Stephen Walker (filmmaker)

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Stephen Walker
Stephen Walker.jpg
BornApril 22, 1962
London
NationalityBritish
OccupationAuthor and Filmmaker
Known forShockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima, Young @ Heart, A Boy Called Alex

Stephen Walker is a British filmmaker and author. He was educated at Oxford and Harvard universities. He has directed around 30 films,[1] for the BBC, the UK's Channel 4, ITV, PBS and numerous other broadcasters. He has twice been voted in the top 10 directors in the UK by Broadcast Magazine.[2] His production company is Walker George Films which he co-directs with filmmaker Sally George.

He has also written two books, King of Cannes (Bloomsbury 2000),[3] the story of four obsessed filmmakers who crash the Cannes Film Festival to sell their movies. His second book was Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima (Harper Collins 2005),[4] a New York Times Bestseller which won the 2006 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction. Shockwave is now in development with Working Title Films as a feature film with a screenplay by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Hossein Amini.[5]

Among his many film awards, Stephen Walker has won a BAFTA, and was nominated for three further BAFTAs (including Best Documentary and Best Director) for his Channel 4 documentary, A Boy Called Alex, a film described by The Guardian as “glorious.”[6] He has also won an Emmy and two Rose d'Ors, Europe's most prestigious television prize. His film Young@Heart, the tale of a chorus of American seniors who sing rock music, won the Los Angeles Audience Award in 2007 and went on to win a further 23 film festival audience awards worldwide including Paris, Sydney, Warsaw, Nashville and Atlanta. Young@Heart was released in 250 theaters by Fox Searchlight in the US in 2008 gaining a tomatometer audience score of 91%.[7] A key scene from the movie where the late octogenarian Fred Knittle sings Coldplay's Fix You has had almost 2.5m hits on YouTube.[8]

Stephen Walker is currently developing A Boy Called Alex as a dramatized feature film for DNA Films and Film 4. The story is about a brilliantly talented teenage musical prodigy at Eton College who suffers from the disease cystic fibrosis. The screenwriter is Tom Edge who also wrote for Netflix's hit series The Crown,[9] and also Judy, [10] the 2019 biopic of singer Judy Garland.

Stephen Walker's latest project (autumn 2019) is a new book about the dramatic race to put the first human being in space in 1961. The book is to be published in spring 2021 by Harper Collins in the US and the UK, for the sixtieth anniversary of this epoch-making moment in history.

Filmography[edit]

Writing[edit]

Stephen Walker's first book, King of Cannes: Madness, Mayhem and the Movies was published by Bloomsbury and Penguin USA in 2000. Based on his acclaimed BBC documentary and film festival favorite Waiting for Harvey,[12] it was described by the Guardian as “entertaining and hilarious.”[13]

His second book Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima (2005), tells the gripping story of the final three months before the dropping of the atomic bomb in August 1945. It was published by Harper Collins and in a number of foreign languages (including in Japan) to considerable critical acclaim, winning favorable comparisons to John Hersey's classic postwar account Hiroshima. It receiving starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews[14] and was described as “electrifying” (Chicago Tribune), “a page-turner” (Entertainment Weekly), and “stunning…among the most immediate and thrilling works of history I have ever read” (Irish Times).[15]

Shockwave is presently in development as a feature film with Working Title Films and Universal. The screenplay is by Hossein Amini and the director is expected to be Cary Fukunaga, who is currently directing the new James Bond movie.[16]

Stephen Walker's next non-fiction book is a tense narrative set at the heart of the Cold War in the spring of 1961 when the US and the USSR raced to put the first human into space. The book will be published in 2021 by Harper Collins in the US and UK, sixty years after the Russian Yuri Gagarin successfully orbited the Earth. In late September 2019, as part of his ongoing research, Stephen will travel to the Baikonur cosmodrome in the Kazakhstan desert to witness the launch of the next Soyuz manned mission to the International Space Station. The rocket will blast off from the same pad as Gagarin in April 1961.

Education and Personal life[edit]

Stephen Walker was educated at St Paul's School, London[17] and Worcester College, Oxford University, where he gained a BA in Modern History. He subsequently won a John Lounsbery Fellowship to study as a postgraduate at Harvard University, receiving a master's degree in Philosophy and History of Science, before joining the BBC.

His former partner is the television producer and director Sally George. They separated in 2011 but run their company Walker George Films together. In his spare time he flies a tiny plane for recreation. He lives in London and has one daughter.

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0908223/
  2. ^ 18 December 2007 (2007-12-18). "Hot 100: Directors | News | Broadcast". Broadcastnow.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  3. ^ https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/King_of_Cannes.html?id=_Fg7AAAAMAAJ&redir_esc=y
  4. ^ Shockwave by Stephen Walker https://www.amazon.com/Shockwave-Countdown-Hiroshima-Stephen-Walker/dp/0060742852
  5. ^ Hiroshima https://www.curtisbrown.co.uk/news/hossein-amini-to-write-universal-pictures-hiroshima-film-shockwave
  6. ^ Guardian review of A Boy Called Alex 25.01.08 https://www.theguardian.com/culture/tvandradioblog/2008/jan/25/lastnightstvaboycalledal
  7. ^ https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/youngheart
  8. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-e8LGMPTtE
  9. ^ https://www.unitedagents.co.uk/tom-edge
  10. ^ (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7549996)
  11. ^ Faking It: Punk Rocker to Orchestra Conductor (2002) at Channel Four
  12. ^ https://www.idfa.nl/en/film/a19939b1-c6bf-454e-bb05-cbfce3de9acd/waiting-for-harvey
  13. ^ Guardian 01.06.02 https://www.theguardian.com/books/2002/jun/01/highereducation.news
  14. ^ https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/stephen-walker/shockwave/
  15. ^ Irish Times, 06.08.05 https://www.irishtimes.com/news/a-peep-into-hell-1.477274
  16. ^ Cary Fukunaga to direct Stephen Walker’s Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima for the big screen https://deadline.com/2017/02/cary-fukunaga-hiroshima-atomic-bomb-movie-universal-shockwave-hossein-amini-1201913949/
  17. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Paul%27s_School,_London

External links[edit]