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Press Releases Steve McQueen Dialogue and Retrospective Announced at Walker Art Center October 30-November 9

Plus Regional Premiere of New Film 12 Years a Slave

Minneapolis, September 4, 2013—The Walker Art Center dialogue and retrospective program presents Steve McQueen, October 30 through November 9, 2013. A radical video artist and filmmaker, McQueen is one of Britain’s most influential artists. Hailed in a 2010 New York Times headline as an “Intense Seeker of Powerful Elegance,” McQueen has become known for his formalism and his willingness to engage with controversial content in powerfully human ways. A dialogue takes place at 8 pm on Saturday, November 9 and marks the artist’s first visit to the Walker.

Films in the retrospective include the regional premiere of 12 Years a Slave (October 30, 7:30 pm); Shame (November 6, 7:30 pm); Hunger (November 8, 7:30 pm). All films are screened in the Walker Cinema.


Directed by Steve McQueen
Wednesday, October 30, 7:30pm
$12 ($10 for Walker members, seniors and students)

“By far the most ambitious of Mr. McQueen’s three features and an impressive blend of radical and conventional movie techniques.” –A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“There’s no question that 12 Years a Slave remains an art film, especially as the provocative director forces audiences to confront concepts and scenes that could conceivably transform their worldview.” —Peter Debruge, Variety

“More than a powerful elegy, 12 Years a Slave is a mesmerizing triumph of art and polemics.” —Eric Kohn, Indiewire

McQueen’s third feature, 12 Years a Slave, is based on the incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom, as chronicled in the 1853 autobiography of Solomon Northrup, a free black man from upstate New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana, where the film was shot on location. Northrup is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, whose character encounters both cruelty, in the form of the malicious slave owner portrayed by McQueen regular Michael Fassbender, and unexpected kindness, as Solomon fights for not just survival, but “to live.” McQueen’s powerful international cast is rounded out by actors including Benedict Cumberbath, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Brad Pitt (as a Canadian Abolitionist), and Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild). After playing at the Telluride, Toronto and New York festivals, the film produced by locally-based River Road productions, will open in theaters in Minneapolis on November 1. 2013, 35mm, 133 minutes.

Directed by Steve McQueen
Wednesday, November 6, 7:30 pm
$9 ($7 for Walker members, seniors and students)

“[Shame] reconfirms McQueen as a filmmaker with an unflinching, microscopic gaze on the world.” —Time Out New York

McQueen and actor Michael Fassbender extend their artistic partnership in McQueen’s second feature, Shame. Brandon (Fassbender) lives a life of seeming success, yet forever engaged in a search both desperate and resigned, until his careful patterns are interrupted by the arrival of his younger sister Sissy (Carrie Mulligan), whose own internal struggles bring Brandon’s world into crisis when she insists on an open-ended stay at his apartment.

Tracing the emptiness of present-day New York City onto the very bodies of its lonely characters, Shame imprints a disquieting study of both sexual addiction and modern disconnection. McQueen was nominated for the Golden Lion at Venice in 2011, where the film went on to win the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Film, and garnered many more awards for Fassbender’s portrayal of Brandon. “A mesmerizing companion piece to his 2008 debut, Hunger, this more approachable but equally uncompromising drama likewise fixes its gaze on the uses and abuses of the human body, as Michael Fassbender again strips himself down, in every way an actor can, for McQueen’s rigorous but humane interrogation” (Variety). 2011, DCP, 101 minutes.

Directed by Steve McQueen
Friday, November 8, 7:30 pm
$9 ($7 for Walker members, seniors and students)

Hunger is raw, powerful filmmaking and an urgent reminder of this uniquely ugly, tragic and dysfunctional period in British and Irish history.” –The Guardian(UK)

McQueen’s first feature film is an unflinching examination of the last six weeks in the life of Bobby Sands, a member of the Irish Republican Army who led a hunger strike in Northern Ireland’s Maze Prison in 1981. In Hunger, the situation between guards and prisoners escalates to a fever pitch as this engrossing film shows the extraordinary power of physical, psychological, and spiritual resistance, and reveals the extreme sacrifice Sands and his cellmates endured for their political convictions. A tense journey crafted out of the drama of knowing what will happen; Hunger lingers in a harrowing mediation from which it feels impossible to look away. 2008. 35mm, 96 minutes.

Winner of the Caméra d’Or and the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize (2008 Cannes Film Festival); the New Generation Award (2008 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards); the Discovery Award (2008 Toronto International Film Festival); the Golden Hugo for Best Film (Chicago International Film Festival); the Douglas Hilcox Award (British Independent Film Awards 2008); Best Actor (British Independent Film Awards 2008); and European Discovery of the Year—Steve McQueen (2008 European Film Awards). Nominated for Best Foreign Film (2009 Independent Spirit Awards).

Walker Dialogue with Steve McQueen
Saturday, November 9, 8 pm
$25 ($20 for Walker members, seniors and students)

“There are people whose ideas are so strong that they seem to glow with creativity. McQueen is one of them.” —The Telegraph (UK)

For more than 20 years, this series of dialogues and retrospectives have brought some of today’s most innovative and influential filmmakers to the Walker Cinema, providing an intimate stage for directors to engage in discussion. Join us to hear Steve McQueen in conversation about his creative process and influences, illuminated with images of his work, film clips, anecdotes, and personal insights.

About Steve McQueen

Born in London in 1969, McQueen came to art with an intense interest in painting, inspired by the works of Burra, de Kooning, and Basquiat. He attended the Chelsea School of Art and Goldsmiths’ College, followed by a year at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York, during which time he discovered film and the power contained within the moving image as an expressive medium across time. First garnering international attention for his thesis film Bear in 1993, McQueen has produced a series of densely meaningful, deeply challenging work across still and moving image media.

Since winning the prestigious Turner Prize in 1999, McQueen’s artistic versatility has, in recent years, allowed him to successfully navigate the crossover from the gallery world to feature filmmaking, winning the Caméra d’Or award for first-time filmmakers at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival for Hunger, which was part of the Walker’s First Look series in 2009. McQueen’s 16mm film installation, Running Thunder, was also included in the 2009 Walker exhibition The Quick and the Dead, and surveyed in the companion publication.

In the last decade, McQueen’s work has been shown extensively around the world and was recently featured in a twenty year retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Schaulager in Basel, Switzerland. He was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 2002, has participated in Documenta XI, and was selected as the artist to represent Britain at the 2009 Venice Biennale.

The Dialogue and Retrospective Program is made possible by generous support from Anita and Myron Kunin.

Steve McQueen

Photo: Thierry Bal, courtesy Thomas Dane Gallery, London