Steve McQueen (director)

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Steve McQueen CBE
Steve McQueen TIFF 2013.jpg
McQueen at the premiere of 12 Years a Slave at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival
BornSteven Rodney McQueen
(1969-10-09) 9 October 1969 (age 44)
London, England
ResidenceLondon, England, Amsterdam, Netherlands
EducationB.A. in Fine art
Alma materHammersmith and West London College,
Goldsmiths, University of London
Tisch School
OccupationArtist, film director, screenwriter
Years active1993–present
StyleNeo-noir, Experimental, Social realism
Partner(s)Bianca Stigter[1]
ChildrenAlex and Dexter
 
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Steve McQueen CBE
Steve McQueen TIFF 2013.jpg
McQueen at the premiere of 12 Years a Slave at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival
BornSteven Rodney McQueen
(1969-10-09) 9 October 1969 (age 44)
London, England
ResidenceLondon, England, Amsterdam, Netherlands
EducationB.A. in Fine art
Alma materHammersmith and West London College,
Goldsmiths, University of London
Tisch School
OccupationArtist, film director, screenwriter
Years active1993–present
StyleNeo-noir, Experimental, Social realism
Partner(s)Bianca Stigter[1]
ChildrenAlex and Dexter

Steven Rodney "Steve" McQueen CBE (born 9 October 1969)[2] is a British film director, screenwriter, and video artist. He is a winner of the Caméra d'Or and a BAFTA. His 2013 film, 12 Years a Slave, won him the award for best director from the New York Film Critics Circle.[3] McQueen is known for his collaborations with actor Michael Fassbender, who has starred in all of McQueen's three feature films as of 2013.

For his artwork, McQueen has received the Turner Prize, the highest award given to a British visual artist, and in 2006 produced Queen and Country, commemorating the deaths of British soldiers in Iraq by presenting their portraits as a sheet of stamps. For services to the visual arts, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2011.[4]

Early years[edit]

McQueen was born in London and is of Grenadian descent. McQueen grew up in West London and went to Drayton Manor High School.[5][6] In a 2014 interview, McQueen stated that he had a very bad experience in school, where he had been placed into a class for students believed best suited for "For manual labour, more plumbers and builders, stuff like that." Later, the new head of the school would admit that there had been “institutional” racism at the time.[7]

He was a keen football player, turning out for the St. Georges Colts football team. He took A level art at Hammersmith and West London College, then studied art and design at Chelsea College of Art and Design and then fine art at Goldsmiths College, University of London, where he first became interested in film. He left Goldsmiths in 1993 and studied briefly at New York University's Tisch School in the United States. He found the approach there too stifling and insufficiently experimental, complaining that "they wouldn't let you throw the camera up in the air".[8] His artistic influences include Andy Warhol, Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Jean Vigo, Buster Keaton, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Robert Bresson, and Billy Wilder.[9][10]

Selected short films[edit]

Bear (1993) was McQueen's first major film, presented at the Royal College of Art in London. Although not an overtly political piece, for many it raised questions about race, androeroticism and violence. It shows a wrestling match between two men who alternate ambiguous relations and gestures of aggression and erotic attraction. The film's protagonists, one of them McQueen, are both black, but issues of race, he has said, do not take priority in his work. Like all McQueen's early films, Bear is black-and-white, and was shot on 16-millimetre film.[11]

Five Easy Pieces (1995) is a short film by McQueen. It follows a woman across a tight-rope; McQueen has stated that he finds a tight-rope walker to be "the perfect image of a combination of vulnerability and strength."[12]

Just Above My Head (1996) is a short film which shares close ties with McQueen's preceding film with the key theme of walking. A man – played by McQueen – is shot in a way as so as to crop out his body, but his head appears small at the bottom of the image, rising and falling with his step and coming in and out of frame according to the movement of the camera. As stated by David Frankel, the "simultaneous fragility and persistence" is seemingly meant as a metaphor for black life in England as elsewhere.[9][12]

Exodus (1997) is a 65-second colour video that takes the title of a record by Bob Marley as its starting point. It records a found event, two black men carrying potted palms, the greenery waving precariously above their heads, whom McQueen followed down a London street. Then they get on a bus and leave.[9]

Western Deep (2002), commissioned for documenta 11, constitutes a powerful exploration of the sensory experience of the TauTona Gold Mine in South Africa, showing migrant labourers working in dark, claustrophobic environments and the ear-splitting noise of drilling.

