Danny Boyle. Director.
Chairman: Charles Collier
Despite the recession UK audiences are still flocking to cinemas, with the UK box office taking £1.17 billion last year. And thanks to the popularity of many UK television programmes in America, as well as films like the Harry Potter franchise making household names of many British stars, there has been a British invasion of Hollywood that shows no sign of subsiding. Our list celebrates the most influential and successful people in the industry, the actors, writers, directors, producers and distributors who are inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.
Charles Collier is a lawyer and agent. He is managing director and a founding partner of Tavistock Wood, one of Europe’s leading artist management agencies in the film, theatre, television and publishing industries. Charles was educated at Emmanuel College Cambridge and qualified as a lawyer with the law firm Allen & Overy before focusing his professional practice within the media and entertainment sector.
Sir Kenneth Branagh. Director, actor and producer.
Director, actor and producer Sir Kenneth Branagh has become one of the most influential directors in the world and is entrusted with huge signature movies for the US studios. Branagh balances this with his credentials as an art house film and theatre director. His impressive reputation for having bought Shakespeare to the masses with a string of film adaptations and leading roles has boosted Branagh’s influence. Having been encouraged out of Northern Ireland with his working-class protestant family during The Troubles, Branagh tasted acting amongst his peers in England as he affected a middle-class English accent to fit in with his friends. After years in the industry, he is quite simply now without rival as an actor-director.
Tessa Ross, CBE. Controller, film and drama at Channel 4 and Film 4.
Movie magnate Tess Ross is the power behind British film. As the controller of film and drama at Channel 4 and Film 4, her credits are phenomenal. Ross is a key player in the UK’s independent film world and Film 4-backed 12 Years a Slave recently won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama. It is also expected to well at the Academy Awards. Ross has brought huge prestige to Film 4 and has produced noteworthy titles such as Slumdog Millionaire, Billy Elliot, Four Lions and The Iron Lady. In 2013, Ross won a BAFTA for her Outstanding British Contribution to British Cinema in recognition of her successful career in film.
Barbara Broccoli, OBE. Producer.
Barbara Broccoli, who holds dual British-American citizenship, is one of the most powerful people in Hollywood. The daughter of the late Bond producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, she began working on Bond films at the age of 17 in the publicity department of The Spy Who Loved Me. Progressing through the ranks, she is now the producer for EON Productions and is credited with producing the James Bond films with her half-brother Michael G Wilson. The box office figures for the most recent Bond film, Skyfall, confirmed the films’ status as the most successful franchise in film history. Broccoli was appointed an OBE in the 2008 New Year's Honours list.
Michael G Wilson, OBE. Producer.
As the other half of the James Bond franchise, Michael G Wilson is Eon Production’s co-producer with his half-sister Barbara Broccoli. Unlike his sister’s background, which focused purely on film, Wilson took a more circuitous route into the industry studying engineering and then law at university. Practicing as a lawyer for a number of years, Wilson started to take on more responsibility with the film company in 1977. Ever since, he has been either the executive producer or producer on every Bond film made. Wilson also co-wrote five of the films made.
Danny Boyle. Director.
Danny Boyle was raised in a working-class Irish Catholic family, with his mother earmarking him for priesthood. However, at 14 a priest persuaded him not to pursue the calling, and now he is one of the UK’s most popular directors, known for films such as Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours. In 2009 Slumdog won eight Oscars, including Boyle being named Best Director. He is one of only seven directors to win the Golden Globe, BAFTA, Director's Guild and Academy Award for the same movie. Quite apart from his consistent success as one of Britain’s foremost directors, Boyle’s role at the helm of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics makes him talismanic and defined the director as a national hero.
Steve McQueen, CBE. Director.
Steve McQueen is the most influential auteur director working in the UK at present. As a video artist he won the Turner Prize in 1999, and his first feature film, Hunger, won him a BAFTA as the Most Promising Newcomer. He was also the first British director to win the Camera d’Or at Cannes. Also credited with Shame, the British film-maker was named Best Director by the New York Film Critics Circle for his most recent hard-hitting movie 12 Years a Slave in December 2013. In 2011, McQueen was appointed Commander of the British Empire for his services to the visual arts.
