Inside Story: In the right direction - the cream of Britain's television directing talent
The cream of Britain's television directing talent met last week to set up Directors UK, aimed at protecting their rights and influence over the production process. The Independent was there to see them in action
Monday 16 June 2008
Stuart Orme, (The Heist, Goodbye Mr Chips, Cold Blood)
After running a fringe theatre and writing a musical, Orme directed music videos for the likes of Phil Collins and Whitney Houston. His first film drama was The Fear in 1987, followed by his first feature, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. After going to America to make HBO movie, The Heist, and Robert Heinlein's The Puppetmasters for Disney, he returned to the UK to make television, including The Sculptress and Goodbye, Mr. Chips featuring Martin Clunes. More recently directed Colditz and Cold Blood series for Granada Television.
Peter Kosminsky, 51, (Britz, The Project, The Government Inspector)
A BBC trainee he worked in current affairs as a director on Nationwide and Newsnight before moving to Yorkshire Television in 1985. He made a series of hard-hitting documentaries including The Falklands War – The Untold Story and Shoot to Kill. Switching to drama, he has directed award-winning productions including No Child of Mine, about child sex abuse, and Warriors, about traumatised British soldiers. He has also directed the feature films Wuthering Heights, with Ralph Fiennes.
Simon Curtis, 48, (Cranford, Five Days, David Copperfield)
Curtis started out at the Royal Court Theatre where his productions included the world premiere of Road by Jim Cartwright and A Lie of the Mind by Sam Shepard. He joined the BBC as executive producer of performance and produced many films and television shows. As a director his credits include Lee Hall's The Student Prince, David Copperfield, Patrick Hamilton's Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky and Freezing, a comedy for BBC Two, the Golden Globe nominated Five Days (HBO/BBC) and the Bafta-winning Cranford.
Tim Sullivan, 50, (Thatcher The Final Days, 26point2)
He began his career as a scriptwriter with the film-maker Derek Jarman before joining Granada TV as a researcher. He later became a director and his production credits at Granada included Coronation Street, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes and Thatcher: The Final Days with Sylvia Syms. Recently he directed Catwalk Dogs for ITV. Currently, he is developing a multi- strand movie based on the London Marathon entitled 26point2 which he will direct and is being produced by Roger Michell and Kevin Loader.
Simon Berthon, 57, (Warlords, Nuremberg: Goering's Last Stand)
Among his award-winning programmes are Nuremberg: Goering's Last Stand (Bafta Huw Wheldon), Age of Terror (Broadcast Award), and 10 Days to D-Day (Emmy). One of his specialties is 20th-century history. His recent series, Warlords was variously described by the British quality newspapers as "excellent", "brilliant", "outstanding" and "gripping". A former deputy editor of ITV's World In Action he was originator and founding editor of ITV's The Big Story. He is chairman and creative director of 3BM Television.
Matt Lipsey, 47, (Little Britain, Saxondale)
He has worked with a multitude of talented actors and comedians in television, film and commercials. In 2007 Matt filmed Jekyll for BBC/BBC America, a drama series starring James Nesbitt. A feature film he co-wrote with Steve Speirs, Caught in the Act, has just finished post production. Last summer's Pimms commercials and the recent Ladbrokes and McDonald's campaigns were Lipsey's work. He is currently filming a comedy series for BBC2, The Cup. He won a Bafta for Best Comedy Series for the second series of Little Britain.
Tom Roberts, 56, (Inside the Mind of a Suicide bomber, In Tranzit)
The founder of October Films is one of the leading documentary directors of his generation and many of his films represent landmarks in the history of UK documentaries. Has won more than 35 personal international awards and nominations. Outstanding work includes 2005's Company of Soldiers, 2003's Inside the Mind of a Suicide Bomber, and 2000's Staying Lost. He recently wrote and directed the feature film In Tranzit, a $6m (£3m) UK/Russian co-production starring John Malkovich.
Ursula Macfarlane, 47, (Breaking Up With the Joneses, The Choice)
Macfarlane has been directing documentaries, docu-dramas since 1996, mainly for Channel 4 and BBC 2. Her latest documentary is The Choice, a BBC2 film about abortion. Her feature documentary Breaking Up With the Joneses for Channel 4 – a portrayal of the break-up of a marriage told from both sides – gained four Bafta nominations and was described by C4 former head of documentaries Angus Macqueen as "one of the standout films of the year".
David Richards, 58, (Witness)
A fine art graduate, David has gone on to direct drama for all the main UK broadcasters, beginning with studio-based soap operas and moving on to film dramas which have won commercial and critical success. In 2006 David wrote Witness an original thriller about the destructive relationship between a lawyer and his client. He co-wrote The Godson with Paul Abbott. He is currently writing a film script based on the rise and fall of Sir Freddie Laker's airline Laker Airways for HBO.
Susanna White, 47, (Bleak House, Jane Eyre, Generation Kill)
Bafta award-winning director most recently lead directed HBO's upcoming Generation Kill, a seven-parter about a unit of young Marines in the American military assault on Baghdad. The drama is based on the award-winning book of the same name by Evan Wright. Susanna won widespread praise in 2005 for her direction of six episodes of the BBC's Bleak House based on Charles Dickens' novel, winning a Bafta for Best Drama Serial and the RTS Award for Best Drama Serial.
Paul Greengrass, 52, (Omagh, Bloody Sunday, The Bourne Supremacy)
Recent feature films include The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93 and The Bourne Supremacy. He is finishing Green Zone for Universal Pictures starring Matt Damon. Greengrass got noticed in Hollywood in 2002 when he made Bloody Sunday. Before that he wrote and directed for television. His credits include Omagh, The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, The Fix and The One That Got Away. Greengrass began his career on Granada's World in Action.
Charles Sturridge, 56, (Brideshead Revisited, Gulliver's Travels, Longitude, Shackleton)
His early television work included Coronation Street and World in Action, but then in 1981 he directed Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, which won 17 international awards. His television work includes A Foreign Field and Gulliver's Travels. He wrote and directed Longitude. He directed the multi-award winning Shackleton made with producer Selwyn Roberts. His film work includes Runners, A Handful of Dust and Where Angels Fear to Tread.
James Hawes, 44, (Doctor Who, The Bill, Fanny Hill)
His first full-length documentary, The Earth In Balance, was written and presented by Prince Charles. He left the BBC to go freelance and worked on The Bill and the first series of Holby City. His passion for historical films led him to make Egypt's Golden Empire, The Copper Scroll and Lawrence of Arabia – Battle for The Arab World. He directed the re-launched Dr Who, winning a Bafta. Single films for the BBC include Marie Lloyd, The Chatterley Affair, and Fanny Hill.
Benetta Adamson, 56, (Thalidomide: Life at 40, Coast of Dreams)
She has been working in factual programming for 20 years. One of her earlier and successful programmes was Channel 4's Coast of Dreams, which pulled in an audience of nearly 8 million. Adamson has worked on BBC1's Inside Story, Pet Rescue and Children's Hospital. In 2002 she was offered her first "long-form documentary" for BBC2, marking the 40th anniversary of the withdrawal of Thalidomide. The documentary was nominated for a Bafta for best documentary and a Broadcast Award.
David Yates, 45, (State of Play, Sex Traffic, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
David's prolific television work has included State of Play, which won the Directors Guild of Great Britain Award and three Baftas. Then the powerful two-part drama Sex Traffic. He directed The Girl in the Café, which won three Emmys and a Bafta. David took over the Harry Potter franchise with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince is next, followed by two final films of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow.
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