Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Alan Parker donates career archive to BFI

Sir Alan Parker
Sir Alan Parker has donated his entire working archive to the BFI National Archive.  The collection covers over 45 years of filmmaking, from his early work as a commercials director for television, through to his career as an internationally renowned, award-winning director of films such as Bugsy Malone (1976) and Midnight Express (1978) to Mississippi Burning (1988) and Angela’s Ashes (1999) interspersed with a string of hugely popular musicals including Fame (1980), Pink Floyd - The Wall (1982), The Commitments (1991) and Evita (1996).

The Sir Alan Parker archive covers every period of his career, starting with his work as an advertising copywriter. All of his features are represented in the form of scripts, production papers, promotional materials, posters and Parker’s own filmmaking diaries. The archive also includes a collection of photographs and production stills, by photographers including Greg Williams, Mary Ellen Mark, Terry O'Neill and David Appleby.

Nathalie Morris, senior curator - special collections at the BFI, said, “This is an exceptionally rich archive charting the work of a British filmmaker who has had a hugely successful international career. Sir Alan Parker is one of several distinctive talents to emerge from a very particular place and moment – the British advertising industry of the late 60s and early 70s. His archive will provide a wealth of insights into his working process as a writer and director, as well enhancing our understanding of the film industry, and filmmaking, over the past 40 years. The BFI National Archive is delighted to be preserving this archive for the nation. We are incredibly grateful to Sir Alan for his generous donation.”

Parker said: “It seems that I’ve accumulated an awful lot of stuff over forty years of filmmaking and I can’t think of a better home for it that the BFI National Archive. As a past chairman of the BFI, I know how everything is so diligently cared for out at Berkhamsted and it’s good to know it’s in safe hands and will be available to future students of film.”

There are probably more than 100,000 photographs, bringing back many memories, he said. “We’ve been blessed with great photographers on our sets, so our films were incredibly well documented. I’ve always said that filmmaking is rarely glamorous: being up to your knees in pig poo is more the norm and the photos bear that out. Film crews are an eccentric, masochistic bunch and the photos and the mountain of paper that document a movie’s creation often show a less than sane bunch.”

Directing Madonna on the set of Evita
The collection, which comprises over 70 large document boxes, has been transported to the BFI National Archive at Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, where it will be stored in optimal archival conditions. Once catalogued, the archive will be open to the public, with selected material being digitised for access.

To mark this new acquisition, BFI Southbank will host a Focus on Sir Alan Parker from 24 September – 25 October 2015. Parker and producer David Puttnam (whose papers are also held by the BFI National Archive) have been friends since their days as advertising luminaries in the 60’s beginning their film careers together in the early 1970s.

Sir Alan Parker and Lord Puttnam Unplugged on Thursday 24 September will see the pair take to the stage to talk about working together in film, their friendship and their views on the film industry, past and present. The conversation event will be followed by a screening of Midnight Express (1978), directed by Parker and produced by Puttnam with an Oscar-winning screenplay by Oliver Stone.

Also screening as part of the focus will be Parker’s feature debut, the stylish and uplifting film for all ages Bugsy Malone (1976), starring Jodie Foster and Scott Baio. There will be a Family Funday screening on Sunday 4 October, complete with a Funday workshop in the BFI Foyer before the screening.

There will be two exhibitions at BFI Southbank as part of the focus, the first of which offers a peek into the newly acquired Alan Parker archive, spanning his career from his early work in advertising through to his most recent feature film work (Thu 24 September – Sun 25 October, Mezzanine).

The second exhibit The Cartoons of Alan Parker will run in the BFI Southbank Atrium from Fri 25 September – Mon 5 October and will showcase Parker’s infamous cartoon work. Parker began drawing cartoons 50 years ago when working as a copywriter at a small ad agency. “We had to turn out 10 ads a day,” he says, “so the most expedient method was to come up with an idea, a line, and draw a cartoon.”

British films do well as UK box office rises 10%

Jurassic World
The UK box office experienced a 10% rise in ticket sales in the first half of the year, compared to the same period in 2014. Around 83 million tickets have been sold so far this year, according research by the British Film Institute (BFI).

A total of 358 films were released in cinemas in the UK and the Republic of Ireland in the first half of the year. They grossed £591m, compared to £490m from 342 films over the same period last year.

The biggest earning film of the year so far is Jurassic World, which has grossed more than £57m and is still making money. The Avengers: Age of Ultron is in second place with £48m, Fast and Furious 7 in third with £38.5m and Fifty Shades of Grey in fourth on £35.1m. All these films earned more than the top-grossing film in the corresponding period in 2014 – The Lego Movie, which grossed £34.1m.

The market share of UK films was 32%, up from 26.8% last year, the highest share for UK films since 2012. The figures for UK films include joint UK-US productions such as The Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Theory of Everything, which made £21.5m.

