Career Girls: About The Filmmakers

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MIKE LEIGH Writer/Director
Mike Leigh, writer and film director, was born in 1943 in Salford, Lancashire near the city of Manchester in England. He trained briefly at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) as an actor but after finding that experience disappointing, moved on to South London's Camberwell Art School, the Central School of Arts Crafts and the London Film School.

His first feature was BLEAK MOMENTS (1971), which won the Grande Prix at the Chicago and Locarno Film Festivals. This was followed by the full-length television films HARD LABOUR (1973), NUTS IN MAY (1975), THE KISS OF DEATH (1976), ABIGAIL'S PARTY (1977), WHO'S WHO (1978), GROWN-UPS (1980), HOME SWEET HOME (1982), MEANTIME (1983), and FOUR DAYS IN JULY (1984), which was shot entirely on location in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His feature films HIGH HOPES (1988), LIFE IS SWEET (1990) and NAKED (1992) have been highly successful internationally, all winning numerous prestigious awards, including Best Director and Best Actor (David Thewlis) for NAKED at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. During this time, Leigh also made the highly-acclaimed short films, THE SHORT AND CURLIES (1987) and A SENSE OF HISTORY (1992).

In May 1996, shortly after shooting CAREER GIRLS, Mike Leigh took SECRETS & LIES to the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d'Or and Best Actress for Brenda Blethyn. SECRETS & LIES went on to become Mike Leigh's biggest commercial and boxoffice success, grossing $40 million theatrically worldwide and winning numerous other awards in the past year, including a Golden Globe for Brenda Blethyn, the LA Critics' Award for Best Film, Director and Actress (Blethyn) and most recently three BAFTAs (British Academy Awards). SECRETS & LIES was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress (Brenda Blethyn), Best Supporting Actress (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) and Best Screenplay.

Simon Channing-Williams' association with Mike Leigh began when he worked as Leigh's first assistant director on the 1980 BBC film GROWN UPS. After working with Mike Leigh again as co-producer on the BAFTA nominated short film THE SHORT AND CURLIES and as producer on the feature film HIGH HOPES they decided to form an ongoing partnership and set up Thin Man Films for this purpose.

Their first project for Thin Man Films was the feature LIFE IS SWEET, which gained critical honors and won new audiences for Leigh's work internationally. They then collaborated on the 1992 short A SENSE OF HISTORY, named Best Short Film at the Clermont Ferrand Film Festival, and the multi-award-winning NAKED. Their last project prior to CAREER GIRLS was their biggest hit to date - the Palme d'Or winning SECRETS & LIES.

Outside of his relationship with Mike Leigh and Thin Man Films, Simon ChanningWilliams has produced several other projects, including PUCCINI for director Tony Palmer, the feature film WHEN THE WHALES CAME and JACK AND SARAH, directed by Tim Sullivan, which was an enormous hit at the UK box-office in 1995.

As Executive Producer, his credits have included the BAFTA nominated LITTLE PIG ROBINSON (TVS), directed by Alan Bridges, and the short film THE PAN LOAF, winner of a Silver Hugo at the Chicago Film Festival and Best Short Film at the Cork Film Festival.

DICK POPE Director of Photography
Dick Pope has worked with Mike Leigh on the award-winning LIFE IS SWEET, NAKED and SECRETS & LIES, and the short film A SENSE OF HISTORY. His feature film credits include THE REFLECTING SKIN, and most recently, Beeban Kidron's AMY FOSTER. In December '96, Pope won the Golden Medal at Cameraimage 96, the fourth International Festival of the Art of Cinematography for his work on SECRETS & LIES. He also has extensive experience in documentary fllmmaking.

EVE STEWART Production Designer
Eve Stewart has previously worked with Mike Leigh as art director on SECRETS & LIES, NAKED and A SENSE OF HISTORY, as well as alongside him on a number of stage plays as production and costume designer.

CAREER GIRLS marks Robin Sales' first work with Mike Leigh since the television drama FOUR DAYS IN JULY. Previously they had worked on HOME SWEET HOME and GROWN UPS. Sales' other credits include SWANN, and, for television "Sharpe," "A Woman at War" and "Silas Marner."

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