The Sony Ericsson Empire Awards 2008

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The Winners

Outstanding Contribution To British Film
Shane Meadows

Shane Meadows with his award

Exclusive Video
Shane Meadows, winner of Outstanding Contribution To British Cinema
The Acceptance Speech
"Jesus, I mean wow, it has been an incredible sort of life so far and I'm sure that people would be giving me this early based on the potential for a heart attack. I'm not going to make one of those Scorsese wait until the end sort of scenarios, I'm probably going to pop it soon.

"I met Paddy (Considine) at drama college and I turned up with a black eye because I'd been involved in a fight with a famous Gypsy man's son and I remember that one guy as I was sat outside listening to them talk about me, this guy wanted me on the course because he thought it would give it a bit of flavour. This one was sick to death of the girls on the course and probably thought I'd beat up some of the guys who were gay on the course. I then discussed my life at that point in time and the guy who pushed me on to the course and although me and Paddy left the course, we left many courses, over the years I remember thinking that was one of those days in my life where if I could have gone back to the biscuit factory and never really made anything of myself.

"The next really important person was when I left a photography course, I'd been very famous for walking off things, and I left a photography course after one year and I passed a group of quite good-looking females making a project with a video camera and so I pretended that I was interested because there was a lot of girls and I got talking to this guy called Graham Ford and I've mentioned this guy in interviews maybe a hundred times and nobody ever prints his name.

"I was on my way home to sign on and he took me on and actually was the person who first gave me the chance to make a film. Really I want to dedicate this to Graham because he didn't just do this for me, he's done it for a lot of people but obviously I'm one of those people and I suppose I've had the chance to make features. His philosophy, it I hadn't carried that on and work with people like Paddy and Thomo (Turgoose) and a lot of the kids who are here with me tonight from This Is England, if it wasn't for Graham, it's one of those things that his philosophy meant so much to me, that's why I've continued it. So I want to dedicate this to Graham because I've tried to get him in my articles like a million times and nobody has ever put his name forward because he's not important enough, but he's important to me tonight and I want to say thank you to Graham."

What Empire Said
"Try this one for size. Make a film about boxing and shoot it in black-and-white. Bolster the soundtrack with classical music and then give it a subtext about redemption. What you get is Raging Bull, right? Well, not exactly. First time writer-director Shane Meadows has done just that, but he has created a film so resonant in character and bitter humour that Scorsese won't enter your head. In fact, you'll hardly notice the boxing at all." Read more...

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