Patrons

Mike Figgis

Mike Figgis has roots in experimental theatre and music; two primary influences that contribute to the creative vision found throughout his feature films and documentaries. Over the course of his career, Figgis has emerged as a visionary filmmaker who thrives on taking artistic risks. Although he has been at the helm of mainstream movies such as Internal Affairs, the British filmmaker has exhibited his more eclectic personal style in films such as Stormy Monday and Liebestraum, a dark thriller for which Kim Novak came out of retirement to star. In 1996, Figgis achieved international critical acclaim for Leaving Las Vegas, which he wrote, directed and scored, receiving two Academy Award nominations. Figgis has frequently pursued personal projects and has never been afraid of exploring new territory, turning his hand to documentaries in 1994 with On Liberty; the art of interviewing, with the series Hollywood Conversations; and also digital experimentation, with the groundbreaking Timecode released to considerable critical acclaim in 2000 and continues to be shown around the world. Figgis continues to push the boundaries of digital filmmaking, most recently with Hotel, shot in Venice at the beginning of 2001 in just six weeks and with two books on the subject. Meanwhile, he has made documentaries, such as The Battle Of Orgreave; features such as Cold Creek Manor; and is involved in a wide range of projects, from masterclasses to sound and image installations.

Tom Hollander

Tom Hollander grew up in Oxford, went to school locally and read English Literature at Cambridge. As a boy he was a member of the National Youth Theatre and the National Youth Music Theatre. While at university, he was a member of the Cambridge Footlights Revue, and played a much-celebrated Cyrano De Bergerac at the Arts Theatre, directed by Sam Mendes.
His early career was primarily theatre based. Film credits include: Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel And Lawrence, Enigma, Possession, The Lawless Heart and Gosford Park. 
Recent projects include: King George V in Stephen Poliakoff's landmark BBC drama The Lost Prince, Cambridge Spies also for the BBC, Paparazzi for Icon Productions in LA and Richard Eyre's Compleat Female Stage Beauty. Tom is currently appearing at the Donmar Warehouse in John Osborne's The Hotel In Amsterdam with Olivia Williams.

Adrian Lester

Adrian Lester shows himself to be one of the most versatile actors in the UK. Lester trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and soon became one of the most celebrated actors in the West End.  His extensive theatre experience has included major roles in Sweeney Todd, Company, As You Like It, Six Degrees Of Separation, Kiss Of The Spider Woman, A Winter's Tale, A Midsummer Night's Dream and has garnered countless awards and nominations. Lester also received critical acclaim for an impressive portrayals of Henry V at the National Theatre, directed by Nicholas Hytner, and Hamlet at the Bouffes Du Nord, directed by Peter Brook.Lester’s international movie career was launched after director Mike Nichols offered him the lead role of Henry in the blockbuster Primary Colors, alongside John Travolta, Emma Thompson and Kathy Bates. Since then Lester has enjoyed a series of diverse and successful roles on the big screen including; Maybe Baby, Day After Tomorrow, Born Romantic, Love's Labour's Lost, Dust, Final Curtain, Scenes Of A Sexual Nature, As You Like It, Doomsday, Best and hard hitting award winning TV drama Storm Damage. Amongst his latest projects are CASE 39 alongside Renee Zellwegger, Starting Out In The Evening alongside Frank Langella.After receiving critical acclaim for his work on stage and on the big screen, Lester became a household name playing Mickey ‘Bricks’ Stone in the hit con drama Hustle (BBC1) and has since guest starred in other series, Ghost Squad and Empire's Children both for Ch 4,  Bonekickers, Ballet Shoes and Being Human for the BBC, and Sleep With Me a feature length production for ITV.   

Ken Loach

Ken Loach was born in 1936 in Nuneaton. He attended King Edward VI Grammar School and went on to study law at St. Peter's Hall, Oxford. After a brief spell in the theatre, Loach was recruited by the BBC in 1963 as a television director. This launched a long career directing films for television and the cinema, from Cathy Come Home and Kes in the sixties to Land And Freedom, Sweet Sixteen and The Wind That Shakes The Barley in recent years.

