Mike Leigh’s ‘May You All Rot In Hell’ BAFTA acceptance speech

mike leigh“What is independent filmmaking?” Mike Leigh has just asked the Royal Opera House-full of the BAFTA ’15 nominated and the beautiful. Upon acceptance of his Fellowship award, Leigh has elected to educate this prestigious audience quickly on what real indie filmmaking is.

Leigh has made 20 unscripted films so far, all of which have been ‘independent’: free from interference of any sort from backers, producers, politicians, censors or any other creatively-impairing factions. This freedom has led him onto the BAFTA stage tonight as a beacon of the achievements of alternative, independent, and yet widely popular cinema.

But Leigh wanted to drive the message home – properly and unquestionably. To all the ‘uninspired skinflints’ who refused to back his films for lack of his willingness to bend his creative vision to their rigid demands, he says a big thank you, for they would have made ‘a right pigs ear of the whole thing.’ He had a lucky escape from their interfering ways, he feels, and his parting message to them, the room, and the Nationwide audience watching the whole thing at home, is: ‘May you all rot in hell.’

This is a wonderful moment for all the young aspiring filmmakers who feel that getting funding for their creative visions is about as likely as getting Steven Spielberg to follow you back on Twitter. Leigh proves, with his speech tonight, and his history of beautiful and uncompromising work, that there are people willing to put their faith in talented young filmmakers, and every door slammed rudely in your face forces you to try another one. One day, we could all be thanking that tight-arseholed producer on the BAFTA stage who turned his nose up at our brilliant script (or scriptless idea, like all Leigh’s were).

Thank you, Mike, for once again refusing to censor yourself.

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