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Identified by the acronym DGGB, the directors’ guild of Great Britain was born in 1983 as an organization that allowed them to have a professional representation that they did not have within the technical unions existing at the time.
Representatives of many important communication media belonged to this union, among which stood out: cinema, radio, television, theater and others, such as opera, documentary, commercial, musical creations or any other type of film.
The Guild of Directors of Great Britain began to gain ground and become an independently acting union, known as a non-profit society; but directly linked to the directors that made up the charitable arm of this guild, called Directors Guild Trust, which was founded in 1985.
The Trust, with its headquarters in the central part of London, represents since its creation a support to encourage the appreciation on the part of the public of all the art and the originality of the creations of British directors; through its presentation within educational events, monuments and all kinds of commotions.
What is the purpose of this Directors Guild?
Once this union was founded, the directors had an independent voice that would represent them in terms of working conditions and remuneration.
Companies such as the rights of directors and producers began to be established immediately, which began strikes in favor of labor improvements and by the year 2000 reaching alliances such as those reached with BECTU, which represented the radio broadcasting, entertainment, theater and other union. television stations, as well as production companies.
Already in 2008, the Society for the Rights of Directors and Producers identified as DPRS, began to be its main entity of negotiation at a commercial level, for the defense of all those directors who were part of the British media.
This guild based in the city of London had as its purpose the defense, understanding and respect of the work that was carried out by each of the directors who were registered in its organization; supporting this type of art before the industry, as well as in front of the general public.
Category of its members
The members who were part of the Guild of Directors of Great Britain, could enter as professionals, if they had at least two creations within which they were principal directors; but they could also be associates, in which case if they had professional credits, they worked for this type of industry within the UK.
The Guild of Directors of Great Britain, as part of its incentive to publicize the work of the professionals who were associated with them, during 25 years they awarded 10 prizes recognized as “Lifetime Achievement Awards” in addition to holding two large-scale ceremonies to publicize these deserved tributes.
From 1993 to 2005, these awards were awarded consecutively, overlooking the year 2000 and among the winners, names such as: Fred Zinnemann, Roy Boutting, Joan Litlewood, Christopher Morahan, Sir Richard Eyre, Alan Parker, Stanley stood out. Kubrick, Peter Brook John Schlesinger, Sir Trevor Nunn, and Sam Mendes.
The Blue Plates The Trust
As mentioned above, under the name of the Directors Guid Trust was the body that provided support to the activities carried out by the directors’ union in order to promote knowledge of the work of this type of professionals.
The Trust created a blue plaque within which was recognized the memory of prominent members of the directors’ union from 2005 to 2013 and with names such as: Michael Powell, Alexander Makendrick, David Lean, Brian Desmond Hurst, John Schlesinger, and Joan Littewood.
Each of these directors who received the blue plaque stood out in film, television or theater, representing Great Britain’s Guild of Directors.
There are famous English film productions, which have achieved great influence within the industry and the artistic development of cinema; despite having a history through which they experienced moments of success and others of recessions, but managing to remain always present in the world, providing quality films that reached box office sales records.
These famous productions have been representative of each of the historical eras of the UK film industry, so we will introduce you to some of the most representative of all of them.
Best English movies ever
Perhaps many remember them, possibly others have not even heard their name, but we will take a journey through the years to evoke all those British films that have marked their mark over time and that have been recognized as famous.
It should be noted that many of them were made using resources from the American industry, but always under the production of a prominent British film director, discover some of them.
The 39 Steps
This is a suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, during the year 1935, which was based on a novel called 39 Steps starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll.
A horror and suspense film, released during the year 1960 and also directed by the teacher Alfred Hitchcock, based on the crimes of Ed Gein, a brutal serial killer from Wisconsin.
Lawrence of Arabia
This film captured the public’s attention during 1962, as it was based on the life of an enigmatic British officer, who worked in the desert to help the Arab people against Turkey.
