Kevin Allen (director)

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Kevin Edward Allen
Born (1959-09-15) 15 September 1959 (age 59)
Gosport, Hampshire
Alma materMountview Academy of Theatre Arts
OccupationDirector, writer, producer, actor, video diarist, TV presenter.
RelativesKeith Allen (brother)
Lily Allen (niece)
Alfie Allen (nephew)

Kevin Allen (born 15 September 1959) is a film director, screenwriter, film producer and actor. Allen came to promimence with the notable BBC film "On the March with Bobby's Army", and for writing and directing his debut feature movie, the Welsh cult classic Twin Town.

He also directed and co-wrote the movie adaptation of poet, Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood, selected as the British entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards.

Allen also directed the Hollywood feature films, The Big Tease and Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London and the first series of ITV's Benidorm, along with numerous other films and documentaries.

Allen also played a key role in assisting Swansea City Council's 2017 bid to become the 2021 UK City of Culture.[1]

Early life[edit]

Kevin Edward Allen is the son of a Royal Naval submarine engineer, younger brother of comedian/actor, Keith Allen and uncle of both singer songwriter, Lily Allen and Game of Thrones actor, Alfie Allen.

He was born in Gosport, England, near his father’s submarine base, but spent most of his childhood in his mother’s homeland, Wales and British military outposts such as Malta and Singapore, where he attended Royal Naval schools, before the family settled back in Loughor, Wales in 1969. There he went to Penyrheol Comprehensive School, where his only interests were drama, art, technical drawing, football and rugby.

Allen made his stage debut in a Gang Show with the 1st Loughor Scout Troop and was a founding member of the West Glamorgan County Youth Theatre[2] and a member of the National Youth Theatre of Wales, before choosing the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts[3] over completing his A levels. In London he worked during the college holidays selling ice-cream from a van, frying fish in the London Zoo cafeteria, working in the post-room at Thomsons Holidays, at the laundry at The Whittington Hospital, and being taught to cook by a Moroccan chef at The Dorchester, where he was a kitchen porter.

Career[edit]

During the early 1990s he continued to act, starring with Hugh Grant in the BBC’s The Trials of Oz[4] and alongside Kristin Scott Thomas in Channel 4's 'Look at it This Way'[5]. Allen also featured in many episodes of The Comic Strip[6], also on Channel 4, and his was a regularly seen face in Absolutely Fabulous, The Bill, French and Saunders[7], Murder Most Horrid[8] and Bottom. He worked as a runner in almost every department on many film and TV productions, prompting him to buy his first Super-8 camera with which to cut his directorial teeth on small experimental films and pop-promos for 'Pete Sing - The Rocking Sikh', among others. He then landed himself an early S4C Welsh-language film commission 'Yr Darian' (The Shield) set in Naples when Diego Maradona secured the city with its winning of the Italian football league - and Allen’s unique behind-the-scenes camera technique became the springboard for his future film-making success.

He next starred on stage, alongside Dawn French in Ben Elton's West End hit Silly Cow[9] at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. He also starred with Dame Diana Rigg in Howard Brenton's Berlin Bertie [10] at London's Royal Court Theatre (directed by Danny Boyle). He received a Fringe First Theatre Award[11] at the Edinburgh Festival in 1988 for his starring role in Sean Mathias' A Prayer for Wings[citation needed] directed by Dame Joan Plowright.[12]

Allen made the notable film 'On The March With Bobby's Army'[13][14] (BBC-1991) - a highly acclaimed 2-hour solo undercover film covering English football hooligans at the Italia 90 World Cup. His ground-breaking behind-the-scenes filming techniques contributed significantly to sports TV coverage evolving into what it is today. He presented the BBC football series Standing Room Only and wrote and directed several documentaries for the BBC, including 'Bombay Brown Wash', 'Booze Bores Barbours and Brilliance' and 'Rotten to the Core'[15].

In 1995 Allen also starred as DC Kray alongside Rowan Atkinson in the first series of BBC's comedy series The Thin Blue Line[16], while writing Twin Town.

Allen’s debut feature movie, a cult classic, was Twin Town. It was BAFTA-nominated and a BAFTA Cymru winner[17] and premiered at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.[18][19] Twin Town was also nominated for a Golden Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival[20] and helped launch the film careers of actors Rhys Ifans[21] and Dougray Scott[22].

After this, he went on to direct Hollywood feature film The Big Tease[23].

He supervised and developed projects in Hollywood including ‘Coming Out’ for Milk Wood Films and 'Cheek to Cheek'‚ a feature film collaboration with Gene Wilder. Allen set up Airstream Films[24] at this time‚ developing a diverse slate of feature projects with his producing partner, Kate McCreery.

He then directed Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London.

