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James Mackay Poster

Biography

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Overview (1)

Born in Inverness, Inverness Shire, Scotland, UK

Mini Bio (1)

Born Inverness, Scotland in 1954, James Mackay studied film at North East London Polytechnic (now University of East London). After graduating he became Secretary of the London Film-Maker's Co-op and then Cinema Programmer. In the late 1970's Mackay produced a series of programs for the Edinburgh International Film Festival titled New British Avant-Garde films and programmed similar for the Forum section of the Berlin Film Festival later he would revisit curating as Film and Video curator of the B2 gallery 1981 - 83. He began producing in 1981 through Dark Pictures, the firm that he founded as a production and marketing company for new films and video, beginning with a series of shorts by Derek Jarman.

Those early years, 1981 - 1984, saw him produce three notable video to cinema projects; Jarman's excellent "Imagining October" and Ron Peck's highly acclaimed "What can I do with a Male Nude?", both shorts, and Jarman's feature "The Angelic Conversation".

In 1985 Mackay produced a documentary "Super Eight" for Channel 4 Television about the History of Super 8mm film-making from home movie format to political and artistic tool as well as developing Jarman's "Caravaggio" for the BFI.

In 1986 James Mackay produced "The Last of England", (Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award - Best Independent Film 1988), as well as a series of music videos, for among others, The Smiths (The Queen is Dead & Ask), Bob Geldof (In the Pouring Rain & I Cry Too) and the Pet Shop Boys, (It's a Sin & Rent). "The Queen is Dead" was released theatrically as a 35mm short. He also produced the Jarman sequence, "Depuis Le Jour", for the multi-directional feature "Aria" in the same year.

In 1989 Mackay, with his company Basilisk, produced the operatic short film "Biennale Apollo" for the Venice Biennale Musica and the film projections for the Pet Shop Boys' 1989 tour and also produced the video of the Wembley concert of that tour "Highlights". His next feature, Derek Jarman's "The Garden" (Moscow Film Festival - Audience Prize) a much acclaimed film based on the new testament was released in 1990. The films of 1989, unlike those before, were fully digital in post production achieving an even better screen quality for projection.

In 1992 Mackay produced the highly regarded "Man to Man" for BBC Television, a film of Manfred Karge's text 'Jacke wie Hose' staring Tilda Swinton and directed by John Maybury as well as the best selling video "The Gay Man's Guide to Safer Sex" for the Terrence Higgins Trust.

His 1993 production "Blue" (1993 Michael Powell Award - Best British Feature - EIFF + 1994 Sony Awards - Best Drama Production), has been hailed internationally as Jarman's masterpiece. 1993 saw him produce the video "So Young" (Suede) as well as Patti Smith and Suede videos for the new Red Hot compilation "No Alternative". In 1994 Mackay completed "Glitterbug" (Derek Jarman & Brian Eno), a co-production with BBC Television Arena and developed a multimedia CD-Rom based on "Blue".

In 1996 Mackay produced the dance film "Exit" (directed by Clara van Gool) for BBC Television. In 1998 he was executive producer on "Clublife 98" for BBC Manchester and produced Nina Danino's feature length film "Temenos" for the BFI and ACE.

In 1996 Mackay began to rebuild ties with his native Scotland, lecturing at Napier University - where he introduced digital cinematography as early as 1996 - and working with the Scottish Arts Council on their Lottery Film Committee. In this time he also developed and, produced Bernard Rudden's first feature "Daybreak" (premiered at the 2000 Edinburgh International Film Festival) a project which allowed him to further develop the tape to film process that he pioneered in the eighties and nineties.

Mackay is currently in post production with a multi-screen project about Africans in Europe "Parallel" with Turner Prize nominee Hannah Collins and is developing a new feature, "The Case of the Nymphomaniac Detective", with Lynn Hershman-Leeson.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: self

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