Nick Broomfield

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Nick Broomfield
Born (1948-01-30) 30 January 1948 (age 67)
London, England
Education Sidcot School, Somerset
Cardiff University
University of Essex
Alma mater National Film and Television School
Occupation Filmmaker
Website
www.nickbroomfield.com

Nicholas "Nick" Broomfield (born 30 January 1948) is an English documentary filmmaker. During his career, Broomfield has shifted from classic cinéma vérité, to a more self-reflexive style in the late 20th century, which influenced later filmmakers in the United States and Europe. In the early 21st century, he began to use non-actors in scripted works, which he calls "Direct Cinema". His work has ranged from studies of entertainers to political works such as examinations of South Africa before and after the end of apartheid and the rise of the black-majority government of Nelson Mandela and the African Nationalist Party.

Broomfield generally works with a minimal crew, recording sound himself and using one or two camera operators. He is often seen in the finished film, usually holding the sound boom and wearing the Nagra tape recorder: a reminder that it is a created work.

Early life and education[edit]

Nicholas Broomfield, called "Nick", was born in 1948. He is the son of photographer Maurice Broomfield and his wife.[1]

Education[edit]

From 1959 to 1965, Broomfield was educated at Sidcot School,[2] a boarding independent school for boys (now co-educational), near the village of Winscombe in Somerset in south west England. He gained higher-level education at University College Cardiff (which became Cardiff University in 1999), where he studied Law, and the University of Essex, where he studied Political Science. Subsequently, he studied film at the National Film and Television School in London.[3] Broomfield's early style was conventional cinéma vérité: the juxtaposition of observed scenes, with little use of voice-over or text.

Career in documentaries[edit]

After more than a decade of working as a filmmaker, Broomfield altered his film style, appearing on-screen for the first time in Driving Me Crazy (1988). After several arguments regarding the budget and nature of the film, he decided that he would make the documentary only if he could experiment by filming the very process of making the film—the arguments, the failed interviews and the dead-ends.[citation needed]

This shift in film-making style was strongly influenced by Broomfield's struggles in trying to gain distribution for his earlier documentary, Lily Tomlin, which chronicled the American comedian Tomlin's one-woman show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. Tomlin claimed that the film was a spoiler for her show and filed suit for $7 million in damages against Broomfield. The documentary was shown on public television but not widely released. Eventually Broomfield's documentary was incorporated into the video release of the one-woman show.[citation needed]

Broomfield became known for this self-reflexive film-making style: making films that were also about the making itself as well as the ostensible subject. His influence on documentary could be seen by the work of younger filmmakers in the first decade of the 21st century: according to The Guardian, Michael Moore, Louis Theroux and Morgan Spurlock each demonstrated similar styles in their recent box-office hits.[4] Such filmmakers have been classified as Les Nouvelles Egotistes; others have likened Broomfield's work to the Gonzo journalism of American Hunter S. Thompson.[5]

Broomfield's best-known work is probably Kurt & Courtney, about American singers Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, which was selected for the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Its screening was canceled by the festival after Love threatened to sue, as the film was released after Cobain's suicide.[6] A previous film, Soldier Girls, which Broomfield co-directed with Joan Churchill, won first prize at Sundance a few years previously.[7]

Direct Cinema[edit]

In 2006, Broomfield changed his style again, adopting techniques of what he calls 'Direct Cinema', using non-actors to play themselves in dramas with a screenplay. He completed a drama called Ghosts for Channel 4; this was inspired by the 2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disaster, when 23 Chinese immigrant cockle pickers drowned after being cut off by the tides. Ghosts won an award and helped raise nearly half a million pounds to help the victims' families.

In Battle for Haditha (2007), Broomfield worked with ex-Marines and Iraqi refugees, as well as known actors. The film was shot sequentially, enabling the cast to build their characters as the story progressed. It also used real locations, and a very small documentary-style film crew. Although working from a detailed script, Broomfield allowed the actors to improvise and add dialogue.[8][9] Broomfield based his script on research with Marines of Kilo Company who took part in the fighting on that day, the survivors of the massacre, and the six-thousand page NCIS government report.[10] Battle for Haditha won 2 international awards.[11]

Banned film[edit]

On 30 March 2015 on Russia Today 's Going Underground news programme, Nick Broomfield said his & Churchill's film Juvenile Liason remains banned from broadcast. The Chief Constable of Birmingham in 1975 had exerted sufficient pressure to have the film banned. It remains only available to screening to specialist audiences at the BFI. Angered by the banning order, Broomfield and Churchill traveled to America where "we found funding and making films easier."

Films[edit]

Other work[edit]

In 1999, Broomfield made a series of five commercials for Volkswagen. Each of these featured Broomfield with his trademark sound boom "investigating" rumours about the soon-to-be released Volkswagen Passat.

Awards[edit]

Interview with Nick Broomfield (Director) of Ghosts, (UK) dramatic feature film, during world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival
  • British Academy Award (BAFTA)
  • Prix Italia
  • The Dupont Columbia Award for Outstanding Journalism
  • The Peabody
  • The Royal Television Society Award
  • First Prize, Sundance Film Festival
  • John Grierson Award
  • Robert Flaherty Award
  • The Hague Peace Prize
  • The Chris Award
  • The Blue Ribbon
  • The California State Bar Award
  • First Prize, Chicago Film Festival
  • First Prize, US Film Festival
  • First Prize, Festival of Mannheim
  • First Prize, Festival di Popoli
  • Special Jury Award, Melbourne Film Festival

Broomfield was also given a BAFTA tribute evening on 8 March 2005.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jon Levy Obituary: Maurice Broomfield, The Guardian, 13 October 2010
  2. ^ Alumni of Sidcot School Sidcot School, Somerset. Access date: 20 September 2011
  3. ^ Barnett, Laura (2007-09-11). "Portrait of the artist: Nick Broomfield, documentary-maker". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  4. ^ Hoggart, Paul (21 February 2006). "Following the leader". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  5. ^ Byrnes, Paul (13 February 2003). "Review: Biggie And Tupac". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  6. ^ "'Kurt and Courtney' now showing despite Love's efforts". CNN. 
  7. ^ Soldier Girls - Cast, Reviews, Summary, and Awards - AllRovi
  8. ^ EXCL: Nick Broomfield's Battle for Haditha - ComingSoon.net
  9. ^ Battle for Haditha - Interviews - Nick Broomfield discusses Battle for Haditha - Channel 4
  10. ^ 'Haditha Massacre' Dramatized in New Film : NPR
  11. ^ Battle for Haditha (2007) - Awards
  12. ^ Gosling's Travels (Whittingham Hospital), ITN Source, accessed 19 June 2014
  13. ^ a b Broomfield, Nick (1948-), BFI Screenonline, accessed 19 June 2014
  14. ^ a b Nick Broomfield, British Council Film, accessed 26 June 2014
  15. ^ Broomfield, Nick (2009-05-31). "A Time Comes: The story of the Kingsnorth Six". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  16. ^ "Overlooked by authorities in America, a British filmmaker tackles the Grim Sleeper". Toronto Star, 25 April 2014, WD5.

References[edit]

External links[edit]