Michael Winterbottom Biography

Michael Winterbottom photo

Born: March 29, 1961

MICHAEL WINTERBOTTOM

Date of Birth: March 29, 1961

Born in Blackburn, Lancashire, Michael Winterbottom earned a degree at Oxford and received film training in Bristol and London. After beginning his professional career as a film editor for Thames Television, he directed two documentaries about Ingmar Bergman and a few television series, most notably the acclaimed BBC drama Family (1994).

Winterbottom first gained recognition for his filming talents with two films in 1995. The first was Butterfly Kiss, a controversial film that looked at two lesbians (Saskia Reeves and Amanda Plummer) who went on a killing spree across England. The second film was Go Now which is about a man whose life is turned inside out after he is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The film starred Robert Carlyle and Juliet Aubrey and showcased strong performances from both.

Winterbottom followed Go Now with two films that were in a much darker emotional vein: Jude, his 1996 adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure and Welcome to Sarajevo(1997). Both received a warm reception but no awards. Although they received largely positive critical notices, audiences stayed away due in part to the difficult subject matter.

After making the romantic crime drama I Want You (1998), Winterbottom directed one of his most anticipated films to date, Wonderland (1999). An ensemble drama focusing on the lives of three lower-middle class sisters in London, the film marked a departure from the kind of emotionally devastating works with which Winterbottom had made his name. That same year he released With or Without You, a romantic drama about a couple whose marriage is threatened when old flames and amorous pen pals enter the picture. A year later he completed The Claim (2000) starring Peter Mullan, Wes Bentley, Sarah Polley and Milla Jovovich.

He won a highly coveted BAFTA Film Award for In This World (2002), as well as the Golden Berlin Bear, the Peace Film Award and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 2003 Berlin International Film Festival. Winterbottom's next film, Code 46, starring Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton, won Grand Prize at the Catalonian Film Festival and Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2006) was nominated for Best British Film at the 2006 BAFTA awards. Also in 2006, he won Best Director for The Road to Guantanamo at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 2010, Winterbottom directed The Trip, an improvised six-episode comedy series that received several nominations and won the BAFTA TV Award nomination for Best Male Performance in a Comedy Role. The series was later edited down into a feature film and premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. Next, the director turned to a more serious subject matter with his film Trishna (2012) about a rural Indian woman (played by Freida Pinto) who falls in love with a young, wealthy British-Indian businessman.

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