Award Year

Our fifth Coolidge Award recipient was veteran British film producer Jeremy Thomas, whose creativity, intelligence, and business acumen embodies the Coolidge spirit.

The 5th Coolidge Award

Jeremy Thomas flew in from London in April 2008 for two days of Coolidge Award-related activities, which included:

  • A one-on-one conversation between Jeremy Thomas and local resident, Nicole Guillemet, who has been Co-Director of the Sundance Institute, a Director of the Sundance Festival, and head of the Miami International Film Festival.

  • The Coolidge Award Ceremony, which included live tributes from Thomas colleagues directors Nicolas Roeg and Julien Temple, actors Tim Roth and Debra Winger, and screenwriter Mark Peploe. Letters were read from colleagues who were unable to attend the event due to schedule conflicts, including a great actor and friend of Jeremy’s since they were teenagers, John Hurt.

  • A panel discussion featuring Thomas, Roeg, Roth, Winger and Peploe.

  • Repertory screenings included The Last EmperorBad TimingMerry Christmas, Mr. LawrenceThe Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Swindle, and Sexy Beast.

About Jeremy Thomas

Cinema has always been a part of Jeremy Thomas' life. He was born in London into a filmmaking family, his father, Ralph, and uncle, Gerald, both directors.  His childhood ambition was to work in cinema.  As soon as he left school he went to work in various positions, ending up in the cutting rooms working on films such as The Harder They Come, Family Life and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, and worked through the ranks to become a film editor for Ken Loach on A Misfortune.

After editing Philippe Mora's Brother Can You Spare a Dime, he produced his first film, Mad Dog Morgan, in 1974 in Australia.  He then returned to England to produce Jerzy Skolimowski's The Shout, which won the Grand Prix de Jury at the Cannes Film Festival.

Thomas' films are all highly individual and his independence of spirit has paid off both artistically and commercially.  His extensive output of over forty films includes three films directed by Nicolas Roeg: Bad Timing, Eureka and Insignificance; Julien Temple's The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle; Nagisa Oshima's Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence; and The Hit, directed by Stephen Frears.

In 1986 he produced Bernardo Bertolucci's epic, The Last Emperor, an independently financed project that was three years in the making.  A commercial and critical triumph, the film swept the board at the 1987 Academy Awards, garnering an outstanding nine Oscars including Best Picture.

Since The Last Emperor, Thomas has completed many films including Karel Reisz's film of Arthur Miller's screenplay Everybody Wins, Bertolucci's The Sheltering SkyLittle Buddha and Stealing Beauty, David Cronenberg's films of William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch and J.G. Ballard's Crash.  In 1997, he directed All The Little Animals, starring John Hurt and Christian Bale, which was in the official selection at the Cannes Film Festival.  Other recent credits include Jonathan Glazer's Sexy Beast, Takeshi Kitano's Brother, Phillip Noyce's Rabbit-Proof Fence, David Mackenzie's Young Adam, Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers, Terry Gilliam's Tideland, Wim Wenders' Don't Come Knocking and Richard Linklater's Fast Food Nation.

He was Chairman of the British Film Institute from August 1992 until December 1997 and has been the recipient of many awards throughout the world, including the Michael Balcon British Academy Achievement and the European Achievement in World Cinema, Prix Screen International, European Film Awards 2006.   He has been President of the jury at Tokyo, San Sebastian, Berlin Film Festival and Cannes (Un Certain Regard) and has also served on the main jury at Cannes. Thomas was made a Life Fellow of the British Film Institute in 2000.