MICHAEL APTED (Director) has a career that spans four
decades and includes triumphs in motion pictures, television and as one of the
industry's most respected documentarians. He was first attracted to movies
at the age of 16 when he saw Ingmar Bergman's "Wild Strawberries." Although he
went on to study history and law at Cambridge University, the Aylesbury,
Buckinghamshire native began his filmmaking career fresh out of college as a
researcher for Granada Television. That auspicious start led to the assignment
of choosing 14 seven-year-olds for a 1964 documentary film entitled "Seven Up,"
the first in what has become an ongoing, award-winning series made by Apted,
that examines the British class system in seven year increments.
Within three years, he established himself in Manchester as a seasoned
television director, supervising everything from church services, soap operas
and wrestling matches, to TV concerts featuring The Beatles and The Rolling
Stones. Additionally, he became an investigative reporter for the documentary
news series "World in Action," guided a weekly perspective on movies entitled
"Cinema," and directed episodes of the long-running British drama series
Apted won British Emmy's as Best Director of a Comedy Series for "The
Lovers," Best Director of a Children's Series for "Folly Foot," and Best
Director for the dramas "Another Sunday and Sweet F.A," and "Kisses at Fifty."
He garnered an international Emmy (and his first DGA nomination) for "The
Collection" and another nomination for "21," the third in his "Seven Up" series.
Among the several dozen English telefilms he directed are "Poor Girl," "Mosedale
Horseshoe," "Jack Point," "Number 10," "Slattery's Mounted Foot," "Big Soft
Nellie," "One Thousand Pounds for Rosebud," "Joy," "Said the Preacher" and
"Stronger Than the Sun."
Apted segued into feature films with the offbeat wartime romance "Triple
Echo" in 1973. He followed this with his chronicle of an English pop-music
group, "Stardust," the crime drama "The Squeeze" and the big-budget mystery,
"Agatha," starring Dustin Hoffman and Vanessa Redgrave.
Apted made a spectacular breakthrough on the American film scene with his
Oscar-winning biopic "Coal Miner's Daughter," one of 1980's Best Picture Academy
Award nominees. The film also earned him a Directors Guild of America nomination
and granted the Best Actress Oscar to Sissy Spacek for her riveting performance
as country music superstar Loretta Lynn.
Apted's film credits also include the romantic comedy "Continental Divide,"
the police thriller "Gorky Park," the adolescent comedy "P'Tang, Yang,
Kipperbang" (BAFTA nominee), the dramatic biopic "Gorillas in the Mist" (for
which Sigourney Weaver earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination as Dian Fossey),
the black comedy "Critical Condition," the courtroom drama "Civil Action," the
thriller "Thunderheart," the mystery-thriller "Blink," the drama "Nell" (for
which Jodie Foster collected a Best Actress Oscar nomination), the medical
thriller "Extreme Measures," the drama "Enigma," the thriller "Enough," the
historical drama "Amazing Grace," the James Bond epic "The World Is Not Enough"
and "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader."
Apted has also kept his hand in the television arena, directing several
episodes of HBO's Emmy-winning, Golden Globe-nominated series "Rome" (for which
Apted himself won the DGA Award), and the drama "Always Outnumbered," adapted
from Walter Moseley's novel.
Apted continues in the vanguard of feature documentaries, which encompass
"Incident at Oglala" about American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier;
"Bring on the Night," which chronicles the creation of rock star Sting's "Dream
of the Blue Turtles" album (for which Apted won a Grammy Award for Best Long
Form Music Video); "The Long Way Home," a profile of Russian rock musician Boris
Grebenshikov; "Moving the Mountain," which documents student demonstrations in
Peking, China, on July 4, 1989; "Me & Isaac Newton," which takes a humorous look
at some of the world's top scientific researchers; "Inspirations," which
features such diverse artists as David Bowie, Roy Lichtenstein, Dale Chihuly and
others in a candid discussion of their creative processes; "The Power of the
Game," which profiles the world's most popular sport, soccer, and how it affects
the global community; and "Married in America" (the first film in 2002, and its
follow-up in 2006), a look at nine American couples about to embark on marriage.
Apted continues directing and producing his "Seven Up" series, with six
additional segments since its inception in 1964 -- "7 Plus 7," "21," "28 Up"
(for which he won the BAFTA, the International Emmy and the International
Documentary Award), "35 Up," "42: Forty Two Up" (BAFTA and International
Documentary nominations) and, the most recent installment, "49 Up" (another
BAFTA nomination). The next installment, "56 Up," is scheduled for 2012. He has
also produced American and Russian versions of "Seven Up."
In addition to his accomplishments on the set, Apted served three terms as
president of the Directors Guild of America, and also chaired the documentary
branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
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