Steve McQueen Awarded BFI Fellowship


The BFI and BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express, today announces that Steve McQueen, the visionary Turner Prize-winning video artist and Oscar-winning producer, director and screenwriter will receive its highest accolade, the BFI Fellowship. The presentation will take place at the BFI London Film Festival’s annual Awards Ceremony on Saturday 15 October at Banqueting House.

Josh Berger CBE, Chair of the BFI, said:

“As winner of both the Turner Prize and an Academy Award®, Steve is pre-eminent in the world of film and the moving image. He is one of the most influential and important British artists of the past 25 years and his work, both short and long-form, has consistently explored the endurance of humanity – even when it is confronted by inhumane cruelty – with a poetry and visual style that he has made his own. We are thrilled that Steve is to become a BFI Fellow.”

Steve McQueen, commented

“I first walked into the BFI library and cinema 28 years ago. To think that I will now be a Fellow and honorary member, with such a distinguished list of people, is mind-blowing. I’m humbly honoured.”

The BFI Fellowship is the highest accolade the BFI Board of Governors can bestow, and at this year’s Festival it is awarded to Steve McQueen in recognition of his outstanding contribution to film culture, showcased in his range of artworks and three multi-award-winning features, Hunger (LFF 2008), Shame (LFF 2011) and 12 Years a Slave (LFF 2013).

Each year at the LFF Awards Ceremony a BFI Fellowship is bestowed on a film luminary. Previous BFI Fellowships have been presented at the ceremony to Cate Blanchett in 2015, Stephen Frears in 2014, the late Sir Christopher Lee in 2013, Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter in 2012, and David Cronenberg & Ralph Fiennes in 2011. Most recently, in February this year, Hugh Grant was also awarded the BFI Fellowship.

Steve McQueen (born London 1969) is a British artist and filmmaker. In 1996 he was the recipient of an ICA Futures Award, in 1998 he won a DAAD artist’s scholarship to Berlin and in 1999, as well as exhibiting at the ICA and at the Kunsthalle in Zürich, he won the Turner Prize.  In 2003, McQueen was appointed ‘Official War Artist’ for the Iraq war by the Imperial War Museum and produced the poignant and controversial project Queen and Country, which is still ongoing.  He has exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, The Museum of Modern Art, Documenta X and XI, and, as well as exhibiting in numerous Venice Biennales, he represented Britain in the Biennale in 2009.  His work is held in museum collections around the world, and a retrospective of his work was recently exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Schaulager in Basel.  He was awarded the OBE in 2002 and the CBE in 2011.

In 2008, McQueen’s critically-acclaimed first feature, Hunger, won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and countless other international prizes.  His second feature Shame, starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, won two Best Film awards when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2011, as well as winning Michael Fassbender the Volpi Cup for Best Actor.  It is the second highest grossing NC-17-rated movie in US history.  His third film, 12 Years A Slave, was adapted from a memoir by Solomon Northup.  Released in 2013, the film boasted a cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt.  The film has received numerous prizes, most notably winning three Academy Awards including the award for Best Picture.  McQueen is the first black director or producer to receive this honour.

David Brent Life On The Road Review

The Plot

A camera crew catches up with David Brent (Ricky Gervais), the former star of The Office, as he now fancies himself a rockstar on the road.

The Good

Ricky Gervais’ most infamous creation returns to our screens and is bigger and better than ever in a new mockumentary that follows everyone’s favourite manager as he attempts to make it big in the music industry. It’s been thirteen years since The Office left our television screens but David Brent is still the same hilariously cringy character we know and love. Now working as a sales rep, Brent decides to use all his savings including his pension to take his band, Forgone Conclusion on the road for a tour.

As usual, Gervais’ writing is spot on with a constant stream of laughs from the very beginning. Part of this genius is in the songs which Brent performs himself with hilariously factual lyrics such as ‘Slough’  (‘equidistant ‘tween London and Reading’) and Native American’ (‘We’re more like west eurasians crossed with Siberians’). Each song drips with Brent’s trademark awkwardness.

Where the film works best however, is in its heartbreakingly funny scenes. Brent was always a character who was just devastatingly funny and it’s no different here. Whether he’s being kicked off his own tour bus to follow behind alone in his car, or having to pay his band to hang out for a post-gig drink, Gervais manages to tread the line of humour and empathy perfectly.