Directed by David Lean during the year 1965; it was an epic drama, winner of five Oscars and starring Omar Sharif, who was a doctor and poet, during the years of the First World War.
A Clockwork Orange
This 1971 film is set in Great Britain, presenting the life of young Alex, a character with wild instincts but a music lover, head of a gang called the drugos that ends up terrorizing the entire population, with his escalation of horrible murders.
A film that was part of the dark terror by the hand of the British producer Hammer, during the year 1972; Masterfully performed by Christopher Lee, as the legendary Count Dracula.
Four Weddings and a Funeral
This 1994 film achieved great success with a theme that reveals the lives of some singles, including Charles, who knows a young woman named Carrie.
After spending the night together they do not see each other again, until their next meeting takes place when they go to another wedding where Carrie introduces her to her fiancé.
Based on the novel by the British J. K. Rowling, the Harry Potter saga was made into a film, with its first film in 1997; reaching record sales at the box office even until the last one during 2010 and 2011, with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” as it was divided into two parts.
This saga has marked a whole generation of fans around the world and even today films based on the Harry Potter universe continue to be produced, highlighting the lives of other characters derived from this story.
These are just a few samples of all the British talent through which famous English film productions have been created, every day new themes emerge that captivate the public and manage to be worthy of important awards such as the Oscars and many others.
Similarly, films that are based on the British theme have stood out for their sales record in the world, among which is James Bond, Titanic or The Lord of the Rings. In them is present the history, culture and creativity that has originated from the English cymatographic style and also many are shot in the beautiful places of the United Kingdom.
British film and television directors have been of relevant importance for more than a century, although their peak was concentrated in 1936 and reached their “golden age” during 1940, when directors of the stature of Michael Powel, Carol Reed, and David Lean created works that were acclaimed around the world.
However, many other directors have accumulated a great deal of success, thus creating what is known as their identity within the British film industry, always seeking to compete with the American one.
In fact, in the course of 2009, films were produced that raised two million dollars around the world, representing a 7% share; while at the UK level it was 17% of everything collected within the film industry.
Classic British Directors
Some British directors have been known for their long and prolific careers, both in film and on television; so we will introduce you to some of these important and influential geniuses of this type of art:
Alfred Hitchcock’s life spanned from 1899 to 1980, while his career bore fruit for more than six decades; going through two world wars and getting more than 50 feature films.
This director played with the emotions of his audience, creating for them themes of suspense, horror and drama, which he personally supervised through his camera, with scripts, set and characters directed by himself.
The result is already known to many of us, with films ranging from 1935 to 1964 and titles that remain in our memory such as The Birds, Vertigo, Strangers on a Train and many others.
This British film director stood out after the war, but gave a lot to talk about to the critics, through films that were part of individual projects such as Peeping Tom during the year 1960, considered as objectionable, because it was the life of a murderer serial.
Over the years his work has been given fair value and his cinematographic work has been recognized.
Surely many of you have had the opportunity to see classics like Lawrence of Arabia from 1962 or Doctor Zhivago from 1965, which were the work of this director as well as the renowned Brief Encounters during the year 1945 that was part of the time of gold of British cinema.
A renowned film director who won an Oscar in 1968 for his performance in the film Oliver, which was based on a musical of the same name.
His career was forged over five decades, directing more than 30 films and standing out with three feature films in particular such as: Odd Man Out corresponding to the year 1947, Fallen Idol of 1948 and finally The Third Man of 1949.
The list of British film and television directors is very wide, there are many other traditional representatives of this art such as Michael Winterbottom, Mike Leigh, Peter Greenaway, Derek Jarman, Stephen Frears, Ken Loach, Bill Douglas, Nicolas Roeg, among others.
Contemporary British Directors
Many consider that the golden age of British cinema continues today, with great series that have been a complete success within the world through festivals and reaching high figures at the box office; some of the directors that are causing a sensation are:
- Steve McQueen with films like 12 Years a Slave which was released in 2013 and won three Oscars.
