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Terry Gilliam - Academy Fellow in 2009

8 February 2009
Terry Gilliam won Academy Fellowship at the Orange British Academy Film Awards in 2009BAFTA / Richard Kendal

Terry Gilliam was presented with the Academy Fellowship at the Orange British Academy Film Awards ceremony on Sunday 8 February.

“The point of making a film is that I have to be completely obsessed by it; it has to possess me. If I’m not the servant of this master – whatever the film is – then it’s not worth doing.” (Terry Gilliam, 2009)

The Academy Fellowship recognises an outstanding contribution to film and Terry Gilliam’s creative passion and visionary body of work marks him out as one of the great filmmakers of the past 30 years.

In a career spanning five decades, Terry has enjoyed BAFTA, Academy Award and Golden Globe success. Not only a highly regarded director, Terry has also been lauded for his screenwriting for Brazil (1985) and animation for the likes of Life of Brian (1979).

Watch Gilliam Accept the Fellowship:

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Watch Gillam's Backstage Interview:

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Born in Minnesota, Terry graduated from Occidental college in Los Angeles before moving to New York to work with MAD Comics creator, Harvey Kurtzman. After a time as assistant editor on Kurtzman’s HELP! Magazine, Terry worked as a cartoonist, magazine illustrator, advertising copywriter and art director.

In 1969, Terry teamed up with Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin to form the now legendary Monty Python’s Flying Circus. In 1975, the group’s first film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, marked Terry’s feature length directorial debut; he co-directed the iconic comedy with Terry Jones.

Following this success, Terry has gone on to work with some of the most interesting actors of our generation including Jeff Bridges, Christina Ricci, Brad Pitt, Benicio Del Toro, Robert de Niro and Ellen Barkin. He has found both popular and critical acclaim with a diverse range of films including Jabberwocky (1977), Time Bandits (1981), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), The Fisher King (1991), Twelve Monkeys (1995), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), The Brothers Grimm (2005) and Tideland (2005).

His future projects include a return to The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and most recently, he completed Heath Ledger’s final film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which also stars Lily Cole, Verne Troyer, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law.

More On Terry Gilliam:

* Terry Gilliam Answers BAFTA's Big Questions on BAFTA Guru