Mike Figgis

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Mike Figgis
Mike Figgis - Deloitte Ignite 2011 (2).jpg
Figgis at the 2011 Deloitte Ignite
Michael Figgis

1948 (age 7071)
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, composer
Years active1984–present

Michael "Mike" Figgis (born 1948) is an English film director, screenwriter, and composer. [1] He was nominated for two Academy Awards for his work in Leaving Las Vegas (1995).

Academy Awards American awards given annually for excellence in cinematic achievements

The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are a set of awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry. Given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the awards are an international recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy's voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a golden statuette, officially called the "Academy Award of Merit", although more commonly referred to by its nickname "Oscar".

<i>Leaving Las Vegas</i> 1995 film by Mike Figgis

Leaving Las Vegas is a 1995 American romantic tragedy film written and directed by Mike Figgis and based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by John O'Brien. Nicolas Cage stars as a suicidal alcoholic in Los Angeles who, divorced and recently fired, has decided to move to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. He loads a supply of liquor and beer into his BMW and gets drunk as he drives from Los Angeles to Nevada. Once there, he develops a romantic relationship with a pretty but hardened prostitute played by Elisabeth Shue, which forms the center of the film. O'Brien died by suicide after signing away the film rights to the novel.


Early life

Figgis was born in Carlisle, Cumberland, and grew up in Nairobi, Kenya until he was eight. The rest of his childhood was spent in Newcastle upon Tyne. [2]

Cumberland Historic county of England

Cumberland is a historic county of North West England that had an administrative function from the 12th century until 1974. It was bordered by Northumberland to the east, County Durham to the southeast, Westmorland and Lancashire to the south, and the Scottish counties of Dumfriesshire and Roxburghshire to the north. It formed an administrative county from 1889 to 1974 and now forms part of Cumbria.

Nairobi Capital city in Nairobi County, Kenya

Nairobi is the capital and the largest city of Kenya. The name comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nairobi, which translates to "cool water", a reference to the Nairobi River which flows through the city. The city proper had a population of 3,138,369 in the 2009 census, while the metropolitan area has a population of 6,547,547. The city is popularly referred to as the Green City in the Sun.

Kenya republic in East Africa

Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is a country in Africa with 47 semiautonomous counties governed by elected governors. At 580,367 square kilometres (224,081 sq mi), Kenya is the world's 48th largest country by total area. With a population of more than 52.2 million people, Kenya is the 27th most populous country. Kenya's capital and largest city is Nairobi while its oldest city and first capital is the coastal city of Mombasa. Kisumu City is the third largest city and also an inland port on Lake Victoria. Other important urban centres include Nakuru and Eldoret.


Figgis's early interest was in music. He played trumpet and guitar in the People Band and is audible in their first record (produced by Charlie Watts) in 1968. He also played keyboards for Bryan Ferry's first band. In 1983 he directed a theatre play, produced in Theatre Gerard-Philipe (Saint-Denis, Paris). This play performed with great success at Festival de Grenada and in Theater der Welt (Munich).

Bryan Ferry English musician

Bryan Ferry CBE is an English singer and songwriter. His voice has been described as an "elegant, seductive croon". He also established a distinctive image and sartorial style; according to The Independent, Ferry and his contemporary David Bowie influenced a generation with both their music and their appearances. Peter York described Ferry as "an art object" who "should hang in the Tate".

Theater der Welt is an international theatre festival in Germany initiated by the International Theatre Institute. The main objective is to present theatre productions from all over the world. It became triennial in 1993 and takes place each time in a different city with a different artistic director.

After working in theatre (he was a musician and performer in the experimental group People Show) [1] Figgis made his feature film debut with the low budget Stormy Monday in 1988. The film earned him attention as a director who could get interesting performances from established Hollywood actors. His first American film was Internal Affairs , which helped to revive the career of Richard Gere. His next Hollywood feature, Mr. Jones , was misunderstood by the studio, who attempted to market the downbeat story as a feelgood film, resulting in a box office flop. Figgis poured his disenchantment with the film industry into Leaving Las Vegas , which starred Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue, which earned Figgis Academy Award nominations for Best Directing and Best Screenplay. He followed this up with the romantic drama One Night Stand , starring Wesley Snipes and Nastassja Kinski, but the movie received a poor response from critics and was a commercial failure. His most ambitious film to date is the low-budget film The Loss of Sexual Innocence , a loosely based autobiographical film of the director himself.

The People Show is the longest-running experimental theatre company in England, based in the London's East End.

<i>Stormy Monday</i> (film) 1988 crime thriller film by Mike Figgis

Stormy Monday is the 1988 feature film debut of director Mike Figgis. Starring Sean Bean, Tommy Lee Jones, Sting and Melanie Griffith, and is an atmospheric, noirish thriller. The notable jazz soundtrack is also by Figgis. Being set in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, the film is something of an homage to Get Carter. The film's title refers to blues guitarist/singer T-Bone Walker's signature song "Call It Stormy Monday "

<i>Internal Affairs</i> (film) 1990 American crime thriller film directed by Mike Figgis

Internal Affairs is a 1990 American crime thriller film set in Los Angeles about the police department's Internal Affairs Division.