Ewan McGregor

Ewan McGregor is best known for his film roles in The Pillow Book, Trainspotting, Emma, Brassed Off, Nightwatch, A Life Less Ordinary, Velvet Goldmine, Rogue Trader, The Star Wars Trilogy, Moulin Rouge, Black Hawk Down, Young Adam, Down With Love, Big Fish, Scenes Of A Sexual Nature, Miss Potter, Cassandra’s Dream, Deception, Incendiary. He has also starred on the West End stage in Othello and in Guys and Dolls. Upcoming projects include Angels and Demons, I Love You Phillip Morris, Amelia and Men Who Stare At Goats. In 2002 he received the Variety Award at the British Independent Film Awards and in 2003 was nominated for Best Actor for his performance in Young Adam.

Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren, an actress whose career has encompassed many notable roles in theatre, television and film; most notably The Queen for which she won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and many other accolades for her performance. Her recent work includes in television 'Elizabeth 1' for which she won an Emmy and a Golden Globe and 'Prime Suspect V11' for which she also won an Emmy, in the theatre 'Mourning Becomes Electra' and 'Phedre' at the National Theatre.
Helen's recent film work includes Gosford Park, Calendar Girls, Inkheart and State Of Play ; The Last Station is due for release shortly. She is currently filming Brighton Rock directed by Rowan Joffe. She was appointed a Dame of the British Empire in 2003. 
Photograph by Giles Keyte

Samantha Morton

Samantha Morton has been hailed as one of the foremost actresses of her generation. Her career to date has seen her work with some of the most respected directors in the world and the diverse and often difficult choices of role she has made are reflected in the list of accolades including her Golden Globe for the role of Myra Hindley in Longford.At thirteen Morton joined Central Television’s Junior Workshop where she was quickly spotted and cast in early TV roles including Cracker and Peak Practice. Acclaimed theatre work followed with two award winning plays at London’s Royal Court Theatre and then a part in the award-winning TV drama Band of Gold. TV films Emma and Tom Jones led to her playing the title role in Robert Young’s acclaimed TV film Jane Eyre. Morton first came to the attention of International film audiences as Iris in Carine Adler’s harrowing Under The Skin. It was a role that earned her unanimous critical acclaim and the Boston Film Critics Award for Best Actress. Other critically acclaimed roles include the mute Hattie in Woody Allen’s Sweet And Lowdown for which she received both Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations as Best Supporting Actress; Sarah in Jim Sheridan’s In America for which she received her second Academy nomination for Best Actress; Claire in Roger Michell’s Enduring Love for which she received a British Independent Film Award Best Actress nomination and Deborah Curtis in Anton Corbijn’s multi award-winning film Control, earning a BAFTA nomination. She has also received a half–Lifetime achievement Award from Dennis Hopper’s ‘Cinevegas Film Festival’Notable film credits include Alison Maclean’s Jesus' Son, Julien Temple’s Pandemonium, Eric Styles Dreaming Of Joseph Lees, Amos Gitai’s Eden, Lynne Ramsay’s Morvern Callar, Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, Michael Winterbottom’s Code 46, River Queen, The Libertine, Lassie, Harmony Korine’s Mister Lonely, Charlie Kaufman’s Synedoche, The Daisy Chain, Expired and The Golden Age. Samantha is currently filming her directorial debut in a film she has written called The Unloved which will transmit on Channel 4 in May. 

James Nesbitt

On our 15th anniversary, it seems fitting for James Nesbitt to return to the role to which he always brings such characteristic wit and flair. A long time supporter of the British Independent Film Awards and a previous winner (Best Actor for Bloody Sunday, 2002), he is iconic not just at BIFA but also within the British indie film scene.

Notable for his charm and unmistakable Northern Irish accent, he got his breakthrough television role playing Adam Williams in smash hit comedy-drama Cold Feet (1997-2003), for which he picked up several accolades including a National Television Award and a British Comedy Award. Since then, we have enjoyed watching him in a wide variety of TV incarnations, especially Midnight Man (2008), Murphy’s Law (2003-2007) and Jekyll (2007). His latest series, British medical drama Monroe
, sees him play a brilliant and unusual neurosurgeon, Dr Gabriel Monroe – a flawed genius who never lets anyone forget those flaws.

Alongside his TV work, Nesbitt has also had a colourful career on the big screen, starring in a range of critically acclaimed films and working with respected directors such as Ralph Fiennes (Corialanus, 2011), Emilio Estevez (The Way, 2010), Oliver Hirschbiegel (Five Minutes of Heaven, 2009), Woody Allen (Matchpoint, 2005), Danny Boyle (Millions, 2004), Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday, 2002), Kirk Jones (Waking Ned, 1998) and Michael Winterbottom (Welcome To Sarajevo, 1997 / Jude, 1996 / Go Now, 1995), to name but a handful. 
Most recently, he has been cast as Bofur in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy (2012 - 2014) and admits; “I never thought I’d be playing a dwarf at the age of 45’.  

