The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) today announced that award-winning actor, producer, writer, and director Noel Clarke, will receive the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the 74th EE British Academy Film Awards. The award will be presented on Saturday, the 10th of April as part of the EE BAFTA Film Awards Opening Night ceremony in London.
Studying Media at the University of North London, he won the Laurence Olivier Award for 'Most Promising Newcomer' for his performance in the play Where Do We Live at the Royal Court back in 2002. His very first TV appearance in 2001's Channel 4 series, Metrosexuality, saw him go on take the newcomer role in the existing ensemble of the Auf Wiedersehen Pet revival on the BBC. His best-known role would follow, Doctor Who companion Mickey Smith. But it was writing and starring in the Hood trilogy, Kidulthood (2006), Adulthood (2008) and Brotherhood (2016), the latter two which he directed, that gained him the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2009. And it was this – and related roles – that saw Noel Clarke play a pivotal role in bringing diversity to British screens in front and behind the camera, in both words and deeds, pushing under-represented talent and stories to the forefront of British cinema and television.
In 2007, Clarke co-founded his own production company, Unstoppable Entertainment, later joining with fellow actor/producer Jason Maza. Their goal is to champion fresh, emerging and diverse voices. Since then, the company has produced over 10 feature films including Jessica Hynes' directorial debut The Fight and 10×10, directed by Suzi Ewing and starring Luke Evans and Kelly Reilly. In 2018, the company joined forces with All3Media and launched Unstoppable Film and Television to expand their remit to include television.
Under his expanded production banner, Clarke co-created and stars in Sky One's original drama Bulletproof with Ashley Walters. The series has recently been confirmed for a fourth series set to start filming later this year.
Clarke can currently be seen in the Sky Cinema original film SAS: Red Notice opposite Sam Heughan, Andy Serkis and Tom Wilkinson and will next appear as the lead in the new ITV drama Viewpoint due out this Spring.
The Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award is presented annually in honour of Michael Balcon, the British film producer known for his work with Ealing Studios. Andy Serkis was the recipient at the last years' awards and previous recipients include Ridley and Tony Scott, Film4 Productions, Working Title Films, Angela Allen, the Harry Potter series of films, John Hurt, Tessa Ross, Peter Greenaway, BBC Films, Angels Costumes, Curzon, The National Film and Television School and Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley, co-founders of Number 9 Films.
Marc Samuelson, Chair of BAFTA's Film Committee said: "Noel is an inspiration to me and to many others, for his central and much-needed role in supporting and championing diverse voices in the British film industry. He is a multi-hyphenate who early on in his career has managed successfully to cross the line from respected actor to filmmaker. He truly is able to do it all – acting, writing, directing and producing. His authentic portrayal of London life in his critically acclaimed Hood trilogy cemented his place in British cinema and he continues to push boundaries with his work today. He is now building a hugely successful production company, giving opportunities to a wide range of talented people from many different under-represented groups. I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for this year's award."
Noel Clarke commented: "Thank you BAFTA for this acknowledgment and recognition of my work over the past two decades. I will endeavour to continue to make ground-breaking work and open doors for underrepresented people that may not often get a chance."
This year, the EE British Academy Film Awards will be celebrated across the weekend of the 10th and 11th of April. Two shows, recognising the very best in film of the past year, will be broadcast virtually from London's Royal Albert Hall. The first show, celebrating the craft of film, will be broadcast on Saturday, the 10th of April on BBC Two. The show, on Sunday, the 11th of April, will be broadcast on BBC One.