It’s not all about Brent though. Doc Brown gives a wonderful performance as Dom, Brents long-suffering rapper for the band who is brought on stage to accentuate certain songs thanks to his ethnic background. Not only is Brown a fantastic rapper, he also gets plenty of chances to showcase his acting skills as he puts up with Brent.

The Bad

As fun as it is however, Life On The Road does hit some bumps along the way especially towards its final third. Gervais’ directing style tries to stay true to its mockumentary origins but often slips into certain shots that just don’t fit the aesthetic. There’s also at least one slight glimmer of Gervais projecting a touch of Derek, his last TV character which, if you manage to spot it, can take you out of the film for a brief moment.

The Ugly Truth

Gervais brings some genuinely heartwarming moments and sidesplittingly hilarious ones to David Brent’s big screen outing. While there are issues with the films overall style, the substance is often more than enough to make you forget about it pretty quickly. Frankly though, it’s worth the price of admission for the soundtrack alone.

Review by Johnny Ellis

Jared Leto Joins Blade Runner 2

The long awaited sequel to Blade Runner is already filming with Harrison Ford returning to the role of Rick Deckhard but that hasn’t stopped the cast list from opening up for one extra slot in the form of Suicide Squad’s Jared Leto. He’ll be joining the aforementioned Ford as well as an already full cast list including the likes of Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright and Dave Bautista to name a few, for the as-yet untitled sequel which is due out October 6 2017. Details on the plot and characters, including Leto’s have not been revealed yet but what we do know so far is that Ridley Scott is producing the film which Denis Villeneuve is directing from a script by Michael Green and Hampton Fancher, and it will be set decades after the original.

More news as we get it but for now you can find Jared Leto in Suicide Squad.

Lost Boys TV Show in Development

Warner Bros Television have announced that they are currently working on a TV series based on 1987’s The Lost BoysiZombie’s Rob Thomas is lined up to write and produce the show which will be a reimagining of Joel Schumacher’s cult hit which starred Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland and Corey’s Haim and Feldman. While details on the plot are scarce at the moment, Deadline reports that “This version is being envisioned as a seven-season arc. It will tell a story spanning 70 years, each season chronicling a decade. Season one will be set in San Francisco during the Summer Of Love, 1967. Each season, the humans, the setting, the antagonist and the story all change – only the vampires, our Lost Boys, like the Peter Pan characters who never grow up, remain the same.’

If this turns out to be true it looks set to be a unique take on the vampire story concept, with perhaps an anthology style akin to shows like American Horror Story and True Detective. More news as always, as we get it.

Lights Out Review

The Plot

When her little brother, Martin (Gabriel Bateman) experiences the same events that once tested her sanity, Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother, Sophie (Maria Bello).

The Good

Based on the short film of the same name, Lights Out expands the terrifying idea of an entity which can only be seen in the shadows when the lights are out and brings with it an often touching plot which explores themes of depression. David F Sandberg gives a technically brilliant piece of filmmaking in this, his feature length debut which uses its lighting in an impressive and terrifying way. Whenever the lights are off, you will undoubtedly find yourself searching, Where’s Wally style for any ominous shadow that could potentially be lurking in the background.

Perhaps the best use of this comes in Rebecca’s room which is has a flashing neon Tattoo parlor sign constantly flicking on and off bathing the room in blood red between brilliantly effective cuts of the shadowy adversary scratching on the floor menacingly. The plot, which centres around Rebecca and Martin as the latter starts to experience a spine-tingling home environment trapped alone with his mother and her apparent friend lurking in the shadows, is heightened by the wonderful performances from the two leads who have a truly believable chemistry as brother and sister. The idea of Martin’s problems at home echoing that of Rebecca’s childhood is put to work in a brilliantly effective flashback showing a young Rebecca’s experience. With Martin not having yet given up on his mother and determined to help her unlike Rebecca who has not kept in contact since moving out is a juxtaposition that works well and advances and adapts as the story moves forwards in a realistic way.

The Bad

It’s a shame then, to see that the film relies far too heavily on jump scares in order to amp up the horror. This wouldn’t be much of a problem were it not for the jarring use of music in order to make the jumps bigger. Fortunately the method appears to die down a bit in it’s latter half but the damage is already done. It’s especially disappointing because the concept works incredibly well and could have been just as effective, if not more so without the soundtrack added in.

The Ugly Truth

A brilliant concept and interesting storyline, with some effective use of the theme of depression is lessened ever so slightly by it’s adamant use of jump scares in such a typical way. Lights Out is still effective throughout but tends to work best through its use of lighting rather than its soundtrack.

Review by Johnny Ellis