LONDON — The film industry veteran and serial entrepreneur Charles Finch can’t kick his addiction to the printed word.
That’s one reason why he’s launching a magazine this week called A Rabbit’s Foot, with stories about film, art, culture and “confessions” from actors, writers and directors. It’s an insider’s look at the industry from a current, historical and international perspective.
Chunky, pocket-sized and packed with long reads, the triannual is aimed at cinéastes of all ages and backgrounds and those who are curious about the people behind the lens as well as the on-screen talent.
In his Editor’s Note, Finch says he wants to “broaden the canvas, and explore and discuss the wider cultural implications” of film and its power to influence the popular conversation. Issue 01 is titled “Cannes 2022” and will be unveiled on Wednesday during the second week of the festival.
The debut cover features a picture of French New Wave pioneer Jean-Luc Godard photographed by Brigitte Lacombe under the glare of lights at Cannes in 1975. Features include a Q&A with Wes Anderson about what fires him up and a photo essay of Lacombe’s images of actors and directors including Isabelle Huppert, Michael Caine and Werner Herzog at the festival in 1975.
There’s also an interview with Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, whose film “Les Amandiers” is in competition at the festival; an in-conversation with Huppert, and a Q&A with Makita Samba, part of an ensemble of young actors in Jacques Audiard’s “Paris, 13th District.” In another piece, the writer-director Nicolas Saada discusses his lifelong admiration for François Truffaut.
It’s the very opposite of snackable content and that’s just how Finch likes it.
“I’m not trying to sell masses of advertising, I’m not trying to become a billionaire, and I do think there is an audience out there that still goes to book shops and sees independent cinema. These are also people who wear trainers and watch blockbuster films, too. I don’t think we have to conform,” said Finch in an interview, adding that he was inspired by titles such as The Paris Review and The Atlantic.
“There’s an artisanal nature to A Rabbit’s Foot, and it’s going to be done in a very bespoke, and handcrafted way” for its audience, he said. “We’re not doing it on an industrial scale,” added Finch. In his Editor’s Note, the Italophile describes the first issue as having a homemade, “fatto in casa,” feel.
Finch said the first-person stories and essays need to be “deeply personal,” while the writers should have ties to their subjects. In one story the actor Matthew Modine reminisces about working with Stanley Kubrick in “Full Metal Jacket,” while Nick Foulkes (who once edited the luxury lifestyle paper Finch’s Quarterly Review) examines gangster style in the new publication.
The three annual print editions of A Rabbit’s Foot will be pegged on festivals or awards seasons. The next issue is all about Italian film and will be released during the Venice Film Festival in September. The following one will focus on English-language films from England, Ireland, the U.S. and Australia and be tied to the awards season in January and February.
Finch is also planning special issues around subjects such as art, and automobiles and the roles they’ve played in various films.
He’s bankrolling the publication himself. The first-issue advertisers are Chanel, and there’s also a congratulatory ad from Jay Penske, chairman and chief executive officer of WWD’s parent PMC. In the acknowledgments, Finch also thanks his friend Penske, who encouraged him to pursue his magazine dream.
Issues cost 20 pounds each and 55 pounds for the three annual editions.
The publication’s name comes from “A Moveable Feast,” where Ernest Hemingway describes a worn-out rabbit’s foot that still has the power to banish anxiety and bring good luck. Finch is hoping his new title will do both for himself and his readers.
A Rabbit’s Foot will also have online and Instagram iterations, with updates on soon-to-be-released films and profiles of filmmakers. Finch said that online and offline, the tone will always be genuine, engaged and interested. He has no interest in being flippant or nasty. “It’s so easy for people to criticize and go for clickbait,” he said.
Even with the digital elements, the soul of this publication will always be print.
Asked why he decided to give print another go (he eventually closed Finch’s Quarterly Review) and add a magazine to his day jobs in film production; hospitality, and marketing and communications, Finch said he couldn’t resist.
“I’ve always been kind of been a frustrated publisher and I miss ink greatly. I felt there was room in the movie business to have a title that was really dedicated to film and culture and where the two meet, something that didn’t have the same kind of immediacy as business-to-business news,” he said.
Finch said he’ll always be bound to the written word. “Without it, there are no movies,” he said.