M A R G A R E T W I L L I A M S
D i r e c t o r
Margaret Williams has made many award-winning dance and music-drama films. Her respected and internationally successful work has always taken a new and original approach, with an individual creative vision at the heart of all her films.
Margaret’s most recent work includes a film of Semyon Bychkov’s TCHAIKOVSKY PROJECT with the Britten Pears Orchestra filmed at Snape Maltings, and CAPTIVA, which Margaret photographed and edited, made with long term collaborator Victoria Marks while on a Robert Rauschenberg Residency. Her film of Katie Mitchell’s new production of Lucia di Lammermoor, designed by Vicki Mortimer, was shown live in cinemas across the UK and in cinemas in the rest of the world. Margaret made a film with The Art of Revolution about their project EN LA LUZ which she shot in Santiago, Chile.
Margaret has collaborated many times with composer Judith Weir. ARMIDA, their fourth collaboration and Margaret's third drama for Jan Younghusband, was filmed on location in Morocco. Margaret’s film version of OWEN WINGRAVE by Benjamin Britten, for Channel 4, was received with great critical acclaim; writing in The Telegraph, Tom Rosenthal described it as 'the best opera film ever made'.
Margaret shot the dance film DUAL in Brazil, working with B-Boy Neguin and in collaboration with Jonzi D. ONE MAN WALKING, also a collaboration with Jonzi D, explores some of the intensity and challenges of life in the metropolis, using Krump – an expressive and highly energetic dance movement combined with the soaring excitement of Free Running. DUAL and ONE MAN WALKING were both commissioned by Channel 4.
The WAPPING PROJECT held a retrospective of Margaret’s dance films at Wapping Hydraulic Pumping Station, London. In a multi-screen installation, the retrospective ran over three and four screens, on loops, throughout the gallery opening hours. It allowed the viewer to dip in and out at will and to shift between documentary, dance film, the improvisational and the multi-camera work. The critics were undivided: 'Awesome' - Time Out; 'Must-see show' - The Times; 'Dazzling... a strange and lovely eye for dance' - The Guardian.
The dance film OUTSIDE IN, choreographed by Victoria Marks, described as 'A Midsummer Night's Dream for the nineties', is among the BBC's most awarded music and arts films having won the Prague d'Or, Film Board of Canada Creativity Award, IMZ Dance Screen and other prizes. Margaret's award-winning collaboration with Victoria Marks continued with: MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS for Channel 4 and MEN for the BBC. MEN was a dance film for seven men in their seventies shot on location in Canada's Rocky Mountains. ‘The most impressive and uplifting twenty minutes of television to have come along in years', according to Time Out. MEN also won major awards at IMZ and at Moving Pictures in Toronto.
In 2008, Margaret completed the film VETERANS, co-created with Victoria Marks and performed by US Veterans from the West Los Angeles combat rehab/PTSD clinic and shot by Margaret on location in and around Los Angeles. VETERANS won First Prize, the Premi Internacional VideoDansa in Barcelona plus a cash award. LIFE STUDY # 1, her 6th collaboration with choreographer Victoria Marks, was shot by Margaret on location in Venice Beach.
Other dance films made specially for television include: CROSS CHANNEL, described as 'one of the best television dance programmes I have ever seen', Financial Times; WATERMARK, a collaboration with choreographer Jiri Kylian performed by NDT3; YOU CUBA, a dance film shot in Havana, performed by Danza Contemporeana de Cuba. And, having made the films MIDDAY, IN STONE and WRISTS with choreographer-performer Maria Muñoz of company MAL PELO, their fruitful collaboration continues.
Margaret has adapted stage works for the screen such as the as Thomas Adès's opera POWDER HER FACE and Judith Weir's BLOND ECKBERT, both for Channel 4. Her television version of David Bintley's CARMINA BURANA with Birmingham Royal Ballet for the BBC won a Welsh BAFTA. Her relationship with BRB continued in 2006 when she was invited to direct the multi-camera filming of Ballet Hoo's ROMEO AND JULIET (Diverse Productions for Channel 4).
Work at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden includes: three of Wayne McGregor’s ballets: LIMEN, CHROMA and MACHINA; ASHTON CELEBRATION an evening of work by Sir Frederick Ashton, Tamara Rojo dances her farewell performance in Marguerite and Armand. This was screened in cinemas across the UK in July 2013 and is available on DVD & Blu-ray; Composer George Benjamin and author Martin Crimp joined forces with acclaimed stage director Katie Mitchell for the opera WRITTEN ON SKIN broadcast on BBC4 in 2013.
Margaret has also made a number of well-respected documentaries. Her series for Channel 4, A LOVE DIVIDED, filmed in Belfast, Berlin, Jerusalem and Johannesburg, was consistently praised for its ' tear-jerking clarity '. Other documentary work includes films on composers: STEVE REICH and ELIZABETH MACONCHY; QUARTET, a 90-minute special about the role of four in music from classical string quartets to U2; MUSIC AND THE MIND, a series of 3 x 50-minute films; GYPSY PASSION a film about Flamenco star Joaquin Cortès; and Y FLAMENCO, a documentary about regular British people who love to dance flamenco, both for the BBC.
Margaret’s film of HAMLET - with Maxine Peake in the title role, directed by Sarah Frankcom was shown in cinemas across the UK and is being shown across North America during the Shakespeare 400 Celebrations. Her 2013 film PETER GRIMES on ALDEBURGH BEACH was extremely well received by audiences and critics alike – the Sunday Express described it as ‘immaculately directed’ – and it’s been shown around the world as part of the British Council’s prestigious celebrations for Britten’s Centenary.
Margaret is developing two feature film scripts: THRILL (working title) a road movie, with writer Stef Penney and TELL ME THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE, a love story about composer Benjamin Britten and his partner, the tenor, Peter Pears.