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Woolley, Stephen (1956-)


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Co-founder of Palace Pictures and Scala Productions with Nik Powell, short, pony-tailed, working-class producer Stephen Woolley was one half of perhaps the most dynamic duo in British films from the mid 1980s.

His passion for the movies from childhood led him first to selling tickets at the Islington Screen on the Green, then to writing for trendy entertainment guide Time Out, before being hired first by The Other Cinema, a left-wing collective short on marketing energy, then with the Scala cinema as programme director.

In 1982 he and Powell founded Palace Pictures, as first a distribution company for video; they then went into production and scored some major successes during the years up to 1992, the year of their international, BAFTA and Oscar-winning hit, The Crying Game (d. Neil Jordan, 1992).

After the collapse of Palace, he and Powell reformed ranks as Scala Productions and had success with such films as Little Voice (UK/US, d. Mark Herman, 1998) and succès d'estime with TwentyFourSeven (d. Shane Meadows, 1997). In 1999, he co-produced The End of the Affair (UK/Germany/US, d. Neil Jordan) for his own company and in 2000 executive-produced the football flick, Purely Belter (d. Mark Herman, 2000). Tenacity has paid off for Woolley.

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Cinema

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Neil Jordan's unlikely romance set in a vicious world of pimps and prostitutes

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