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Monday, 31 December, 2001, 00:00 GMT
Alan Parker: Pioneer of UK cinema
Angela's Ashes
Sir Alan directed Angela's Ashes in 1999
Alan Parker has been given a knighthood for his tireless promotion of the UK film industry.

Already a CBE, he has long been an outspoken critic of the lack of funding for UK film forcing homegrown film talent to Hollywood.

In 1999 he was handed the chairmanship of the British Film Council, giving him the opportunity to steer the country's film policy.

Bugsy Malone
Bugsby Malone was Sir Alan's first feature film
Unlike many film-makers, Sir Alan has not been bound by any film genre, directing anything from musicals to hard-hitting political dramas.

And awards have poured his way since he stepped from behind an advertising agency desk to make his mark in the movies.

The London-born director, writer and producer started his full-length film career with the musical Bugsy Malone.

The 1976 hit saw a cast made up entirely of children, in a pastiche of 1920s gangster movies.

True story

His vision earned the movie five Bafta awards and an Oscar nomination for best music for composer Paul Williams.

Sir Alan's next project saw a great departure from his debut.

Midnight Express in 1978 was a harrowing true story of a young man's incarceration in a Turkish jail for drug smuggling.

The film picked up two Academy Awards for best music and for Oliver Stone as best writer.

It was also nominated for four others, including a best director nod for Sir Alan, and picked up six Golden Globes and four Baftas.

Mississippi Burning
Mississippi Burning was a powerful drama about racisim
Back in the musical genre, Sir Alan tackled the big screen version of Fame, a film about performing arts students in New York.

Although the there were many big song and dance numbers there was also a political message about race and poverty.

The Wall

Fame won two Oscars, for best score and best song.

The 1980s saw Sir Alan direct movies such as family drama Shoot the Moon, the seminal Pink Floyd film The Wall and the horror Angel Heart.

It also saw him direct the film Mississippi Burning, a hard-hitting thriller about race in the deep south.

Sir Alan was nominated for a best director Oscar and the best cinematography award was won by Peter Biziou.

The 90s saw another big string of hits such as the Irish comedy The Commitments, The Road to Wellville and Evita, starring Madonna.

Outstanding contribution

His last big-screen project was the adaptation of Frank McCourt's Pulitzer Prize-winning Angela's Ashes, which he directed and produced.

Pink Floyd
Sir Alan tackled the Pink Floyd movie
Even before taking the chairmanship of the Film Institute, Sir Alan was interested in promoting the UK industry.

He was a founding member of the Directors' Guild of Great Britain and has lectured at film schools around the world.

Sir Alan received the Michael Balcon Award in 1985 from Bafta for his outstanding contribution to UK cinema.

He was made a CBE in 1995, also for his services to the UK film industry.

See also:

04 Aug 99 | Entertainment
Parker calls the shots
02 Nov 98 | Entertainment
Madonna joins tribute to director Parker
02 May 00 | UK
22m boost for British films
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