Career[edit]

McQueen's films as an artist were typically projected onto one or more walls of an enclosed space in an art gallery, and often in black-and-white and minimalistic. He has cited the influence of the nouvelle vague and the films of Andy Warhol.[13] He often appeared in the films himself.

His first major work was Bear (1993), in which two naked men (one of them McQueen) exchange a series of glances that might be taken to be flirtatious or threatening.[12] Deadpan (1997) is a restaging of a Buster Keaton stunt in which a house collapses around McQueen, who is left unscathed because he is standing where there is a missing window.[14][15]

As well as being in black-and-white, both these films are silent. The first of McQueen's films to use sound was also the first to use multiple images: Drumroll (1998). This was made with three cameras, two mounted to the sides, and one to the front of an oil drum which McQueen rolled through the streets of Manhattan. The resulting films are projected on three walls of an enclosed space. McQueen has also made sculptures such as White Elephant (1998) as well as photographs.

He won the Turner Prize in 1999, although much of the publicity went to Tracey Emin, who was also a nominee.

In 2006, he went to Iraq as an official war artist. The following year he presented Queen and Country, a piece which commemorated the deaths of British soldiers who died in the Iraq War by presenting their portraits as a sheet of stamps.[16]

His 2007 short film Gravesend depicted the process of Coltan refinement and production. It premiered at The Renaissance Society in the United States.[17]

His 2008 feature film Hunger, about the 1981 Irish hunger strike, premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.[18] McQueen received the Caméra d'Or (first-time director) Award at Cannes, the first British director to win the award.[19] The film was also awarded the inaugural Sydney Film Festival Prize, for "its controlled clarity of vision, its extraordinary detail and bravery, the dedication of its cast and the power and resonance of its humanity".[20] The film also won the 2008 Diesel Discovery Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. The award is voted on by the press attending the festival.[21] Hunger also won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association award for a New Generation film in 2008 and the best film prize at the London Evening Standard Film Awards in 2009.[22]

McQueen represented Britain at the 2009 Venice Biennale.[23] In 2009, it was announced that McQueen has been tapped to direct Fela, a biopic about the Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti.[24][25] Despite this, McQueen's second major theatrical release came in 2011 with the film Shame. Set in New York City, it stars Michael Fassbender as a sex addict whose life is suddenly turned upside-down when his estranged sister (Carey Mulligan) arrives unannounced and he struggles to deal with it.

Steve was the first to ask the big question, 'Why has there not been more films on the American history of slavery?'. And it was the big question it took a Brit to ask

Brad Pitt.[26]

McQueen's most recent film is 12 Years a Slave (2013). Based on the 1853 autobiography of the same name by Solomon Northup, the film tells the story of a free black man who is kidnapped in 1841 and sold into slavery, working on plantations in the state of Louisiana for twelve years before being released.

McQueen is also developing a drama for HBO, which he has cowritten with Matthew Michael Carnahan and intends to direct.[27] McQueen is working on a BBC drama about the lives of black Britons, which follows the lives of a group of friends and their families from 1968 to 2014.[28]

Personal life[edit]

In addition to London, since 1997 McQueen has a home in Amsterdam, with his long-time girlfriend, the cultural critic Bianca Stigter, and their daughter Alex and son Dexter. Steve McQueen is represented by Thomas Dane Gallery, London, and by Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris.

