PROTAGONIST OF EUROPEAN CINEMA
Stephen Frears at the 18th edition of European Film Festival (Lecce, 3 rd – 8 th April) directed by
Alberto La Monica and Cristina Soldano. The filmmaker will attend the Festival on its closing day, April
8th. Born in 1941, Frears is known by critics and audiences for the cynical and irreverent style
characterizing most of his films. After a series of movie hits filmed in his homeland – including My
Beautiful Laundrette (1985) and Dangerous Liaisons (1988) with Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle
Pfeiffer – 1990’s The Grifters was the first American work by the director from Leicester, strongly
wanted and produced by Martin Scorsese and boasting an exceptional cast: John Cusack, Annette
Bening and Anjelica Huston. The film earned him a nomination to the Academy Award for Best
Director. It was followed by many other successful films such as Hero (1992), High Fidelity (2000),
Dirty Pretty Things (2002). 2006 was the year of The Queen with an amazing Helen Mirren, who won
an Oscar for Best Actress and the Coppa Volpi Award at Venice Film Festival. With the dramatic film
Philomena (2013), starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, Frears received awards around the world,
including Best Screenplay (to Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope) at Venice in 2013 and at the BAFTA Awards
in 2014 and the David di Donatello for Best European Film, in addition to numerous nominations at
the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.
In 2015 he directed The Program, about the story of cyclist Lance Armstrong (Ben Foster), and in 2016
Florence starring Meryl Streep. With the same talent and effectiveness, Frears has also made many TV
films during his career.
Frears is currently in post-production on his new film Victoria and Abdul, starring once again Judi
Dench in the role of Queen Victoria, together with Ali Fazalas, who plays Abdul Karim, and Michael
Based on a true story and adapted from the novel “Victoria and Abdul: The True Story of the Queen's
Closest Confidant“ by Shrabani Basu, the films relates the story of the peculiar friendship between a
young Indian boy and Queen Victoria during her 1887 Jubilee.
The tribute to Stephen Frears – like those to Agnieszka Holland and Nuri Bilge Ceylan – is part of the
“Protagonists of European Cinema” section of the Festival, and will include the awarding of the Golden
Olive for Career Achievement and the screening of the following 10 films:
My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), Dangerous Liaisons (1988), The Grifters (1990), The Snapper
(1993), The Van (1996), High Fidelity (2000), Dirty Pretty Things (2002), The Queen (2006),
Philomena (2013), Florence (2016).
Produced by Apulia Film Commission Foundation and Puglia Region and funded by Patto per la Puglia
programme (FSC, Fund for Regional Development and Cohesion), the European Film Festival is
conceived and organized by the Cultural Association "Art Promotion" with the support of the
Municipality of Lecce and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism – Directorate
General for Cinema.
The European Film Festival, recognized by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage as an "event of national
interest", is a member of the Association of Italian Film Festivals and has the patronage of the
European Parliament, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (Experimental Film Centre), S.N.G.C.I.,
FIPRESCI, S.N.C.C.I., Centro Nazionale del Cortometraggio (Italian National Short Film Centre),