Director Michael Apted’s credits include such acclaimed, award-winning films as Coal Miner’s Daughter, Continental Divide, Gorky Park, Gorillas in the Mist and Incident at Oglala. His newest feature, Amazing Grace, about the anti-slavery movement in 19th-century Britain, stars Ioan Gruffudd and Albert Finney, and was released in February 2007 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the date the British parliament banned the slave trade.
Apted was born in England in 1941 and studied law and history at Cambridge. He began his career in the early 1960s as a researcher at Granada Television, becoming a director and reporter on the news series World in Action and subsequently directed episodes of Britain’s long-running series Coronation Street. Apted went on to direct 60-plus television programs, earning British Academy Awards for Best Comedy Series, Best Children’s Series and Best Dramatic Director.
Apted made his directorial feature film debut in 1972 with the war drama, Triple Echo, with Glenda Jackson and Oliver Reed. Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980) marked his first directing project in America. The movie garnered seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won an Oscar for Sissy Spacek. Other credits include Kipperbang, First Born, Bring on the Night, Critical Condition, Class Action, Thunderheart, Blink, Nell and Extreme Measures. In 1994, the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival premiered Apted’s documentary Moving the Mountain, which won the grand prize at the Heartland Film Festival and an International Documentary Association award. In 1999 Apted directed the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, starring Pierce Brosnan, and the feature Enigma, written by Sir Tom Stoppard and starring Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet and Saffron Burroughs. In 2004, Apted filmed the first three episodes of the HBO series Rome.
Apted was elected president of the Directors Guild of America in 2003, after having served as a member of the Guild’s national board and as its fifth vice president. He also serves on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the documentary branch, and he is on the Board of Trustees for the American Film Institute.