Zurich pays A Tribute to… Mike Leigh
by Naman Ramachandran
- The festival is to host a comprehensive retrospective of the British master’s work
The 11th Zurich Film Festival (ZFF, 24 September – 4 October) will bestow its annual A Tribute to… honour on British filmmaker Mike Leigh, who will collect the Golden Eye Award in person during the awards night ceremony at the Zurich Opera House on 3 October. Leigh will also lead a ZFF public master class. The festival will screen a comprehensive retrospective of the British master’s work. Leigh’s contemporary Stephen Frears was the first recipient of the A Tribute to… award in 2006, and other awardees include Michael Haneke and Claire Denis.
Leigh was born in 1943 in Salford, north-west England. He trained as an actor and director at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and continued at the London Film School. He worked as an assistant director with the Royal Shakespeare Company and wrote and directed more than 20 of his own plays, including the social comedy Abigail’s Party. Leigh adapted his first feature in 1971 from the play Bleak Moments, a film that won him the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival. After a long stint in television, he made his second feature, High Hopes, in 1988. Naked (1993) won him Best Director at Cannes, and Secrets & Lies (1996) won the Palme d’Or, the BAFTA Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film and the BAFTA Best Screenplay honour.
Vera Drake [+see also:
film profile] (2004) won the Golden Lion at Venice and the BAFTA David Lean Award for direction, and Sally Hawkins won the Berlinale Best Actress Silver Bear for Happy-Go-Lucky [+see also:
film profile] (2008). Leigh’s most recent release, Mr. Turner [+see also:
interview: Mike Leigh
film profile] (2014), was BAFTA- and Oscar-nominated. In 2015, Leigh was accorded the BAFTA Fellowship, the institution’s highest honour.