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75 Minute Running Time
Until he was 13, Danny Boyle obediently wore short pants to school in gritty Manchester, England and minded his working-class parents' expectation that he would one day be a priest. Instead, he became a savior—at least of British cinema.
After apprenticeships with the Royal Court Theater, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the BBC, Boyle directed his feature debut in 1994—the blackly hip thriller Shallow Grave, in which a trio of yuppies discover a bag of cash and dismember the body of its owner. Two years later he made Trainspotting, a corrosive group portrait of Edinburgh junkies—memorable losers with names like Sick Boy, Begbie and Spud. The two films helped revitalize filmmaking across the pond. In 2009, Boyle's feel-good hit Slumdog Millionaire swept the Oscars, earning him his first Academy Award as best director.
“To be a filmmaker, you have to lead,” Boyle once told an interviewer. “You have to be psychotic in your desire to do something—to get something unusual, something different.” He's brought that energy to bear on everything from 28 Days Later (2002), a postapocalyptic thriller inhabited by fleet-footed zombies; a charmer about a pair of bewildered young brothers who stumble on a windfall and have to spend it in a hurry (Millions, 2004); and a harrowing quest for paradise on earth, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tilda Swinton (The Beach, 2000). It also infuses his latest film, 127 Hours; based on a true story, it chronicles a five-day fight for life by a mountaineer whose arm is pinned by a boulder to a canyon wall in Utah.
Despite the bleak tone of some of his work, the director says he, like his devout Irish-Catholic mother, has always believed the best about people. Even the self-destructive heroin addicts of Trainspotting are capable of doing good. Maybe that's the submerged priest in him talking: Boyle has, after all, pointed out that fellow filmmakers Martin Scorsese and John Woo also considered the seminary. In any event, he remains a modest optimist, thanks to his roots. “He might be well known for his films,” a Manchester local recently told a reporter. “But down here he is just Frank Boyle's lad.”
Danny Boyle will receive the Mayor’s Career Achievement Award following a clips program highlighting his distinguished career and an onstage discussion with Denver Post film critic Lisa Kennedy.
Special thanks to Tiffany & Co., Roshambo Films, idolum
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