It was announced yesterday that British filmmaker Michael Apted died at the age of 79. He leaves behind an eclectic body of work. It is a collection of films and documentaries that touched many corners of the filmmaking world, from multi-million dollar blockbusters, to one of the most influential documentary series of all-time with the series of Up documentaries, meaning that the footprint he leaves on the cultural world is somewhat larger than most.
Born in February 1941 in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Apted got his start at a young age working as a trainee at Granada Television in the early 60’s. It was here at the age of 23 that he was tasked with profiling a group of seven-year-old children for an upcoming documentary to be directed by Canadian filmmaker Paul Almond. Going on to assist Almond in production, that film became Seven Up, and would be the beginnings of a lifelong project for Apted, as every seven years after that he was invited back to catch up with the children as they grew up, something he continued to do until very recently, as the latest instalment, 63 Up, was produced in 2019. The series of films has often been regarded as one of the most ambitious and profound works of the last 50 years, winning Apted an Institutional Peabody Award in 2012. It remains to be seen whether or not the series will continue without him.
Full article over at Filmhounds Magazine, originally published January 9th 2021.