Already having been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2002,[29] he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to the visual arts.[4][30]

Filmography[edit]

Feature films[edit]

YearFilmCredited asDistributionBox office
DirectorProducerWriter
2008HungerYesYesIcon Productions
Zeitgeist Films
$2,724,474
2011ShameYesYesMomentum Pictures
Fox Searchlight
$17,693,675
201312 Years a SlaveYesYesSummit Entertainment
Fox Searchlight
$34,187,000

Short films[edit]

YearFilmCredited as
DirectorProducerWriter
1993BearYesYesYes
1995Five Easy PiecesYesYesYes
1996Just Above My HeadYesYesYes
1996StageYesYesYes
1997ExodusYesYesYes
2004CharlotteYesYesYes
2009GiardiniYesYesYes
2009StaticYesYesYes

Awards[edit]

YearFilmRoleNotes
2008HungerDirector
Writer
BAFTA Award for the Most Promising Newcomer
Belgian Film Critics Association Grand Prix
Douglas Hickox Award for Debut Director
Caméra d'Or
Chicago International Film Festival Gold Hugo for Best Feature
Cinemanila International Film Festival Lino Brocka Award for International Cinema
Dinard British Film Festival Coup de Coeur for Best British Film
European Film Award for European Discovery of the Year
Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Film
Geneva Cinéma Tout Ecran Young Jury Award for Best Film
Ghent International Film Festival Youth Jury Award for Best Film
Jerusalem Film Festival In Spirit for Freedom Award for Best Feature
Ljubljana International Film Festival Kingfisher Award for Best Debut
London Critics Circle Award for Breakthrough British Filmmaker
Los Angeles Film Critics Association New Generation Award
New York Film Critics Circle Awards for Best First Film
Stockholm Film Festival Award for Best Directorial Debut
Sydney Film Festival Official Competition Award
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival Grand Prize for Best Film
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best First Feature
Toronto International Film Festival Discovery Award for Best Film
Venice Film Festival Gucci Award for Best Film
Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award for Best Screenplay (shared with Enda Walsh)
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Director
Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Award for Most Promising Filmmaker
Nominated — European Film Award for Best Director
Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Film
Nominated — London Critics Circle Film Award for British Director of the Year
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Breakthrough Filmmaker
Nominated — Stockholm Film Festival Bronze Horse for Best Film
Nominated — Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
2011ShameDirector
Writer
African-American Film Critics Award for Best Director
Black Reel Award for Best Director
Black Reel Award for Best Screenplay (shared with Abi Morgan)
Venice Film Festival CinemAvvenire Award for Best Film
Venice Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize for Best Film
Venice Film Festival Young Cinema Award for Best Film
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated — Belgian Film Critics Association Grand Prix
Nominated — Bodil Award for Best Non-American Film
Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Director
Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated — European Film Award for Best Director
Nominated — European Film Award for Best Film
Nominated — European PCA Film Award for Best European Film
Nominated — Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Film
Nominated — Goya Award for Best European Film
Nominated — Humanitas Prize
Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best International Film
Nominated — Nastro d'Argento for Best Director
Nominated — London Film Festival Award for Best Film
Nominated — Nastro d'Argento for Best European Director
Nominated — Nastro d'Argento for Best Director
Nominated — Robert Festival Award for Best Non-American Film
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Director
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated — Stockholm Film Festival Bronze Horse Award for Best Film
Nominated — Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Award
201312 Years a SlaveDirector
Producer
African-American Film Critics Association Award for Best Film of the Year
American Film Institute Award for Best Director
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Film
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Director
American Film Institute Award for Top Ten Films
Boston Online Film Critics Association Award for Top Ten Best Films of the Year
Boston Online Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture
Boston Online Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Film
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Director
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Hollywood Film Festival Award for Breakthrough Directing
Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Picture
Indiana Film Critics Association Award for Best Film
Indiana Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Film
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Top Ten Films
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Special Citation Award
Mill Valley Film Festival Award for Overall Audience Favorite
Mill Valley Film Festival Award
National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films
Nevada Film Critics Society Award for Best Film
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
New York Film Critics Online Award for Top Films
New York Film Critics Online Award for Best Picture
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Picture
Palm Springs International Film Festival Director of the Year Award
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Film
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Top 10 Films
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Picture
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Scene
Stockholm International Film Festival Bronze Horse Award for Best Film
Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Film
Women Film Critics Circle Josephine Baker Award
Pending — AACTA International Award for Best Film
Pending — AACTA International Award for Best Direction
Pending — Black Reel Award for Best Film
Pending — Black Reel Award for Best Director
Pending — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Film
Pending — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Pending — Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
Pending — Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Pending — IGN Award for Best Movie
Pending — IGN Award for Best Drama Movie
Pending — IGN Award for Best Movie Director
Pending — Independent Spirit Award for Best Film
Pending — Independent Spirit Award for Best Director
Pending — London Film Critics Circle Award for Film of the Year
Pending — London Film Critics Circle Award for Director of the Year
Pending — Satellite Award for Best Film
Pending — Satellite Award for Best Director
Pending — Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film
Pending — Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Nominated — Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association for Best Director (Runner-Up)
Nominated — Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Film
Nominated — Gotham Audience Award
Nominated — Gotham Award for Best Feature
Nominated — Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Nominated — New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film (Runner-Up)
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Nominated — San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Film
Nominated — San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Nominated — San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Nominated — Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Film (Runner-Up)
Nominated — Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Director (Runner-Up)
Nominated — Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture (Runner-Up)
Nominated — Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Director (Runner-Up)
Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Director