Patrick McKenna. CEO Ingenious Media.
Patrick McKenna is the financier and CEO of Ingenious Media, the largest investor in the UK creative economy. The son of a builder and a nurse, he left grammar school to train as an accountant and at the age of 28 was made senior partner at Touche Ross. He went on to lead Lord Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, where he understood the international value of its portfolio of hit musicals. In 1998 McKenna founded Ingenious Media, which targets TV and film businesses that are too small to interest the City, but big enough to make vast profits. It has gone on to back films such as Hot Fuzz, Avatar and Life of Pi. McKenna now is a huge force for investment across the sector.
Emma Thompson. Actress and writer.
Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson generates a huge amount of work for the UK. As a veteran of the Cambridge Footlights, Thompson is as much at home in front of the camera as she is as a screenwriter. She has won Oscars for Best Screenplay for Sense and Sensibility and Best Actress for Howard’s End and has also been nominated for numerous Golden Globes and BAFTAs for her starring roles and writing credits. Last year’s Saving Mr Banks sees Thompson earned her yet another nomination, for a Golden Globe for Best Actress – Drama. The success of her many films has given her huge prestige which will continue for years to come.
David Heyman. Producer.
Beginning his career as a production assistant, David Heyman has worked his way up to become the most successful film producer in Britain. He is responsible for the highest-grossing film franchise in history, the Harry Potter films, and boosted his profile further last year with the release of Gravity, which broke the record for the biggest autumn opening ever. Heyman is also responsible for I Am Legend and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, and he has just started production for Paddington, a live action adaptation of Paddington Bear which, with its cast of stars, is set to be another box office success.
Sir Ridley Scott. Director and producer.
Sir Ridley Scott is one of the most successful, influential and well known directors of his generation. Born in South Shields, Scott attended Grangefield Grammar School before studying at the Royal College of Art, where he helped establish the college film department. After graduation he began work at the BBC, before founding a production company with his brother Tony. His breakthrough film, Alien, was released in 1979, and since then he has directed box office hit after box office hit, including Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise, Gladiator, American Gangster and Prometheus. He has been nominated for the Best Director prize at the Academy Awards three times, and in 2001 Gladiator won Best Picture. In 2003 he was knighted in the New Year’s Honours list.
Amanda Nevill. CEO of the British Film Institute.
Amanda Nevill is the chief executive of the British Film Institute, the charitable body focused on promoting a greater appreciation and understanding of film in the UK. Often cited as the most influential figure in the UK film industry, her role at the BFI includes conserving the world's biggest collection of film and television material, as well as running the London Film Festival, the BFI National Library and the BFI London IMAX cinema. Neville joined the Institute in 2003 and has since played an integral role in the promotion of film in Britain. She is also involved in the BFI Film Academy, which gives young people who are passionate about film the help they need to begin a career in the industry, regardless of their background.
Sam Mendes, CBE. Director.
Director Sam Mendes’s influence goes from strength to strength following the 2012 release of Skyfall, with at least one more James Bond film in the pipeline and a second rumoured. Perhaps best known for American Beauty, which earned Mendes an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Director, Mendes is also credited with Road to Perdition, Jarhead and Revolutionary Road. He is also heavily involved in the theatre, last year directing the musical adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In 2000, Mendes was appointed a CBE for services to drama and in 2005 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Directors Guild of Great Britain.
Guy Richie. Director.
It was watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as a child that made Guy Ritchie realise that he wanted to make films. Ritchie is dyslexic and struggled at school; he dropped out at the age of 15 and worked as a labourer before acquiring a job as a runner. He first made his name in 1998 with his low budget gangster film Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, which went on to earn a BAFTA nomination for Outstanding British Film of the Year. More recently Ritchie has directed the Sherlock Holmes films, the first of which became his most commercially successful film, and this year he will direct The Man from UNCLE, based on the television series of the same name.
Eric Fellner, CBE. Producer.