Michael Sheen

Michael Sheen is best known for film roles in Othello, Bright Young Things, Underworld, The Deal, Laws Of Attraction, Dirty Filthy Love, Kingdom Of Heaven, The Queen, Blood Diamond, Fantabulosa, The Damned United and Frost/Nixon. Before his film career, Sheen made a name for himself on London’s West End where he performed for almost a decade in his leading role in Amadeus, as well as roles in Look Back in Anger and Caligula. Upcoming projects include a starring role in Stephanie Meyer’s film adaption of New Moon and sequel to The Queen, Special Relationship, reprising his role as Tony Blair. In 2007, he received two BAFTA nominations for his performance in The Queen and Fantabulosa and in 2008, The Variety Award at the 11th British Independent Film Awards. This year, Sheen was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.

Trudie Styler

Trudie Styler is an actress, film producer, director, human rights activist, environmentalist, organic farmer and Unicef Ambassador.  Her passionate concerns for the environment and human rights motivate many of her career choices, and are reflected most clearly in her documentary films and fundraising activities. Trudie’s film credits with her production company Xingu Films include the documentaries Boys From Brazil (1993); IDA award-winning Moving The Mountain (1995); award-winning documentary on the making of a Walt Disney animation The Sweatbox (2002) which she co-directed; and A Kind Of Childhood (2002). Always the champion of first-time filmmakers, Trudie’s production credits include The Grotesque (1996), Guy Ritchie's first two films Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000) which she executive produced; Greenfingers (2001); Cheeky (2003); Alpha Male (2005); and A Guide To Recognize Your Saints (2006) which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, winning both the Directing Award for its writer/director Dito Montiel, and the Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Ensemble Performance.  2009 will see the Sony Classics release of the science fiction feature Moon, produced by Trudie and directed by first-time writer/director Duncan Jones. Commissioned by Glamour magazine, Trudie directed her first short film entitled Wait in the summer of 2005 in New York, and is scheduled to direct her first full-length feature in 2009, also in New York. 

Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton was awarded The Richard Harris Award at the 2005 British Independent Film Awards. She also won an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for her performance in Tony Gilroy’s Michael Clayton along side George Clooney. Ms. Swinton had earlier been a Golden Globe Award nominee for David Siegel and Scott McGehee’s The Deep End, which also brought her an Independent Spirit Award nomination.A native of Scotland, Ms. Swinton started making films with the English director Derek Jarman in 1985, with Caravaggio. They made several more films together, including The Last Of England, The Garden, War Requiem, Edward (for which she was named Best Actress at the 1991 Venice International Film Festival), and Wittgenstein, before Mr. Jarman’s death in 1994. She gained wider international recognition in 1992 with her portrayal of Orlando, under the direction of Sally Potter. Since then, her films have included Lynn Hershman-Leeson, Conceiving Ada And Teknolust (in four roles); Susan Streitfeld’s Female Perversions; John Maybury’s Love Is The Devil; Robert Lepage’s Possible Worlds; Danny Boyle’s The Beach; Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky; Spike Jonze’s Academy Award-winning Adaptation; David Mackenzie’s Young Adam (for which she was awarded Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film in 2003); Mike Mills’ Thumbsucker and Francis Lawrence’s Constantine; Béla Tarr’s The Man From London; Andrew Adamson’s two blockbuster The Chronicles of Narnia tales; Erick Zonca’s Julia; the Cohen Brothers’ Burn After Reading; David Fincher’s The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button; Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits Of Control and Broken Flowers and Luca Guadagnino’s Io Son Amore, a love story shot entirely in Italian and Russian.In 2008 Ms. Swinton launched the Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams film festival in her hometown of Nairn, Scotland, and is taking it to Beixing in March 2009.  

