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Stephen Frears to receive BFI Fellowship at London Film Festival (2014)

Stephen Frears directs Tamara Drewe

Story by Jack Foley

ACCLAIMED British director Stephen Frears will receive a BFI Fellowship – the highest accolade the UK’s lead organisation for film can bestow – at this year’s London Film Festival.

The ceremony will take place on Saturday, October 18, at Banqueting House ahead of the close of the 58th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express®.

A BFI Fellowship is awarded to individuals in recognition of their outstanding contribution to film or television.

BFI Chairman Greg Dyke said: “Throughout his extraordinary career, Stephen has produced a body of work which never fails to surprise – from sweeping costume drama to powerful social realism, his films strike a perfect balance between drama, humour and pathos helping to make them a hit with audiences and critics alike. He is one of the UK’s most important directors and we are delighted to honour him.”

Frears himself added: “I’ve spent much of my life in the cinema and quite a lot of it at BFI Southbank. I am thrilled by this Fellowship.”

Frears has always embraced a wide variety of styles, themes and genres.

He made his name in TV drama, working almost exclusively for the small screen in the first 15 years of his career with some of Britain’s finest writers, including David Hare, Alan Bennett, Tom Stoppard and Stephen Poliakoff.

In the mid 1980s he turned to the cinema, shooting The Hit (1984), starring Terence Stamp, John Hurt and Tim Roth. The following year he madeMy Beautiful Laundrette for Channel 4, which crossed over to big-screen audiences and altered the course of his career.

After directing its companion piece Sammy And Rosie Get Laid and the Joe Orton biopic Prick Up Your Ears, he began working in Hollywood, with Dangerous Liaisons and The Grifters (for which he was Oscar-nominated) among his most notable titles.

Returning closer to home, he directed The Snapper and The Van, two Irish films based on Roddy Doyle stories and after a second spell of making American films (The Hi-Lo Country, Accidental Hero and High Fidelity) based himself largely in Britain.

Frears showed his versatility with two vastly different movies: Dirty Pretty Things, a realistic account of immigrant life in London, and Mrs. Henderson Presents, a nostalgic backstage comedy-drama.

For his 2006 film The Queen he was again nominated for an Oscar®.

His subsequent films include Chéri, Tamara Drewe and Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, produced by HBO.

Frears’ most recent film, Philomena, was the American Express Gala at the LFF 2013; starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, the film won a BAFTA, and was nominated for three others, along with three Golden Globe and four Oscar® nominations.