DIFF  |  Lifetime Achievement Awards  |  2012 
Lifetime Achievement Awards

Mahmoud Abdel Aziz

The film titles THE GENTLEMAN, THE CAPTAIN and THE MAGICIAN aptly describe the star actor Mahmoud Abdel Aziz (born 1946) who has proven himself to be a little of all three throughout his career. His authentic nobility has been a constant and clearly reflects on how he epitomizes the term gentleman. 

Abdel Aziz has also been a pioneer in Arab cinema, acting like the captain of a ship surrounded by tempests. The characters he embodieds dived deep into reality, as we see with Jamal in EL KEIF (1985) and Abdurrahman in RIVER OF FEAR (1988), who is an Arab citizen who is thought to be guilty even after being proven innocent.  Another unforgettable character is Shiekh Husni from KIT KAT (1991).

And after seeing him in 48 different films, describing him as a magician is easy. He may not bring out colourful flowers out of his hat, but he has created an everlasting impact on the hearts of all his fans. , The grace with which he moves from one role and era to another and the emotions he captures in all the roles he plays is truly magical.

Abdul Aziz is often referred to as the son of Alexandria. He made his debut with THE GRANDSON (1974), getting his first lead role in TILL THE END OF LIFE (1975). He has even studied agronomy, but all that he has planted is joy in the hearts of his many fans while harvesting their love.

 

Michael Apted

Michael Apted’s career spans fiction and documentary in almost equal measure. After studying at Cambridge he began as a trainee/researcher at Granada Television, his first project, in 1964, a study of 14 seven-year- old children for current affairs series World in Action. These children were revisited every seven years, Apted taking over as director culminating (so far) with 56 UP (2012). He remained at Granada directing episodes of the perennial series Coronation Street and over 50 other episodes and dramas, receiving several British Academy Awards.

His first feature was THE TRIPLE ECHO (1972) and he continued in the UK until 1980 when he made COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER in the US, a bio-pic of country singer Loretta Lynn, for which Sissy Spacek won an Academy Award. Other films include GORKY PARK (1983) and GORILLAS IN THE MIST (1988) starring Sigourney Weaver as Dian Fossey who worked with gorillas in the wild. She was Oscar nominated for best actress as was Jodie Foster for Apted’s NELL (1994).

Apted continues to make films, TV programmes and documentaries, including the James Bond film THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (1999). One of the most ecletic of contemporary Western filmmakers, in1992 he undertook the challenge of representing the Native American battles with the Nixon administration in documentary – INCIDENT AT OGALA - and feature film - THUNDERHEART - in the process profiling the visceral power of documentary and structured power of fiction - which he combines in individual films of either genre.

He is President of the Directors Guild of America  and was awarded the C.M.G. (Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George) for his services to British film and television industries in the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honors List.