The BFI has announced that it is celebrating film producers, behind the scenes philanthropists and long-time supporters of the film industry Michael G. Wilson CBE and Barbara Broccoli CBE, with BFI Fellowships, the highest honour bestowed by the BFI. The BFI Fellowships recognise the pair’s extraordinary achievements and enormous contribution to cinema, with arguably the best loved and most enduring film franchise in the world – James Bond – celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The BFI Fellowship will be presented to Michael and Barbara at the BFI chair’s dinner, hosted by BFI chair Tim Richards, on 28 June at Claridges, London.
Tim Richards, BFI chair, said “I am honoured and excited to be awarding Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli with the prestigious BFI Fellowship. I can think of no-one else more deserving particularly as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the incredibly successful James Bond franchise. With amazing insight and vision Michael and Barbara have not only re-invented Bond for today’s audiences, but No Time To Die arrived at exactly the right moment to welcome those audiences back to the big screen experience as never before. As equally, if not more, important is their commitment to our industry away from the spotlight, where they work tirelessly to open doors for others by playing a huge part in educating, supporting and inspiring the next generation of film makers.”
Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said “We are so proud to be awarded the BFI Fellowship on behalf of all of those who have been a part of the James Bond series over 60 years and feel honoured to join such an esteemed group of distinguished industry fellows. We are very grateful to so many members of the British film industry who we have worked with over the course of our careers and thank the British Film Institute for their tremendous support and leadership for the creative industries in the UK.
At the helm of EON Productions, Michael and Barbara have overseen the Bond franchise for nearly 30 years and together produced nine of the total 25 Bond films, the first of which was the hit Goldeneye (1995) and includes Skyfall (2012), which went on to win the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film. Michael was screenwriter on five films in the 1980s (with Richard Maibaum) and producer of three Bonds with his stepfather and original Bond producer Albert R Broccoli. With a true commitment to the big screen experience, the release of the latest eagerly anticipated No Time To Die was stalled until safely though the height of the pandemic and released in October 2021. The film represented the return to cinemas for audiences around the world and was the highest grossing film of the year in the UK as well as third biggest release of all time in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It’s a testament to Michael and Barbara that as the world has changed they have ensured the Bond franchise remains fresh and relevant, transforming the character and style of James Bond, adapting the story lines and scripts, and changing the representation of key supporting cast –whilst keeping the films as action-packed and entertaining as ever. The BFI will be marking this anniversary year of the franchise with a special James Bond 60th celebration weekend of screenings and events in London at BFI Southbank and BFI IMAX on October 1st and 2nd 2022.
But while Bond is the pair’s most famous brand, they have also produced and executive produced an impressive range of films outside the franchise including Tom Fisher’s Radiator (2014), Corinna McFarlane’s The Silent Storm (2014), Paul McGuigan’s Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool 2017), Nancy (2018) from debut filmmaker Christina Choe and Reed Morano’s The Rhythm Section (2020). Barbara was also Executive Producer on Debbie Tucker Green’s Ear For Eye (2021) and a producer on Till, an upcoming American biographical drama film co-written and directed by Chinonye Chukwu and starring Whoopi Goldberg and Danielle Deadwyler.
Behind the scenes Michael and Barbara have dedicated their time, influence and expertise to support the film industry, particularly around advocating for education and skills. Barbara is Vice President for Film for BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), President of the National Youth Theatre, Director of Time’s Up UK and a Trustee of Into Film, a film education charity working with young people aged 5-19. Michael is Honorary vice president of the Science Museum Foundation and a fellow of the Science Museum London. Both Michael and Barbara are Directors of the Dana and Albert R Broccoli Foundation and co-founders of the London Screen Academy, where Barbara is also a governor and Michael serves as the vice chair of the Board of Trustees, Day One Trust. Barbara also Chaired the UK Film Skills Task Force, working with the BFI to create opportunities for young trainees from underrepresented backgrounds to get paid traineeships on major productions through the BFI Film Academy Future Skills Programme, including twenty trainees on No Time To Die.
In 2008, Michael and Barbara were appointed Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and in 2014 they were honoured by the Producers Guild of America with the David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures. In 2022, they were appointed Commanders of the Order of the British Empire for services to film, drama, philanthropy and skills (CBE).
Michael and Barbara join an eminent list of BFI Fellows including Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker, Tilda Swinton, Sir David Lean, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, Nicholas Roeg CBE, Orson Welles, Sir Ridley Scott, Dame Judi Dench, Ousmane Sembène, Bernardo Bertolucci and Sir Steve McQueen.
Header photo: Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson at the World Premiere of “NO TIME TO DIE” at the Royal Albert Hall on September 28, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and Universal Pictures)