11 September 1958|
Newport, Isle of Wight, England, United Kingdom
|Occupation||Film director, film producer, screenwriter|
Early life and education
Urban was educated at Rokeby Preparatory School, Kingston upon Thames and King's College School, Wimbledon. At the age of thirteen, he became the youngest director to have a film shown at the Cannes Film Festival with his short feature The Virus of War. The thirty-minute film was later shown on television in various countries.
Urban later attended Balliol College, Oxford, graduating with a first class degree in Modern History.
Urban began writing and directing full-time in the early 1980s, working on television drama series including Bergerac for the BBC. In 1992, his one-off television film An Ungentlemanly Act, a dramatisation of the first thirty-six hours of the Falklands War starring Ian Richardson and Bob Peck, was widely acclaimed. The production won the British Academy Television Award for Best Single Drama in 1993.
In 1993, Urban set up his own independent production company, Cyclops Vision, which has produced the majority of his work ever since. He was also one of the directors of the acclaimed and award-winning 1996 BBC drama serial Our Friends in the North, although he left the production early after disagreements with writer Peter Flannery, and one of his episodes was entirely re-shot by another director, though not before being entirely re-written by Peter Flannery — a fact generally withheld from public knowledge at the time.
Urban went on to write, produce and direct the feature films Preaching to the Perverted (1997) and Revelation (2001), both produced by Cyclops Vision and released around the world. In 2015, it was listed by The Guardian as one of the top 10 films about BDSM and fetish subject matter. His documentary film work includes the first polemical film against Western interventions, Against the War (BBC, Cyclops Vision; 1999) co-written with Harold Pinter, who also presented.
In 2006, Urban completed Tovarisch, I Am Not Dead, his full length theatrical documentary about his father Garri, a Jewish physician from Ukraine who escaped from both the Gulag and the Holocaust. It was released to UK cinemas in 2008 to critical approval, earning a number of nominations and awards, including a nomination at the British Independent Film Awards and Grierson Awards. In 2011 Urban wrote, produced and directed May I Kill U? a black comedy feature film starring Kevin Bishop, Frances Barber and Rosemary Leach. The plot follows a cycling vigilante who starts a lethal campaign in the London riots in 2011: "a psychopath on the cycle path". The film was released in 2013 in UK, Russia, and other territories, winning the European Competition at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, earning the Melies D'Argent (Silver Melies )and a nomination as one of the best European genre films of the year contending for the Melies D'Or.
In 2014, Urban optioned Deric Henderson's nonfiction book, Let This Be Our Secret, which he adapted as screenwriter and executive produced for Hat Trick Productions and ITV. A four-hour drama, starring James Nesbitt as double murderer Colin Howell, it was filmed in Northern Ireland in late 2015 under the title The Secret and began transmission on 29 April 2016.
- "Stuart Urban". The New York Times.
- DVD Talk
- The Guardian
- Dawson, Tom (22 May 2008). "Tovarisch, I Am Not Dead (3 stars)". The List. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- Wing-Fai, Leung (17 March 2010). "Tovarisch, I Am Not Dead". Documentary Filmmakers Group. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- Kasriel, Alex (25 April 2008). "Travels with my father the 'spy'". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- Urban, Stuart (1 May 2008). "Tovarisch, I am released". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- Stuart Urban at the Internet Movie Database
- Biography at the Cyclops Vision website
- Official site for Tovarisch I Am Not Dead
- Official site for May I Kill U?