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British producer Gayle Griffiths dies aged 49

Highly respected producer worked on Joanna Hogg’s Archipelago and Sally El Hosaini’s My Brother the Devil.

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British producer Gayle Griffiths has died following a battle with cancer. She was 49.

Griffiths, who died on Friday (Oct 23) in London, was perhaps best known for producing Joanna Hogg films Archipelago (2010) and Exhibition (2013), which both starred Tom Hiddleston, as well as urban drama My Brother The Devil (2012).

Sally El Hosani, director of My Brother The Devil, wrote on Facebook: “I can honestly say that the film wouldn’t have been what it was without her input and wisdom. She had real vision and believed in the film when many others in the industry didn’t. She was a fighter with a truly generous heart and empathy for the underdog.

“She was never one to make a fuss about her health and all through the filming of My Brother The Devil nobody would have guessed she was also having cancer treatment. Her passing is a loss not just to those who knew her, but to British film… What films she would have gone on to make. It’s just so sad. I owe her so much both personally and professionally.”

James Floyd, who played the lead in the film, added: “She was a true fighter. Honest at all times, she never bowed to mainstream opinion, with a true empathy for the underdog. But alas Cancer was too much in the end.”

Sunderland-born Griffiths was managing director of London-based Wild Horses Film and continued to develop projects after her last feature, 2013’s Exhibition, but had scaled back her work in recent months.

Griffiths attended the UK’s National Film and Television School (NFTS) where she studied producing under Sandy Lieberson from 1995-1998, and worked in production on John Sayles’ The Secret of Roan Inish and Franco Zeffirelli’s Jane Eyre.

She graduated from the NFTS after producing several short films, including John McKay’s The Price and Emily Young’s Second Hand, which received the Cinefondation Prize at Cannes in 1999.

Griffiths then developed and produced Young’s Kiss Of Life, which was selected for Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 2003 and won Young the Carl Foreman Award for Special Achivements in a First Feature at the 2004 BAFTAs.

Her second feature, Song of Songs, marked the directorial debut of Josh Appignanesi (The Infidel) and received its world premiere at Edinubrgh 2005 where Appignanesi won a special commendation by the Michael Powell Jury.

Griffiths herself won the Alfred Dunhill UK New Talent Award at the London Film Festival in 2005.

She first worked with Joanna Hogg in on the director’s second feature, Archipelago, which was released in 2010 and starred Tom Hiddleston before he found fame in Marvel superhero movies.

This was followed by internationally acclaimed hit My Brother The Devil in 2012, which won prizes at Sundance, Berlin, London and the BIFAs among others.

Griffiths worked with Hogg again on Exhibition, released in 2013, which proved to be the producer’s final feature.

Nik Powell, director of the NFTS, said: “Gayle was the most independent and risk taking of producers working with the most authorial and adventurous of directors.

“She was a unique talent and a very special person. The industry will miss her enormously as will I‎.”

Griffiths is survived by her husband, Philip.

Readers' comments (10)

  • Shocked and saddened by this news.
    Gayle was such a rock, with such empathy and strength for others.

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    How sad to hear the news of Gayle's passing.

    We were so delighted to be able to give her the Alfred Dunhill Award in 2005, which we'd set up with Vanity Fair to support super-talented producers just like her.

    Gayle was always a pleasure to be around, a true professional. She will be terribly missed by all those who knew her.

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    I am shocked and saddened by the untimely passing of Gayle. We first met on ARISTA where her support of creative talent quickly became evident. Her championing of new writers and directors will be sorely missed. My condolences to her family and many friends.

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  • I first worked with Gayle on The Secret of Roan Inish. Her charm, quiet wit and tenacity won us all over. From then Gayle has been a friend. She spent several Christmas holidays with my family and friends. She will be missed. My deepest sympatheis to Philip, her family and friends Paul Miller

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  • I first worked with Gayle on Song of Songs. I was pretty inexperienced at the time and Gayle took a gamble on me and became a mentor. I always admired her honesty, integrity, intelligence and generosity. How deeply, deeply sad it is to have lost such a good human being and a talented producer. My thoughts are with Philip and her family.

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  • Beyond sad - have know Gayle for many years and nearly made a few films with her. Always a great confident and friend. Shocked today to hear of this. Our thoughts are with her family. Love from everyone at Third x

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  • Dear dear Gayle. I had the great fortune of meeting her on Inside Pictures a decade ago and we stayed industry colleagues and friends thereafter. We released her second feature SONG OF SONGS and talked about doing many others together over the years. She worked tirelessly and conscientiously, and always cared deeply about her filmmakers and audiences. I live in the same neighbourhood as her and so loved meeting up with her for coffee locally, or better yet just bumping into each other running errands or going for a walk on the Heath. We always had the best catch-ups then. When I was in the hospital for an extended period, she visited me regularly - which meant so much to me. She was adamant that I get the proper nutrition I needed so brought me a tub of Omega Seed Mix and sat patiently with me while I nibbled on them. She had such timeless style and poise. I miss her already.
    Eve x

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  • So sad today to hear of Gayle Griffith's passing. Gayle and I got into the film industry at the same town when we met in the early 1990s on a short film set. We became filmmaker BFFs, travelling to LA to work as PAs and making our first trip to the Cannes Film Festival together. Everyone has a first ever Cannes story and ours was that we spent our first ever night at a Cannes Film Festival sleeping in the back of a car. We lost touch in recent years except for the odd catch up drink here and there at Cannes.

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  • I'm speechless...

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  • Gayle was a true professional, with a sharp mind and a wicked sense of humour. I had the pleasure of working with her on Archipelago in 2010 and thereafter seemed to bump into her with great regularity in my local park. She will be missed.

    John Reiss, Premier

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