Film producer Kathleen Kennedy to receive Bafta Fellowship

By Kerri-Ann Roper, PA Entertainment Editor
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Film producer Kathleen Kennedy to receive Bafta Fellowship

Producer Kathleen Kennedy is to be presented with the Bafta Fellowship at the 2020 film awards ceremony.

The Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by Bafta on an individual “in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, games or television”.

The American said she was “deeply honoured” to receive the award.

She said: “British film-making has always played a significant role in both my life and career. The boundless creative vision of artists such as Tom Stoppard, David Lean, Chris Nolan, Stephen Daldry and Peter Morgan continues to inspire me.

“The recent Star Wars movies – all shot on sound stages and locations across the UK – are just the latest opportunities that I’ve had the privilege to work with British crews and film-makers, which began in 1980 with Raiders Of The Lost Ark and continued with Temple Of Doom, Empire Of The Sun, Young Sherlock Holmes, War Horse, The Adventures Of Tintin, and others.

“I am deeply honoured to receive the Fellowship from Bafta and am incredibly thankful to have worked with so many talented members of our extended family in the British film-making community.”

Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry said she was “delighted” that Kennedy’s “impressive career” was being recognised.

She said of Kennedy: “Her contribution to film-making has been exceptional.

“She is a trailblazer who has opened the door for many people to join the industry, and the number of iconic cinematic moments she has helped bring to the big screen has enriched the industry and enthralled the cinema–loving public.

Kennedy has worked with directors including Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, JJ Abrams and more.

She co-founded production company Amblin Entertainment alongside Spielberg and Frank Marshall, to whom she has been married since 1987.

The company’s production credits include films such as E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Gremlins, The Goonies and Schindler’s List.

Kathleen Kennedy and husband Frank Marshall have produced scores of top films together (Matt Crossick/PA)

Five years later, in 1992, she and Marshall co-founded their own production company, The Kennedy/Marshall Company, which went on to produce films including The Sixth Sense, The Bourne Identity and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.

In 2012 she joined Lucasfilm, the company founded by film-maker George Lucas in the 1970s. She later became president of the company, a position she still holds today.

Lucasfilm has among its production credits the Indiana Jones and Star Wars franchises.

Previous recipients of the fellowship include Scorsese, Spielberg, Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick, Billy Wilder, Ken Loach, Sir Michael Caine, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Lord (Laurence) Olivier and Dame Judi Dench.

Last year it was awarded to film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who has worked on more than 20 films alongside Scorsese.

Kennedy will be presented with the Bafta Fellowship at next year’s EE British Academy Film Awards, being held at the Royal Albert Hall on February 2.