Forays into digital video technology led Figgis to conceive of and direct Timecode , which took advantage of the technology to create an ensemble film shot simultaneously with four cameras all in one take and also presented simultaneously and uncut, dividing the screen into four-quarters. He returned to the Timecode quad-screen approach for his section of Ten Minutes Older , but has also worked on documentary pieces including a segment of The Blues (called Red, White, and Blues) and a short piece on flamenco. His curiosity with the cinematic use of time has led him to cite Robert Enrico's 1962 film version of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge as an influential film for him. Figgis has a well-documented love-hate relationship with the Hollywood system which leads him to often be an outspoken critic of the system while also despairing the lack of a better alternative, in his mind, at the moment. At an appearance at Camerimage in 2005, he expressed the view that filmmaking had become "boring and perhaps need[ed] to become even worse before anything better can emerge" successfully at least in reaction.

Digital video is an electronic representation of moving visual images (video) in the form of encoded digital data. This is in contrast to analog video, which represents moving visual images with analog signals. Digital video comprises a series of digital images displayed in rapid succession.

<i>Ten Minutes Older</i> two 2002 anthology films with segments by 15 directors

Ten Minutes Older is a 2002 film project consisting of two compilation feature films titled The Trumpet and The Cello. The project was conceived by the producer Nicolas McClintock as a reflection on the theme of time at the turn of the Millennium. Fifteen celebrated film-makers were invited to create their own vision of what time means in ten minutes of film. The music for the compilations was composed by Paul Englishby, and performed by Hugh Masekela (trumpet) and Claudio Bohorques (cello).

Flamenco genre of Spanish music; UNESCO intangible cultural heritage

Flamenco, in its strictest sense, is a professionalized art-form based on the various folkloric music traditions of southern Spain in the autonomous communities of Andalusia, Extremadura and Murcia. In a wider sense, it refers to these musical traditions and more modern musical styles which have themselves been deeply influenced by and become blurred with the development of flamenco over the past two centuries. It includes cante (singing), toque, baile (dance), jaleo, palmas (handclapping) and pitos.

Figgis was the founding patron of the independent filmmakers online community Shooting People. At one of their events in 2005 he said that filmmaking with a small digital camera made the experience more like painting or novel writing than the movie industry. His fascination with camera technology has also led him to create a camera stabilisation rig for smaller video cameras, called the Fig Rig which places the camera on a platform held within a steering wheel-like system and has since been released by Manfrotto Group. [3]

Shooting People is an international social network for independent filmmakers that was founded in 1998 by Cath Le Couteur and Jess Search, in which members share resources and knowledge to get their films made and seen. Dedicated to the support and promotion of independent filmmaking, the company acts as an umbrella and partner for a variety of film organizations, publishing seven daily bulletins across all sectors of the industry. Additional activities include hosting the Independent Film Calendar, regular panel discussions, screenings, a Mobile Cinema and publication of "The Shooting People Shorts Directory". In 2009 Shooting People launched "Film of the Month" where active patrons in the organisation watch and review films made by members. Patrons include Mike Figgis, Nick Cave, Michael Winterbottom, Matt Groening, Sally Potter, Asif Kapadia, Kevin Smith, Drake Doremus, John Waters, Christine Vachon, Werner Herzog, and Danny Boyle.

Fig Rig is a handheld stabilization device for smaller film cameras/video cameras designed by film director Mike Figgis. The Fig Rig is made commercially by the Manfrotto Group.

Steering wheel type of steering control in vehicles and vessels (ships and boats)

A steering wheel is a type of steering control in vehicles.

In 2007, Figgis shot his newest feature Love Live Long set between Istanbul and Bratislava on the infamous Gumball 3000 Rally, starring Sophie Winkleman and Daniel Lapaine.

Figgis, since 2008, has been professor of film studies at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he conducts intensive summer seminars. [1] In 2008, he was called upon by Transport for London to help shoot a PIF entitled A Little Thought From Each of Us, A Big Difference For Everyone, encouraging more considerate behaviour on London's public transport systems, which was then shown in London cinemas. The ad comprised the screen split into four sections, each section showing one of four scenarios all on the same double-decker bus. At the end of the ad, the friction-creating scenarios were resolved and the ad ended on "A little thought from each of us. A big difference for everyone."

To promote a new camera phone, Sony Ericsson commissioned Figgis to create Life Captured, a short film made out of mobile phone snapshots taken by 14 people from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, who were selected to submit a series of photos after winning the global competition. [4]

Figgis was made an Honorary Associate of London Film School.



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  1. 1 2 3 "Mike Figgis Faculty Page at European Graduate School (Biography, bibliography and video lectures)". European Graduate School. Archived from the original on 25 November 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2010.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 November 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. "Fig Rig. Manfrotto Group". Manfrotto Group . Retrieved 6 November 2010.
  4. "Life Captured. Sony Ericsson (Sony Ericsson Launch Short Film Competition)". Seenit.co.uk. Retrieved 6 November 2010.