BFI to celebrate Sir Alan Parker in September as he donates his personal archive

BFI Southbank has announced it will host a Focus On Sir Alan Parker season from 24 September to 4 October, including a special on stage event, 'Sir Alan Parker and Lord Puttnam Unplugged', on 24 September, and an exhibition of his work. This is to celebrate the donation by the director of his entire working archive to the BFI National Archive- 70 large boxes worth of scripts, cartoons, photographs and other ephemera. A highlight of the season will be a screening of Parker's acclaimed Midnight Express, which will be available as a joint ticket with the Puttnam and Parker talk.

Parker's films include Bugsy Malone (1976), Midnight Express (1978), Mississippi Burning (1988), Angela’s Ashes (1999)  and a string of hugely popular musicals including Fame(1980), Pink Floyd - The Wall (1982), The Commitments (1991) and Evita (1996).

See press release below:

Friday 24th July 2015, London. Sir Alan Parker, one of Britain’s most distinguished filmmakers has donated his entire working archive to the BFI National Archive. The collection covers over 45 years of filmmaking, from his early work as a commercials director for television, through to his career as an internationally renowned, award-winning director of some of the finest films of the period, from Bugsy Malone (1976) and Midnight Express (1978) to Mississippi Burning (1988)  and Angela’s Ashes (1999)  interspersed with a string of hugely popular musicals including Fame(1980), Pink Floyd - The Wall (1982), The Commitments (1991) and Evita (1996). To celebrate the donation, BFI Southbank will host a Focus On Sir Alan Parker from 24 September to 4 October, including a special on stage event, Sir Alan Parker and Lord Puttnam Unplugged, on 24 September, and an exhibition of his work.

The Sir Alan Parker archive covers every period of his career, starting with his work as an advertising copywriter. All of his features are represented, with a wealth of scripts, production papers, promotional materials, posters and Parker’s own filmmaking diaries, offering a hugely important resource for students of film and television. The archive also includes a particularly rich collection of photographs and production stills, by photographers including Greg Williams, Mary Ellen Mark, Terry O'Neill and David Appleby, documenting his films to an exceptional degree.

Nathalie Morris, Senior Curator - Special Collections, BFI said, “This is an exceptionally rich archive charting the work of a British filmmaker who has had a hugely successful international career. Sir Alan Parker is one of several distinctive talents to emerge from a very particular place and moment – the British advertising industry of the late 60s and early 70s. His archive will provide a wealth of insights into his working process as a writer and director, as well enhancing our understanding of the film industry,and filmmaking, over the past 40 years. The BFI National Archive is delighted to be preserving this archive for the nation. We are incredibly grateful to Sir Alan for his generous donation.”

Sir Alan Parker said, “It seems that I’ve accumulated an awful lot of stuff over forty years of filmmaking and I can’t think of a better home for it that the BFI National Archive. As a past chairman of the BFI, I know how everything is so diligently cared for out at Berkhamsted and it’s good to know it’s in safe hands and will be available to future students of film.”

The collection which comprises over 70 large document boxes has been transported to the BFI National Archive at Berkhamsted where it will be stored in optimal archival conditions. Once catalogued, the archive will be open to the public, with selected material being digitised for access. 

FOCUS ON SIR ALAN PARKER AT BFI SOUTHBANK

To mark this new and exciting acquisition, BFI Southbank will host a Focus on Sir Alan Parker from 24 September – 25 October 2015. Parker and producer David Puttnam (whose papers are also held by the BFI National Archive) have been friends since their days as advertising luminaries in the 60’s beginning their film careers together in the early 70’s. At Sir Alan Parker and Lord Puttnam Unplugged on Thursday 24 September for the first time ever, the two of them take to the stage to talk about working together in film, their friendship and their unique views on the film industry, past and present. This event will be followed by a screening of Midnight Express (1978); directed by Parker, produced by Puttnam and with an Oscar®-winning screenplay by Oliver Stone,Midnight Express remains as powerful now as when it first came out in 1978. Also screening as part of the focus will be Parker’s feature debut, the stylish and uplifting film for all ages Bugsy Malone (1976), starring Jodie Foster and Scott Baio. There will be a Family Funday screening on Sunday 4 October, complete with a Funday workshop in the BFI Foyer before the screening.

There will be two exhibitions at BFI Southbank as part of the focus, the first of which offers a peek into the newly acquired Alan Parker archive, spanning his career from his early work in advertising through to his most recent feature film work (Thu 24 Sep – Sun 25 Oct, Mezzanine). The second exhibit The Cartoons of Alan Parker will run in the BFI Southbank Atrium from Fri 25 Sep – Mon 5 Oct and will showcase Parker’s infamous cartoon work. Parker began drawing cartoons 50 years ago when working as a copywriter at a small ad agency. ‘We had to turn out 10 ads a day,’ he says, ‘so the most expedient method was to come up with an idea, a line, and draw a cartoon.’ During his later career as a film director and writer, Parker continued to be a prolific cartoonist, mostly lambasting the pretensions and excesses of art and the film industry (the BFI included!). 

LISTINGS

Sir Alan Parker and Lord Puttnam Unplugged

Director Alan Parker and producer David Puttnam have been friends since their days as advertising luminaries in the 60’s beginning their film careers together in the early 70’s. Here, for the first time ever, the two of them take to the stage to talk about their friendship and their unique views on the film industry, past and present.

Joint ticket available with Midnight Express £16, concs £12 (Members pay £1.70 less)

THU 24 SEP 18:30 NFT1

 

Midnight Express

UK 1978. Dir Alan Parker. With Brad Davis, John Hurt, Randy Quaid,. 121min. Digital. 18

In 1970 an American student on holiday in Turkey is arrested for smuggling drugs out of the country and faces a lifetime locked away in a harsh Turkish prison. Directed by Parker, produced by Puttnam and with an Oscar®-winning screenplay by Oliver Stone, Midnight Express remains as powerful now as when it was first released in 1978.

Joint ticket available with Sir Alan Parker and Lord Puttnam in Conversation

THU 24 SEP 20:40 NFT1

 

Funday: Bugsy Malone + Q&A With Sir Alan Parker

UK 1976. Dir Alan Parker. With Jodie Foster, Scott Baio, Florrie Dugger. 93min. Digital. U

In this stylish and uplifting film for all ages, two rival gangs in 1929 New York fight to control the city. Dandy Dan looks to have the edge when he reveals his secret weapon: the splurge gun, which fires an endless supply of custard. Bugsy Malone and his sweetheart Blousey dream of a new life in Hollywood, but soon get caught in the crossfire.

SUN 4 OCT 13:20 NFT1

 

The Cartoons of Alan Parker

Sir Alan Parker began drawing cartoons 50 years ago when working as a copywriter at a small ad agency. ‘We had to turn out 10 ads a day,’ he says, ‘so the most expedient method was to come up with an idea, a line, and draw a cartoon.’ During his later career as a film director and writer, Parker continued to be a prolific cartoonist, mostly lambasting the pretensions and excesses of art and the film industry (the BFI included!). His films have won 19 BAFTA awards, 10 Golden Globes and 10 Oscars®. His cartoons are yet to win anything… Parental guidance advised.

FRI 25 SEP – MON 5 OCT ATRIUM

 

Alan Parker exhibition

Charting Parker’s career from advertising copywriter to internationally renowned director, his exhibition offers a peek into this exciting new acquisition.

 

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Owen Van Spall

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