut.[42]

Loach supported the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the London Assembly election, 2012.[40] He wrote a letter to The Observer in 2012 condemning the Globe Theatre for allowing an Israeli theatre company to perform there.[41]

Together with John Pilger and Jemima Khan, Ken Loach was among the six people in court willing to offer surety for Julian Assange when he was arrested in London on 7 December 2010.[37] In a recent interview with ShortList[38] magazine he said "It’s clear that he’s being set up. Clearly the Yanks want to get him back and either imprison him for a long time, or worse. We need a bit of solidarity with someone who has just told us things that we were entitled to know." The bail money was lost in June 2012 when a judge ordered it to be forfeited, as Assange had sought to escape the jurisdiction of the English courts by entering the London embassy of Ecuador.[39]

Loach, Laverty and O'Brien subsequently wrote that: "We feel duty bound to take advice from those living at the sharp end inside the occupied territories. We would also encourage other filmmakers and actors invited to festivals to check for Israeli state backing before attending, and if so, to respect the boycott. Israeli filmmakers are not the target. State involvement is. In the grand scale of things it is a tiny contribution to a growing movement, but the example of South Africa should give us heart".[36]

In June 2009, Loach, Paul Laverty (writer) and Rebecca O'Brien (producer) pulled their film Looking For Eric from the Melbourne International Film Festival, where the Israeli Embassy is a sponsor, after the festival declined the withdraw their sponsorship.[34] The festival's chief executive, Richard Moore, compared Loach's tactics to blackmail, stating that "we will not participate in a boycott against the State of Israel, just as we would not contemplate boycotting films from China or other nations involved in difficult long-standing historical disputes.” Australian lawmaker Michael Danby also criticised Loach’s tactics stating that “Israelis and Australians have always had a lot in common, including contempt for the irritating British penchant for claiming cultural superiority. Melbourne is a very different place to Londonistan.”[35]


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