Producers Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley, co-founders of Number 9 Films, will receive the outstanding British contribution to cinema award at the 2019 Bafta film awards (February 10).
The husband-and-wife producing duo founded independent powerhouse Number 9 in 2002. Known as makers of taste-driven, quality UK cinema, Karlsen and Woolley’s films include Todd Haynes’ Carol, which was nominated for six Oscars in 2016, On Chesil Beach, Their Finest, Made In Dagenham and Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth (as co-producers).
Upcoming Number 9 projects include So Much Love starring Gemma Arterton as Dusty Springfield, which will be Carol screenwriter Phyllis Nagy’s feature directing debut, and Mothering Sunday written by Lady Macbeth writer Alice Birch. Their current awards-season contender Colette, which premiered at Sundance 2018, stars Keira Knightley and was directed by Wash Westmoreland.
Woolley started his career in the mid-1970s, when he ran legendary London repertory cinema the Scala. He went on to found Palace Pictures with Nik Powell, distributing over 250 independent films from the likes of Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, as well as international hits such as Paris, Texas and The Evil Dead. 1983 saw Woolley begin his successful collaboration with Neil Jordan, resulting in The Company Of Wolves, Interview With The Vampire and The Crying Game, among others. His other projects in this period included Absolute Beginners, starring David Bowie. and Scandal starring Joanne Whalley and John Hurt.
Karlsen began her career in New York producing short films with regular collaborator Christine Vachon and then as an intern on Bill Sherwood’s only feature film, the ground-breaking Parting Glances. Sherwood recognised her talents and asked her to assist him the film’s post-production. Karlsen first collaborated with Woolley during his time at Palace Pictures, co-producing The Crying Game. She also produced titles including Mark Herman’s Little Voice, starring Jane Horrocks and Michael Caine, and Terence Davies’ The Neon Bible, which played in Cannes Competition in 1995.
Their films have been nominated for a total of 52 Bafta awards.
The outstanding British contribution to cinema award is presented annually in honour of Michael Balcon, the UK film producer known for his work with Ealing Studios.
Previous recipients include Mike Leigh, Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jarman, Mary Selway, Ridley and Tony Scott, Working Title Films, Lewis Gilbert, the Harry Potter series of films, John Hurt, Peter Greenaway, Tessa Ross and BBC Films. The National Film and Television School received the award last year.
The Baftas will be held on Sunday February 10, 2019, with the nominations announced on January 9.