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Screen Talk, with Mark Romanek, at the National Film Theatre. Part of the BFI London Film Festival

Posted on by Janet Awe

Although he trained as a film student, Mark Romanek first made his name as a music video director.  He won critical acclaim for the controversial Nine Inch Nails video, ‘Closer’; spent $7 million making one the most expensive videos of all time for Michael and Janet Jackson’s, ‘Scream’; and received MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) credits for En Vogue’s ‘Free Your Mind’, Lenny Kravitz’s ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’, and Madonna’s ‘Rain’, as well as for ‘Devil’s Haircut’ by Beck and ’99 Problems’ by Jay-Z.

En Vogue

En Vogue

Just as notable in his music portfolio is the intimate video portrait he made of Johnny Cash at home, to accompany the singer’s version of the Nine Inch Nails’ song ‘Hurt’, which became even more poignant when the music legend passed away soon after it was recorded.

While music videos will always been in Mark’s blood, he’s since gone on to the career he originally intended: making films. In 2002 he made his feature film debut with the critically-acclaimed ‘One Hour Photo. This creepy thriller, which he also wrote, saw Robin Williams star as the technician in a shopping mall’s 1-hour photo booth, who becomes obsessed with a family.  Last night, his latest film, ‘Never Let Me Go’, starring Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield, received its European premiere when it opened the London Film Festival.  Tonight, I’m excited to be at the National Film Theatre for a celebration of his inspiring career.

As Mark talks us through the showreel of his life, and we cheer his numerous highlights, you’d never guess that the modest man sitting in front of us is such a revered director.  As we all sit there in awe of his talent, he rejects the title of ‘legend’ offered up by a member of the audience and instead describes his experiences and achievements modestly.  Talented, self-effacing and lovely.  If we weren’t all sure how much we respected and adored Mark Romanek before we got to the National Theatre, we left there in no doubt.

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