© 2006 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Opening Night, 19:00 – 21:00, Wednesday, 27 June 2007
Cosmo Rodewald Theatre
The Forman Lecture is a public lecture that has been hosted on an (almost) annual basis since 1988 by the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology with the aid of sponsorship from Granada Television (now ITV Granada). It is named in honour of Sir Denis Forman, formerly chief executive of Granada Television, in recognition of his support for the highest standards of documentary film-making and, in particular, his support for the landmark anthropological series, Disappearing World, which ran from 1970 to 1993. For further information, please visit the Forman Lecture page
The 2007 Forman Lecture will take the form of a public conversational interview with Kevin Macdonald, director of Last King of Scotland, the highly successful feature film about the Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, which won an Oscar for Best Leading Actor for Forest Whitaker in the title role. This film also won the BAFTA Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film as well as numerous other awards and nominations.
Kevin will be in conversation with Hugh Brody, eminent anthropologist, film-maker and writer, and a member of the Royal Anthropological Institute Film Committee.
Although The Last King of Scotland was Kevin Macdonald's first fictional feature film, he brought to it a distinguished record as a documentarist, including two highly acclaimed documentary features – One Day in September, about the taking hostage of Israel athletes at the 1970 Olympics, which was awarded the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2000, and the international box office success, Touching the Void, released in 2003, about the near-death experiences in the Andes of the British mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates.
Kevin has also made a number of documentary films for UK television, including his early work, The Making of an Englishman, first screened in 1995 on Channel 4. This was a portrait of his grandfather, Emeric Pressburger the leading screenwriter of British feature films in the 1940s and 1950s. In origin, Pressburger was a Hungarian Jew who fled the Nazi regime in Germany in the 1930s and came to Britain, becoming in some senses more British than the British in the process.
Similar themes underlay another of Kevin's portrait films for television, The Man Who Listened to Britain, screened in 2000, also on Channel 4. In this case, the subject was the surrealist painter, poet and Mass Observationist Humphrey Jennings, a leading member of the British Documentary Movement of the 1930s and 1940s. Jennings’ most well-known work was Listen to Britain, released in 1942 at the height of the Second World War. This celebrated the values at the heart of everyday life in Britain and encouraged the belief that their strength would ultimately lead to the defeat of Fascism.
Kevin has also made a distinguished contribution to the screen studies literature. With Mark Cousins, he co-edited the very widely quoted digest of writings about documentary film, Imagining Reality (Faber & Faber 1996) and he has also written a biography of his grandfather, Emeric Pressburger: the life and death of a screenwriter (Faber and Faber 1994).
In the course of the conversation, Kevin will be asked to describe his career, reflect on the themes running through his work and comment on his experiences of making the transition from documentary to fiction. The interview will be supported by the screening of extracts from a number of his films.
It is expected that Sir Denis Forman himself will attend the Lecture.
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