MIKE FIGGIS Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Name: Michael Figgis                                                                     
Born: 28 February 1948 Carlisle, Cumberland, England, UK                                 
Mike Figgis (born February 28, 1948) is an English film director, writer, and           
Figgis was born in Carlisle, England and grew up in Africa. His early interest           
was in music and he played keyboards for Bryan Ferry's first band. After working         
in theatre (he was a musician and performer in the experimental group The People         
Show) he made his feature film debut with the low budget Stormy Monday in 1988.         
The film earned him attention as a director who could get interesting                   
performances from established Hollywood actors. He initially made a splash in           
America in the 1990s with the gritty thriller Internal Affairs that helped to           
revive the career of Richard Gere. His next Hollywood feature Mr. Jones was             
misunderstood by the studio who attempted to market the downbeat story as a             
feelgood movie resulting in a box office flop. Figgis poured his disenchantment         
with the film industry into Leaving Las Vegas, creating star turns for Nicholas         
Cage and Elisabeth Shue which earned Figgis Academy Award nominations for Best           
Directing and Best Screenplay. His most ambitious film to date is the low budget         
film The Loss of Sexual Innocence, a loosely based autiobiographical movie of           
the director himself.                                                                   
Forays into digital video technology led him to conceive of and direct Timecode,         
which took advantage of the technology to create an ensemble film shot                   
simultaneously with four cameras all in one take and also presented                     
simultaneously and uncut, dividing the screen into four quarters. Since then,           
his work output has almost exclusively been on the cutting edge of creative             
digital filmmaking, with the exception of star-laden Cold Creek Manor. He               
returned to the Timecode quad-screen approach for his section of Ten Minutes             
Older, but has also worked on documentary pieces including a segment of The             
Blues (called Red, White, and Blues) and a short piece on the flamenco. His             
curiosity with the cinematic use of time has led him to cite Robert Enrico's             
film version of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge as an influential film for him.       
Figgis has a well-documented love-hate relationship with the Hollywood system           
which leads him to often be an outspoken critic of the system while also                 
despairing the lack of a better alternative, in his mind, at the moment. At an           
appearance at Camerimage in 2005, he expressed the view that filmmaking had             
become "boring and perhaps need[ed] to become even worse before anything better         
can emerge" successfully at least in reaction.                                           
He was the founding patron of the independent filmmakers online community               
Shooting People. Adetailt one of their events in 2005 he said that filmmaking           
with a small digital camera made the experience more like painting or novel             
writing than the movie industry. His fascination with camera technology has also         
led him to create a camera stabilization rig for smaller video cameras, called           
the Fig Rig which places the camera on a platform held within a steering wheel-like     
system and has since been released by Manfrotto Group.                                   
In 2007, Mike Figgis shot his newest feature "Love Live Long" set between               
Istanbul and Bratislava on the infamous Gumball 3000 Rally, starring Sophie             
Winkleman and Daniel Lapaine.                                                           
Figgis for several years had a relationship with the actress Saffron Burrows and         
cast her in several films.                                                               
He is cousin to Irish filmmakers Jonathan Figgis and Jason Figgis who run the           
award-winning film production company October Eleven Pictures in Ireland. His           
son's Arlen Figgis and Louis Figgis have also followed their father in to the           
film industry and are established editors and producers respectively.