Meera Syal

Over the past decade, actress, comedienne, novelist and playwright, Meera Syal has become one of the most talented, exciting and experimental women in the media. Her award winning novels Anita & Me and Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee are loved by both critics and the public alike. Her hysterical but accurate portrayal of the Asian community in television shows such as Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at Number 42 have enthralled audiences of all ethnic backgrounds.
To date, she is the recipient of several major awards, including a British Comedy Award, RTS Award, (both for Goodness Gracious Me), a BAFTA, (for the short film, It's Not Unusual) and a MBE for her services to The Arts in a career that spans acting, comedy, novel and screenwriting and journalism. In 2001 she was awarded both the RIMA Media Personality of the year and the Asian Women of Achievement Chairman's Award.
Recently BAFTA nominated for her portrayal of Ummi in The Kumars At Number 42. Recent writing credits include: Bollywood Dreams, Anita & Me and Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee which she is currently adapting for a television series

David Thewlis

David’s breakthrough performance came in Mike Leigh’s Naked. Thewlis stars in two films soon to be released: The Lady, directed by Luc Besson, and Anonymous, directed Roland Emmerich. Other recent film work includes: London Boulevard, Mr Nice, Veronika Decides to Die, and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Thewlis also plays Professor Lupin in the Harry Potter films: The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows, parts 1 and 2. 
Other film credits include: The Inner Life of Martin Frost, The Omen, All the Invisible Children, The New World, The Kingdom of Heaven, Timeline, Gangster No. 1, Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?, Besieged, The Big Lebowski, Seven Years in Tibet, The Island of Dr Moreau, Total Eclipse, Dragonheart, Restoration, Black Beauty, The Trial, Resurrected, Vroom, Divorcing Jack, Short and Curlies and Life is Sweet. 
On television, Thewlis played the twin roles of Joe and Harry in The Street, for which he was nominated as Outstanding Actor in a TV Series Drama at the 2008 Monte Carlo TV Festival. Other TV credits include Dinotopia, Endgame, Dandelion Dead, Prime Suspect III, Frank Stubbs, Journey to Knock, Filipino Dreamgirls, Skulduggery, A Bit of a Do, Road, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and The Singing Detective. 
In theatre, Thewlis has starred in Sam Mendes’ The Sea at the Royal National Theatre, Max Stafford-Clark’s Ice Cream at the Royal Court, Buddy Holly at the Regal in Greenwich, Ruffian on the Stairs/The Woolley at Farnham, and Lady and the Clarinet at the Kings Head.Thewlis is also known for his work as a director.
His feature film Cheeky, was released by Guerilla Pictures in 2007, and his short film Hello, Hello, Hello, was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Short Film. Thewlis’ many achievements were recognised at the 2008 British Independent Film Awards when he received the Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film. 
His first novel “The Late Hector Kipling” was published in 2007 to great critical acclaim.

Ray Winstone

Ray Winstone's most memorable film credits include Scum, Quadrophenia, Sexy Beast and Nil By Mouth for which he won a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor and was BAFTA nominated. He has worked with some of the most prestigious directors including Anthony Minghella (Cold Mountain and Breaking & Entering), Martin Scorsese (The Departed and Hugo), Robert Zemeckis (Beowulf) and Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull). Television credits include award winning Henry VIII and Vincent (Granada/ITV) for which he won an International Emmy Award for Best Actor. Recent credits include the BBC three-part drama Great Expectations playing Magwitch, Snow White and the Huntsman opposite Charlize Theron and The Sweeney playing Regan. Ray also filmed Elfie Hopkins for his production company Size 9 Productions, due for release next year.  In 2007 Ray received the Richard Harris Award for outstanding contribution at the British Independent Film Awards.

Michael Winterbottom

Born in Blackburn, Lancashire, Michael Winterbottom studied English at Oxford.His films include Butterfly Kiss (Official Competition – Berlin Film Festival 1995); Jude (Director’s Fortnight – Cannes Film Festival 1996, Winner of Michael Powell Award – EIFF); Welcome to Sarajevo (Official selection - Cannes Film Festival 1998); I Want You (In Competition Berlin Film Festival 1998); Wonderland (In Competition - Cannes Film Festival, Winner of Best British Film – British Independent Film Awards 1999); The Claim (In Competition Berlin  Film Festival); 24 Hour Party People  (In Competition Cannes Film Festival 2002), In This World (Winner Golden Bear – Berlin International Film Festival 2003); Code 46 ( In Competition Venice Film Festival 2003);  9 Songs ( Best Cinematography – San Sebastian Film Festival 2004); A Cock and Bull Story (Toronto Film Festival 2005); Road to Guantanamo ( Silver Bear  Best Director – Berlin Film Festival 06); A Mighty Heart (Official Selection Cannes Film Festival 2007); Genova ( Best Director – San Sebastian Film Festival, 2008);  The Shock Doctrine ( Sundance Film Festival, 2009); The Killer Inside Me (In Competition – Berlin Film Festival 2010), The Trip (Toronto Film Festival 2010), Trishna, (Toronto Film Festival 2011).
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