Alan Parker

For other uses, see Alan Parker (disambiguation).
Sir Alan Parker
CBE
Alan Parker (Director), London, 2012.jpg
Alan Parker at his Soho Offices, London, April 2008
Born Alan William Parker
(1944-02-14) 14 February 1944 (age 73)
Islington, London, England
Education Dame Alice Owen's School
Occupation
Years active 1971-present
Website alanparker.com

Sir Alan William Parker, CBE (born 14 February 1944) is an English film director, producer and screenwriter. Parker's early career, beginning in his late teens, was spent as a copywriter and director of television advertisements. After about ten years of filming adverts, many of which won awards for creativity, he began screenwriting and directing films.

Parker is noted for having a wide range of filmmaking styles and working in differing genres. He has directed musicals, including Bugsy Malone (1976), Fame (1980), Pink Floyd – The Wall (1982), The Commitments (1991), and Evita (1996); true-story dramas, including Midnight Express (1978), Mississippi Burning (1988), Come See the Paradise (1990), and Angela's Ashes (1999); family dramas, including Shoot the Moon (1982), and horrors and thrillers including Angel Heart (1987), and The Life of David Gale (2003).

His films have won nineteen BAFTA awards, ten Golden Globes and ten Academy Awards. Parker was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the British film industry and knighted as a Knight Bachelor in 2002. He has been active in both the British cinema and American cinema, along with being a founding member of the Directors Guild of Great Britain and lecturing at various film schools. In 2013 he received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award, the highest honour the British Film Academy can give a filmmaker. Parker donated his personal archive to the British Film Institute's National Archive in 2015. [1]

Early years

Parker was born into a working-class family in Islington, North London, the son of Elsie Ellen, a dressmaker, and William Leslie Parker, a house painter. [2] He grew up on a council estate of Islington, which has always made it easy for him to remain "almost defiantly working-class in attitudes" said the British novelist and screenwriter Ray Connolly. Parker says that although he had his share of fun growing up, he always felt he was studying for his secondary school exams, while his friends were out having a good time. [3] He had an "ordinary background" with no aspirations to become a film director, nor did anyone in his family have any desire to be involved in the film industry. The closest he ever came, he says, to anything related to films was learning photography, a hobby inspired by his uncles: "That early introduction to photography is something I remember." [4]

Parker attended Dame Alice Owen's School, concentrating on science in his last year. He left school when he was eighteen to work in the advertising field, hoping that the advertising industry might be a good way to meet girls. [3] His first job was office boy in the post room of an advertising agency. But more than anything, he says, he wanted to write, and would write essays and ads when he got home after work. [4] His colleagues also encouraged him to write, which soon led him to a better position in the company:

I ended up getting a job as a copywriter. The great thing about advertising from a British point of view, is that it didn't have a kind of class distinction as other jobs had. If you were half bright, they gave you a chance. I was very fortunate that they gave me that chance. [4]

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