Film producer Eric Fellner became co-chairman of Working Title Films in 1992 and continues to be a key player in the British film industry. Forming one half of Britain’s most successful production team along with Tim Bevan, their company has made over 100 films that have grossed nearly $6 billion worldwide. The company’s films, which include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Les Misérables, have won ten Academy Awards, 35 BAFTA Film Awards and numerous prestigious prizes at the Cannes and Berlin International Film Festivals. He is also co-producer of Billy Elliot The Musical, which has won ten Tony Awards and four Olivier Awards. He was awarded a CBE in 2005.
Peter Morgan. Writer.
Writer Peter Morgan is the man behind the hugely successful films Frost/Nixon (based on his 2006 play of the same name), The Queen and last year’s Formula 1 drama Rush. In 2007 he won a BAFTA Film Award for his work with Jeremy Brock on The Last King of Scotland. Morgan demonstrates an incredible talent in his ability to turn the likes of Richard Nixon, David Frost, Tony Blair and Idi Amin into enthralling protagonists. He attributes his hard work and subsequent success to having to deal with the tragic loss of his father when he was just nine. It’s this drive and talent that have made him one of the most distinguished writers of our time.
Tim Bevan, CBE. Producer.
New Zealand-born producer Tim Bevan is a key player in the British film industry. Having co-founded Working Title Films in 1984, Bevan has been responsible for many of the biggest films to come out of Britain in recent years, including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Notting Hill, Atonement and Shaun of the Dead. The production company has now grossed around $4 billion worldwide. A world player, in 2013 Bevan was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Zurich Film Festival. He is also a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Christopher Nolan. Producer and director.
British film director and producer Christopher Nolan began film-making at the tender age of seven. He would borrow his father’s camera and take short footage of his action figures. Nolan has gone on to become one of film’s most influential directors, receiving universal acclaim for his work. Also a producer, he is responsible for films such as Inception, Man of Steel and the recent Batman franchise, which refashioned the way the studios make films. This year he takes control of Warner Bros’s highly-anticipated superhero release, which brings together Batman and Superman, to create a rival to Marvel. Many contemporary directors cite Nolan as the influence for their own celebrated works.
Josh Berger, CBE. President and managing director Warner Bros Entertainment UK, Ireland and Spain.
Josh Berger is the president and managing director of Warner Bros Entertainment UK, Ireland and Spain. His first job in the entertainment industry was in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency, but he soon progressed, joining Warner Bros as a sales executive in 1989. He now oversees Warner Bros’ business activities in the UK, Ireland and Spain, including Warner Bros Pictures, Warner Home Video, Warner Bros International Television, Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, Warner Bros Digital Distribution and Warner Bros Consumer Products. He also serves as Warner Bros’ chief business contact for all J K Rowling initiatives. When asked about his greatest influences, he says “growing up, I’d have to say my father Shelly Berger, and godfather, Berry Gordy Jnr, the founder of Motown, were massive influences on me. I learned a lot about creative instincts from Gordy”.
Carey Mulligan. Actress.
The determined Carey Mulligan has had a meteoric rise to stardom. She pursued her passion for drama, secretly applying to drama schools against her parents’ wishes who wanted her to attend university. When Julian Fellowes gave a speech at her school, Mulligan approached him, asking for advice. Fellowes attempted to dissuade her from entering the profession, but she then tirelessly continued to write to him and was eventually invited to attend a dinner at his house for budding actors. It was as a result of this dinner that Mulligan earned her first role in Pride and Prejudice. Mulligan has since appeared in films such as An Education and The Great Gatsby, always demonstrating her individuality and great talent.
Christian Bale. Actor.
Welshman Christian Bale succeeded in pleasing critics and audiences in the Christopher Nolan-directed trilogy. Known for immersing himself in a role, he often stays in character throughout filming and is more than willing to alter his appearance drastically for a part. He lost 63 pounds for his role in the 2004 film The Machinist, and for his recent role in the Oscar-tipped American Hustle he gained 43 pounds. At a young age he considered giving up acting due to the pressures and strains of the profession, until Kenneth Branagh convinced him to appear in his production of Henry V. Since this time Bale has earned critical acclaim and is one of the UK’s most bankable stars and biggest talents.