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Steve McQueen becomes youngest director to be awarded BFI Fellowship

The 12 Years a Slave filmmaker said he was "honoured" to receive the BFI's highest accolade

Published: Wednesday, 24th August 2016 at 8:45 am

Steve McQueen, the director of 12 Years a Slave, will become the youngest director to receive a fellowship from the British Film Institute.


The accolade will be presented to him during the annual awards ceremony at the London Film Festival on 15th October, six days after his 47th birthday.

McQueen’s collection of critically acclaimed films include Hunger (2008) and Shame (2011) as well as the groundbreaking 2013 film 12 Years a Slave, for which he became the first, and still only, black director to win a best picture Oscar.

Also a visual artist, McQueen won the Turner prize in 1999.

He will join more than 80 other BFI fellows including Elizabeth Taylor, Martin Scorsese, Danny Boyle, Clint Eastwood, Hugh Grant, Cate Blanchett and Al Pacino.

McQueen said he was honoured to receive the BFI’s highest accolade: “I first walked into the BFI library and cinema 28 years ago. To think that I will now be a fellow and honorary member, with such a distinguished list of people, is mind-blowing. I’m humbly honoured.”

Josh Berger, chair of the BFI, said: “As winner of both the Turner prize and an academy award, Steve is pre-eminent in the world of film and the moving image.

“He is one of the most influential and important British artists of the past 25 years and his work, both short and long-form, has consistently explored the endurance of humanity ‐ even when it is confronted by inhumane cruelty ‐ with a poetry and visual style that he has made his own.”

Although McQueen will be the youngest man, and youngest director, to become a BFI fellow, he won’t be the youngest overall: the actress Helena Bonham Carter was 46 and five months when she received her fellowship in October 2012.


McQueen is currently working on his first ever television drama for the BBC, with a six-part series telling the story of a West Indian community in London from the 1960s to today.


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