The highest ranked independent British film was Aardman’s Shaun the Sheep Movie, which made £13.7m. The top 10 UK independents grossed a total of £42m in the first half of 2015, with titles including Thomas Hardy adaptation Far from the Madding Crowd (£6.1m), horror sequel The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (£5m) and Spooks: The Greater Good (£3.2m). In the same period last year the top 10 UK indies grossed £33.6m, so this year’s total is an improvement of £8.4m, or 25%.

The Shaun the Sheep Movie
Amanda Nevill, chief executive of the BFI, said: “UK audiences are continuing to flock to the cinemas, ensuring film continues to be a vibrant contributor to the economy "It is particularly exciting for the UK creative sector to see films made in the UK achieving a strong share of the UK box office market."

The BFI expects box office to be healthy over the next six months, with the likes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the James Bond film Spectre yet to released.

The BFI report also looked at film production in the UK. The first six months of the year has seen £594m spent on film production spread across 79 films. Inward investment has accounted for £518m of that figure, across 21 movies.
Domestic UK films budgeted at £500,000 and above have contributed £56m, across 24 films.

Nevill said: “At this stage of the year, the overall spend on film production is encouraging with a higher percentage of spend being made in the UK but with new productions in the pipeline and due to start filming in the coming months, the full year's statistics at year end will give us a fuller picture.”

The BFI also reveals that £279m has been spent so far this year on 30 high-end TV productions, including the final series of Downton Abbey and the third series of Endeavour.

The 100 best American films, according to the rest of the world

Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane was voted the best American film of all time by film critics from around the globe in a poll conducted by BBC Global. Orson Welles’ ground-breaking 1940 drama recounts the rise and fall of a newspaper magnate was the most respected in the poll.

Francis Ford Coppolla’s Mafia drama The Godfather and Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller Vertigo were places second and third respectively.

BBC Global said: “America’s films are among its greatest exports. Since Thomas Edison’s innovations in the medium in the 1890s, the United States has consistently been a powerhouse in the development of cinema – from the massively popular entertainments of Hollywood to independent and avant-garde film. In recognition of the astounding influence of the US on what remains the most popular art-form worldwide. This is a national film tradition that has influenced film-making worldwide, so we felt it was important, also, to get a global perspective on American film.”

BBC Culture has polled 62 international film critics to determine the 100 greatest American films of all time. The critics were encouraged to submit lists of films they feel, on an emotional level, are the greatest in American cinema. Each critic submitted a list of 10 films, with their pick for the greatest film receiving 10 points and their number 10 pick receiving one point. The points were added up to produce the final list.

For the purposes of this poll, any movie that received funding from a US source was counted as a US movie. The directors of these films did not have to be born in the United States – in fact, 32 films on the list were directed by filmmakers born elsewhere – nor did the films even have to be shot in the US.

The 100 greatest American films
  1. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
  2. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)

  3. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

  4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)

  5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)

  6. Sunrise (FW Murnau, 1927)

  7. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)

  8. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

  9. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)

  10. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)

  11. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)

  12. Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)

  13. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)

  14. Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975)

  15. The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)

  16. McCabe & Mrs Miller (Robert Altman, 1971)

  17. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)

  18. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)

  19. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)

  20. Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990)

  21. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

  22. Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924)

  23. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)

  24. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)

  25. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)

  26. Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1978)

  27. Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick, 1975)

  28. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)

  29. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)

  30. Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)

  31. A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes, 1974)

  32. The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941)

  33. The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)

  34. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)

  35. Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)

  36. Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)

  37. Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959)

  38. Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)

  39. The Birth of a Nation (DW Griffith, 1915)

  40. Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, 1943)

  41. Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959)

  42. Dr Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)

  43. Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948)

  44. Sherlock Jr (Buster Keaton, 1924)

  45. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1962)

  46. It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)

  47. Marnie (Alfred Hitchcock, 1964)

  48. A Place in the Sun (George Stevens, 1951)

  49. Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978)

  50. His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

  51. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)

  52. The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969)

  53. Grey Gardens (Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer, 1975)

  54. Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950)

  55. The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967)

  56. Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)

  57. Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woody Allen, 1989)

  58. The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940)

  59. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Miloš Forman, 1975)

  60. Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)

  61. Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)

  62. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

  63. Love Streams (John Cassavetes, 1984)

  64. Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954)
  65. The Right Stuff (Philip Kaufman, 1983)

  66. Red River (Howard Hawks, 1948)

  67. Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)

  68. Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946)

  69. Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1982)

  70. The Band Wagon (Vincente Minnelli, 1953)

  71. Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)

  72. Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976)

  73. The Shanghai Gesture (Josef von Sternberg, 1941)

  74. Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994)

  75. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977)

  76. The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980)

  77. Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939)

  78. Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

  79. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)

  80. Meet Me in St Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944)

  81. Thelma & Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991)

  82. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)

  83. Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)

  84. Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972)

  85. Night of the Living Dead (George A Romero, 1968)
  86. The Lion King (Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, 1994)

  87. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)

  88. West Side Story (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, 1961)

  89. In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950)

  90. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

  91. ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982)

  92. The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)

  93. Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973)

  94. 25th Hour (Spike Lee, 2002)

  95. Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)

  96. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)

  97. Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)

  98. Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino,1980)

  99. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013)

  100. Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951)