Alan Parker Receives BFI Tribute, Donates Working Archive

Alan Parker Receives BFI Tribute, Donates
BAFTA/REX Shutterstock

LONDON — The British Film Institute is to pay tribute to director Alan Parker, who was Oscar nominated for “Midnight Express” and “Mississippi Burning,” with a special event that marks his decision to donate his entire working archive to the BFI National Archive.

The event, titled “Focus on Sir Alan Parker,” runs from Sept. 24 to Oct. 25. It includes an onstage interview between Parker and producer David Puttnam on Sept. 24, and screenings of the 1978 movie “Midnight Express,” which was produced by Puttnam, and Parker’s 1976 feature debut, “Bugsy Malone.”

There will be two exhibitions as part of the focus: The first offers a peek into the Parker archive, while the second exhibit will showcase Parker’s cartoon work.

Parker’s films included “Angela’s Ashes,” “Fame,” “Pink Floyd — The Wall,” “The Commitments” and “Evita.” In 1998, he was appointed chairman of the BFI, and in 1999 he was made chairman of the U.K. Film Council, a position he held for five years. He received a knighthood in 2002, and was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship, the organization’s highest honor, in 2013.

The collection covers over 45 years of filmmaking, from his early work as a commercials director for television, through to his career as a feature film director. All of his features are represented, with a wealth of scripts, production papers, promotional materials, posters and Parker’s own filmmaking diaries, offering a resource for students of film and television. The archive also includes a collection of photographs, including production stills, by photographers such as Greg Williams, Mary Ellen Mark, Terry O’Neill and David Appleby, documenting his films’ production.

Parker said: “It seems that I’ve accumulated an awful lot of stuff over 40 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.”

Nathalie Morris, senior curator of special collections at the BFI, said: “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 collection, which comprises over 70 large document boxes, has been transported to the BFI National Archive at Berkhamsted, where it will be stored. Once catalogued, the archive will be open to the public, with selected material being digitized for access.

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