Stephen Frears appeared at a previous festival. View this year's speakers here.

Stephen Frears


Stephen Frears headshot

Unanimously regarded as one of Britain’s finest directors, STEPHEN FREARS has always embraced a wide variety of styles, themes and genres. He made his name in TV drama, working almost exclusively for the small screen in the first 15 years of his career. In the mid-1980s he turned to the cinema, shooting The Hit (1984), starring Terence Stamp, John Hurt and Tim Roth. The following year he made My Beautiful Laundrette for Channel 4, which crossed over to big-screen audiences and altered the course of his career. After directing its companion piece Sammy and Rosie Get Laid and the Joe Orton biopic Prick Up Your Ears, he began working in Hollywood, with Dangerous Liaisons and The Grifters (for which he was Oscar-nominated) among his most notable titles.

Returning closer to home, he directed The Snapper and The Van, two Irish films based on Roddy Doyle stories and, after a second spell of making American films (The Hi-Lo Country and High Fidelity), based himself largely in Britain. Frears showed his versatility with two vastly different movies – Dirty Pretty Things, a realistic account of immigrant life in London, and Mrs. Henderson Presents, a nostalgic backstage comedy-drama. For his 2006 film The Queen he was again nominated for an Oscar.

His subsequent films included Cheri, Tamara Drewe and Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, produced by HBO.  He followed these with Philomena, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, which won one BAFTA and was nominated for three others, along with three Golden Globe and four Oscar nominations.  Stephen’s new film The Program, released this Autumn, stars Ben Foster as seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.  Stephen is currently in post-production on his next film, Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant.

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