References[edit]

  1. ^ KINO, CAROL. "Intense Seeker of Powerful Elegance". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  2. ^ British Film Institute (1969-10-09). "Steve McQueen | BFI | British Film Institute". Explore.bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  3. ^ "Steve McQueen named best director by New York critics". BBC. Retrieved 5 December
  4. ^ a b The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59647. p. 8. 31 December 2010.
  5. ^ Venice Biennale. "Venice Biennale: Steve McQueen interview". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  6. ^ "Ealing's Local Web site". Ealingtoday.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  7. ^ "Steve McQueen: my hidden shame". Guardian. January 4, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Steve McQueen: Profile". BBC News. 1 December 1999. Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c "Steve McQueen". Fundaciotapies.org. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  10. ^ "Steve McQueen". Newmedia-art.info. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  11. ^ "'Bear', Steve McQueen". Tate. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  12. ^ a b c Frankel, David (Nov 1997). "Steve McQueen - Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York". ArtForum. FindArticles. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Arifa Akbar. "The British film industry has lost its edge, says BFI boss". The Independent, Friday, 2 April 2010.
  14. ^ "Media Art Net | McQueen, Steve: Deadpan". Medienkunstnetz.de. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  15. ^ Andrew Gellatly. frieze Magazine. Issue 46 (May 1999).
  16. ^ Searle, Adrian (21 March 2007). "Last Post". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  17. ^ The Renaissance Society
  18. ^ Thorpe, Vanessa (12 May 2008). "Bobby Sands screens at Cannes". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 05-11 2008. 
  19. ^ Winners at the 61st Cannes Film Festival – Yahoo! News
  20. ^ Sydney Film Festival: Official Competition winner
  21. ^ "Family dramas, IRA prisoner film win big at TIFF". CBC News. 13 September 2008. 
  22. ^ "Standard success for Sands movie". BBC News. 1 February 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  23. ^ Charlotte Higgins, McQueen will represent Britain at Venice Biennale, The Guardian, 25 June 2008.
  24. ^ Michael Fleming and Ali Jaafar, Focus to film 'Fela' feature, Variety, 7 December 2009.
  25. ^ Ben Child, Steve McQueen to Direct Fela Kuti Biopic, The Guardian, 8 December 2009.
  26. ^ "Brad Pitt: 'It took a Brit' to Ask the Right Question on Slavery". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 January 2014
  27. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Mike Fleming, Jr. (October 29, 2013). "'12 Years A Slave' Director Steve McQueen Sets Provocative Drama Project At HBO". Deadline.com. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Steve McQueen to work on BBC drama". BBC. Retrieved 10 January 2014
  29. ^ "The Queen's Birthday Honours 2002", BBC News, 14 June 2002.
  30. ^ New Year Honours for Lennox, Suchet, Hancock and Webb

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]