Oscar-nominated director Paul Greengrass will receive the BFI Fellowship at this year’s 61st BFI London Film Festival. The BAFTA-winning filmmaker will be presented with the British Film Institute’s highest honor – awarded in recognition of a person’s outstanding contribution to film and television – at the festival’s award ceremony Oct. 14.
Josh Berger, chair of the BFI, said Greengrass was “a director, writer and producer whose skill for storytelling is as powerful and courageous as the stories and figures he brings to life in the cinema and on the small screen.”
“As a filmmaker, Paul has been a true pioneer, bringing his instinct and experience from making hard-hitting programs into the world of cinema,” Berger said in a statement. “His distinct ability to combine the visceral with the cerebral and offer a nuanced picture of heroism has injected a bold new realism into action thriller movies, leaving audiences around the world transfixed and eager for more.”
Greengrass is best known to worldwide audiences for his stewardship of the Jason Bourne thriller franchise, starring Matt Damon. Greengrass took over directing the series, launched by Doug Liman, with 2004’s “The Bourne Supremacy” and sequel “The Bourne Ultimatum” before returning for a third time with last year’s “Jason Bourne,” which also saw Damon return after sitting out the franchise’s fourth installment.
The British filmmaker received an Academy Award nomination for his 2006 film “United 93,” which earned him a BAFTA Film Award as best director. He had previously won BAFTA Television Awards for best single drama for 1999’s “The Murder of Stephen Lawrence” and 2004’s “Omagh.” Greengrass was most recently BAFTA- and Golden Globe-nominated as best director for “Captain Phillips,” which opened the London Film Festival in 2013.
Greengrass said: “On a personal level, I’m particularly touched, as the BFI has always supported my career, and ‘Bloody Sunday’ was financed through the National Lottery 15 years ago. Like so many people in our industry, I owe this wonderful organization an enormous debt.”
The BFI Fellowship is awarded each year at the BFI London Film Festival. Previous directors to receive the award include Robert Altman, Danny Boyle, Mel Brooks, Tim Burton, David Cronenberg, Clint Eastwood, Stephen Frears, Abbas Kiarostami, Akira Kurosawa, David Lean, Ken Loach, Martin Scorsese and Ridley Scott. Last year’s Fellowship was awarded to Steve McQueen.