Asif Kapadia

Asif Kapadia

Kapadia at the British Film Institute premiere of Amy.
Born 1972 (age 4344)
North London, England
Occupation Filmmaker
Years active 1997–present
Notable work The Sheep Thief
The Warrior

Asif Kapadia (born 1972) is a British filmmaker. He directed several award-winning films, including The Sheep Thief (1997), winner of the 2nd Prize Cinéfondation for Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival, The Warrior (2001), the BAFTA Award for Best British Film 2003 and Senna (2010), winner of the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, the BAFTA Award for Best Editing and the World Cinema Audience Award Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival 2011 and Amy (2015) which has become the highest grossing documentary of all time in the United Kingdom and for which he won the Academy Award and Grammy Award in 2016.

Early life

Asif Kapadia was born in 1972 in north London, to a Muslim[1][2] British Indian family. He attended Newport Film School (formerly part of the University of Wales, Newport, now the University of South Wales),[3] achieved a first-class degree (BA Hons) in Film, TV and Photographic Arts from the University of Westminster[4] and an MA (RCA) in Directing for Film and TV at the Royal College of Art.


Kapadia's first feature film, The Warrior,[5] was shot in the Himalayas and the deserts of Rajasthan. The film caught the attention of The Arts Foundation who in 2001 awarded him a fellowship in Film Directing. Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian described The Warrior as possessing "mighty breadth" and "shimmering beauty";[6] the film was nominated for three BAFTA awards, winning two: the Alexander Korda Award for the outstanding British Film of the Year 2003 and The Carl Foreman Award for Special Achievement by a Director, Screenwriter or Producer in their First Feature. The Warrior also won the Grand Prix at the Dinard Film Festival, the Sutherland Award at the London Film Festival, the Evening Standard British Film Awards for the Most Promising Newcomer and the Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Film. In 2003

Far North premiered at the Venice Film Festival, based on a dark short story by Sara Maitland. Kapadia used the brutal arctic landscape to show how desperation and loneliness drives a woman to harm the person she loves. Kapadia's fourth feature, Senna, was the life story of Brazilian motor-racing champion, Ayrton Senna. Senna was the highest grossing British documentary of all time (£3.3m, $5.2m), the second highest grossing documentary of all time in the UK (behind Fahrenheit 9/11).

Kapadia's most recent film Amy is a documentary that depicts the life and death of British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. The film was released on 3 July 2015 in the United Kingdom, New York and Los Angeles, and worldwide on 10 July. The film has been described as "heartbreaking", "awe-inspiring", "unmissable", "the best documentary of the year" and "a tragic masterpiece". The film has received 5 out of 5 ratings when it was reviewed at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival in May. The film has become the second highest grossing documentary of all time in the United Kingdom, overtaking Kapadia's 2010 movie Senna.[7]

Kapadia is currently working on Supersonic, an Oasis documentary. The feature-length film, which is due to reach cinemas this October, has been named after the Mancunian band's 1994 debut single, also titled Supersonic. Featuring up close and personal footage, as well as never before seen archive material and interviews with the band, the Oasis documentary reportedly follows them from the moment Liam and Noel Gallagher began making music together, to the legendary Knebworth gig.

Awards and nominations

List of awards and nominations
Year Award / Film Festival Category Work Result Ref(s)
2011 British Independent Film Awards Best British Documentary Senna Won
Best British Independent Film Nominated
Best Technical Achievement Nominated
Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary Won
Satellite Awards Best Documentary Film Won
Grierson Awards Best Cinema Documentary Nominated
Los Angeles Film Festival Audience Award for Best International Feature Won
Melbourne International Film Festival Most Popular Documentary Award Won
Moscow International Film Festival Audience Award Won
Adelaide Film Festival Best Documentary – Audience Award Won
2012 British Academy Film Awards Best Documentary Senna Won
Best Editing Won
Outstanding British Film Nominated
Producers Guild of America Awards Documentary Feature Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Documentary Nominated
London Film Critics Circle Awards Documentary of the Year Won
Technical Achievement Nominated
Evening Standard British Film Awards Best Documentary Won
Cinema Eye Honors Outstanding Achievement in Editing Won
Outstanding Achievement in non-fiction Feature Filmmaking Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in an Original Music Score Nominated
Audience Choice Prize Nominated
FOCAL International Awards Best Use of Footage in a Cinema Release Won
Best Use of Sports Footage Won
Special Award for the contribution to Archive Filmmaking Industry Won
Best Use of Footage in a Home Entertainment Release Nominated
2015 Hollywood Film Awards Best Documentary of the Year Amy Won
2016 British Academy Film Awards Best Documentary Amy Won
Outstanding British Film Nominated
Academy Awards Best Documentary – Feature Won



  1. "The Saturday interview: Asif Kapadia". The Guardian. My films often have a spiritual dimension which comes from my Muslim background, and I'm happy to tackle that in cinema.
  2. "Asif Kapadia's 2012 Odyssey: the film that captures London's dark side". The Guardian.
  4. "An interview with Asif Kapadia". University of Westminster. University of Westminster. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  5. Matt Warren (24 August 2001). "Review The silent soldier The Warrior". The Scotsman. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  6. Bradshaw, Peter (10 May 2002). "The Warrior". Retrieved 15 April 2014.

External links

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