After his mainstream success, Allen chose to bow out of Hollywood, so relocated with his young family to the Republic of Ireland in 2004, where he designed and built a timber eco-house and became a rare-breed pig farmer[25]. In 2005 Allen adapted the Luis Stevenson classic book ‘Treasure Island’ as a feature Film and TV series for Working Title Films.

Allen directed the first series of ITV's Benidorm in 2007[26], for which he was nominated for his second BAFTA award.

Allen and playwright/novelist Patrick McCabe were organisers and creative directors of The Flat Lake Literary & Arts Festival[27] which was held annually for five years in County Monaghan, Ireland from 2007 to 2011. The Flat Lake was a favourite performing venue of Poet Laureate Seamus Heaney, Colm Toibin and a star-studded array of Irish literary giants.

In 2013 Allen directed "Y-Syrcas (S4C)" [28] which was nominated for a BAFTA Cymru Award. Y-Syrcas also won the audience and jury awards[29] at The European Minority Language Film Festival 2014[30].

Allen's film version of Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood was shot in two language versions, English and Welsh, and the Welsh film was selected as the British entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards.[31] and was nominated for a BAFTA award in 2015 and several BAFTA Cymru awards. He played a key role in assisting Swansea City Council's 2017 bid[32] to become the 2021 UK City of Culture.

Other[edit]

With author Pat McCabe, Allen helped create the Flat Lake Literary & Arts Festival in Ireland.[citation needed] He farmed rare-breed saddle-back pigs and introduced the Mangalitza strain to Irish pig farming.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-40617307
  2. ^ "(no title)". wgytc.co.uk.
  3. ^ [https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=4eqo24naS48C&pg=PT9&lpg=PT9&dq=%22kevin+allen%22+%22mountview%22&source=bl&ots=zHbDBP9yhm&sig=LCB__6r_R3DklwCODzgAIfxRBXw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiEgJi-4LzdAhVOGt8KHczHCXgQ6AEwEHoECDgQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22kevin%20allen%22%20%22mountview%22&f=false, London[citation needed]
  4. ^ "The Trials of Oz (1991)".
  5. ^ "Look at It This Way" – via www.imdb.com.
  6. ^ "Funseekers (1988)" – via www.imdb.com.
  7. ^ "Series Four". eddypiehands.tripod.com.
  8. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0653349/
  9. ^ Limited, Alamy. "Stock Photo - Dawn French with Kevin Allen in play by Ben Elton called Silly Cow". Alamy.
  10. ^ "Theatre collections: record view - Special Collections & Archives - University of Kent". www.kent.ac.uk.
  11. ^ "Theatre awards - Edinburgh Festival Fringe".
  12. ^ "Joan Plowright Biography (1929-)". www.filmreference.com.
  13. ^ "KEVIN ALLEN'S ITALIA'90 WORLD CUP VIDEO DIARY".
  14. ^ "The Football Fly. 10 Best Football Documentaries. UK". The Football Fly, Home page, player stories UK.
  15. ^ Allon, Yoram; Cullen, Del; Patterson, Hannah (16 September 2018). "Contemporary British and Irish Film Directors: A Wallflower Critical Guide". Wallflower Press – via Google Books.
  16. ^ "The Thin Blue Line (TV Series 1995–1996)" – via www.imdb.com.
  17. ^ http://awards.bafta.org/award/1998/cymru/original-music
  18. ^ Elley, Derek (12 February 1997). "Twin Town".
  19. ^ "Urban Cinefile ALLEN, KEVIN : TWIN TOWN". www.urbancinefile.com.au.
  20. ^ "Berlinale: 1997 Programme". berlinale.de. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  21. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Ifans, Rhys (1966-) Credits". www.screenonline.org.uk.
  22. ^ "The lowdown on actor Dougray Scott who is starring in The Woman In White". 30 April 2018.
  23. ^ TURAN, KENNETH (28 January 2000). "'Big Tease' Snips Sweetly at L.A.'s Mane Profession" – via LA Times.
  24. ^ "AIRSTREAM FILMS LIMITED - Officers (free information from Companies House)". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk.
  25. ^ "Kevin Allen interview: 'I gave up filmmaking for 8 years and became a farmer'".
  26. ^ Guide, British Comedy. "Benidorm cast and crew credits - British Comedy Guide". British Comedy Guide.
  27. ^ "Flat Lake festival was held on the grounds of Hilton Park a unique artist festival - Hilton Park". www.hiltonpark.ie.
  28. ^ "Y Syrcas - Film Hub Wales - Canolfan Ffilm Cymru". www.filmhubwales.org.
  29. ^ "European Minority Film Festival". minority-film.eu.
  30. ^ "European Minority Film Festival". 28 January 2016 – via Wikipedia.
  31. ^ "81 Countries in Competition For 2015 Foreign Language Film Oscar". AMPAS. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  32. ^ "Swansea 'thrill' at culture shortlist". 15 July 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.