Sea Power (1992)
Philip Jones, MD of Central’s distribution company CTE, introduced me to Leo Eaton of Maryland Public Television. Leo was in London struggling to put together a package for a six-part PBS series Sea Power.
What enticed me was what Leo wanted and what Philip had breezily assured him I could fix with the click of a finger - the permissions to film the Russian Navy in Vladivostok. Fix that and Philip would get the distribution rights to Sea Power and I would get the UK rights.
Philip was right about my be able to fix Vladivostok because it’s what the Ministry for State Cinematography (SBCA) joint venture I’d set up in Moscow with Goskino was conceived to do. I quickly handed the series over to (my) executive producer Roger James ‘to action’ and as quickly moved on.
Sea Power is included here not because the series was in anyway outstanding but because of a call Philip Jones got from Leo about the marketing. Leo had contacted the Pentagon to ask if they could arrange for a US battleship to stand off Cannes during MIPCOM, the television festival, as a publicity stunt.
The Pentagon had said no, No, NO, so Leo wondered if CTE could arrange for a Soviet battleship to visit Cannes?
It was too tempting.
See the front page of these summaries and the attached article, especially the pics, to get a glimpse of the fun we had when the Russian Navy officer training cruiser Khasan sailed into Cannes from Murmansk.
Rear Admiral Mickailovitch had been persuaded by the SBCA that this naval exercise would be a lot more educational than yet another voyage around the North Atlantic and the cost to the Russian Navy would be about the same.
As a bonus CTE provided the trainee naval officers with an extra set of uniforms, which they sold off during their day’s shore leave to happy festivalgoers and anyone else who happened to be strolling up and down the Promenade de la Croisette.
And the story reminds me of one of the many things I learnt from my famous dad, who was sent 743 rejection slips before publishing over 600 books.
Never take no (or even a "no, No, NO") for an answer.