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Overview (1)


Mini Bio (1)

Karl Francis began making films in 1971, turning out mainly documentaries for television. He worked initially as a researcher and writer. He studied film at the late age of 26, having previously had an honours degree in Modern History, Politics & Economics. He wrote his own scripts and began directing following a deep disappointment at the way his film 'A Breed of Men', starring Stanley Baker, was directed. He went on to produce successful documentaries for television, including 'Weekend World' (presented by Peter Jay) and 'Second House' presented by Melvin Bragg. His series for the BBC - 'Man in his Place' - received brilliant reviews, which gave him showreels to sell his feature work. In 1973, he was blacklisted by the BBC for five years, so he made his own film after putting his house up for sale. It was called 'Above Us The Earth', and was described by critic John Berger as 'A film which is relentlessly and remarkably truthful... I know of no other film which has been made in which miners inhabit the film itself as if it were their own village.' He subsequently acquired the rights to a Dylan Thomas short story and made his first feature film 'The Mouse and the Woman', which again received wonderful reviews and praise from David Putnam. The New Statesman described this First World War drama as 'Illuminated by flashes of raw visual poetry.' The Sunday Express called it 'Stunningly acted' and 'eloquently photographed... turned by Francis' alchemy to golden dramatic value.' Francis then went to Alcoholics Anonymous, and in 1981 gave up drinking successfully. Since then, he produced numerous award-winning films, most of which he wrote and directed himself. These include 'Giro City' with Glenda Jackson, 'Boy Soldier' with Richard Lynch, '1996' for the BBC, 'Rebecca's Daughters' with Peter O'Toole and Joley Richardson, among many others. He mixed successful documentaries, which include the hugely important 1985 film 'Ms Rhymney Valley', an extraordinary epic telling of the Miners' Strike for the BBC from the point of view of the miners. During the mid-90s, Karl Francis took on the responsibility of becoming Head of Drama for BBC Wales, but it was not for him. He then moved abroad, making films more often in Spain and Africa. His film 'One of the Hollywood Ten', starring Jeff Goldblum, received wonderful reviews, but given its left-wing sympathies had a limited distribution. In 2007, his film 'Hope Eternal', which is a metaphysical love story about depression and grief against a powerful storyline of human trafficking, he employed 95% of black African actors and crew. This film became the 2008 UK BAFTA nomination for the Oscars. Simultaneously, Francis began researching another film on child abuse, and got himself into serious trouble, which eventually sent him into a deep depression, despite the fact that the crown prosecution service (CPS) withdrew the accusations. He accepted a caution to protect his family from the media, something he hated doing but which his friends said was the bravest thing he had done in his life. Human Rights has played a big part in his life, and he felt insulted given the fact that he informed the police of everything he was doing. Francis' work has been compared with that of Ken Loach and John Ford. He brilliantly makes documentaries look like drama, and has won awards in Europe, USA, Australia and Edinburgh for his work. His documentaries were frequently mistaken for pure drama, which Francis calls 'Welsh Realism'.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Dave Berry and David Peterson

Personal Quotes (7)

Having won awards for 'Street Life' with Helen McRory and Rhys Ifans, I was invited by the Director General of the BBC, John Birt, later Lord Birt, to join a meeting of celebrities. John offered the audience time for questions, so I asked 'where are the black actors and producers?' In a room of about 140 people, there were none and this was 1996.
Being a Welsh film director is a bit like being an Icelandic cricketer... It takes a bit of finding.
Film is an art form. Unfortunately, it's used as wallpaper. The most important thing a film maker can do is bite the hand that feeds him
Welsh tea is better than English coffee
Filmmakers who become film directors usually do it for the money, and forget the real purpose of film - to teach poetically and powerfully what our society has created. So-called 'great filmmakers' paint by numbers. The cavemen who drew images of their life on their dark walls were more honest.
The trick of filmmaking is to follow John Huston's advice, and that is to film one image only. No repeats, no take two's. That way, the producers can't screw up or ask their most recent girlfriends' input...
I have fought for equality for all races, all colours, all genders. I have had huge rows with some very famous people when casting black female actors instead of blonde white women. When I cast Eriq LaSalle and Ving Rhames as the lead actors in my film 'Murder in Oakland' for the BBC, I felt I had done something important, that is giving lead roles to relatively unknown young men. Both of whom later then had showreels of substance to continue with their careers

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