- Ben Wheatley who stands out during 2014 with A Field in England considered as an original experience admired by critics and by Martin Scorsese, famous American director.
- Duane Hopkins also developed critically acclaimed short films, such as Field in 2001 and in 2003 with Love Me Or Leave Me Alone, winner of the Edinburgh Film Festival for that year.
There are many other important representatives of British film and television directors who have made known the quality of their work within this type of art and who deserve to be named in this post, such as: Sally El Hosaini, Duane Hopkins , Clio Barnard, Gareth Edwards, Andrea Arnold, Lynne Ramsay, Richard Ayoade, and Amma Asante.
All with a lot of artistic talent that is appreciated by the public that enjoys their films.
The history and recognition of British cinema has for years been part of an industry that remains in competition with films produced in Hollywood in the United States, despite being the most prominent in Europe.
Without a doubt, films like Harry Potter or even Notting Hill have had a notable blockbuster dominance in the world and have been recognized for the satisfaction they have given their audience.
But the life of British cinema has faced many setbacks, boom and bust times; all of them are part of its history, precisely the one we want to make known to you.
His early years
British cinema was created by the Frenchman Louis Le Prince, who recorded the first moving images in 1888. These were later taken to celluloid by photographer William Friese-Greene in 1890.
Later, in 1899, Edward Raymond Turner developed the tapes using three colors. Then during the decade of 1908 George Albert Smith developed what was known as Kinemacolor, which allowed capturing moving images in color, being used until 1914.
The boom that British cinema was reaching was overshadowed by the presence of the First World War and the rapid growth of the market in America. However, one of his compatriots gained ground and fame in the world, such as the famous Charlie Chaplin, a renowned character in silent films, despite the fact that his success occurred as part of American cinema.
The panorama changes part of the year 1930 when the film director Alfred Hitchcock, master of terror and suspense, enters the scene, who created by calling it the unspoken British film in some way. With all this, British cinema begins to have a new approach and earn a place within the world box office records, enjoying its golden age during the 1940s.
Once in 1950, British cinema was characterized by comedies and dramas about the war; with some horror films such as Dracula from 1958, starring the famous vampire of all time Cristopher Lee.
American influence on British cinema
By the 1960s, many American producers began to make films shot in the English territory, within which themes of violence, humor or exotic places with style such as the case of James Bond are included by artists of the stature of Sean Connery, who were blockbusters in the world.
In those times, British cinema featured six Oscar-winning productions, achieved with the musical-style film Oliver in 1968 or Lawrence of Arabia, already awarded in 1962.
Reduction of censorship limits
During the year 1970 controversial stories began to be made, letting out some more spicy content and characterized by cults or rituals that were previously taboo; films like A Clockwork Orange, Devils and Straw Dogs appear.
Crisis due to industrial recession
The economic situation of the world experienced during the year 1980, considerably affected the British cinema, reducing the production of films.
This led them to search for new generations of directors and actors, giving rise to the film “Chariots of Fire” by director Hugh Hudson, which won four Oscars for the year 1982.
Commercialization of British cinema
Once again, British cinema seeks to solve difficulties and break through adversity, since being in the 1990s they did not have significant successes, even within their own country. But in 1994 they acquired a new impetus with the film “Four Weddings and a Funeral” by director Richard Curtis, which began to renew the interest of national and international economic investment in this industry.
From then on they began to reap box office successes such as the one achieved by “A place called Notting Hill”, from 1999.
With the arrival of the 2000s it continued to flow and give rise to projects that have been part of the history and recognition of the British cinema, with sagas such as Harry Potter or some others such as “the king’s speech” of 2011, which was awarded the Oscar as well as many others corresponding to the following years.
Today British cinema is one of the most powerful industries in the world which, as has been seen, emerged in a remarkable way overcoming obstacles and setbacks, but always keeping its creative spirit alive.