October 1, 2023


Sam Mendes/ recipient of the Stockholm Visionary Award 2022

3 min read

Sam Mendes is this year’s recipient of the Stockholm Visionary Award and is visiting Stockholm in connection with his film Empire of Light (2022), which will have its Nordic premiere during the Stockholm Film Festival. 

Sam Mendes broke through with the film American Beauty (1999), for which he won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe in the Best Director category. In 2009, he was again nominated for a Golden Globe for Revolutionary Road. In 2012, Mendes directed the 23rd James Bond film Skyfall and in 2015 he directed the 24th Bond film, Spectre.

Photo by Halina Bartoszek

Mendes has directed several acclaimed theaters and musical productions in England. The first major production was The Cherry Orchard with Judi Dench in one of the roles. For the Royal Shakespeare Company, he staged several plays starring Simon Russell Beale. In the spring of 2014, they collaborate again with a production of King Lear. His first musical premiere was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2013).

Photo by Halina Bartoszek, Git Scheynius with Sam Mendes



He is the creator of the 25 ways to be a happier director. The most important collaborators in his career are two cinematographers, he has three-four cinematographers, most particularly Conrad Hall, who shot his first and second movies.  And won one of the Academy Awards for both. For him, he is the rock. He is the one working also with the female cinematographer and Kuras. His second most important collaborators are actors. Sam is an expert in reading what each actor needs. He said that theater taught him to tell a story to a group of people within two, two and a half hours in a dart room and how to communicate with them.

He grew up watching television comedy, mostly Python TV shows. He always tried to stretch himself to do work in areas that after that point he had never worked.

When you learn from great Comics is rhythm and timing. Directing is your very own particular Rhythm and honed trust to earlier collaborates. Sam Mendes


When you find a team that really understands the way you walk and wants to work with you, you should keep hold of them. Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes in Stockholm

The Empire of Light is the kind of movie house you don’t see too often anymore, framed by bright lights and a beautiful marquee, graciously inviting all into its red-velvet seats. Hilary (Olivia Colman) serves at the front of the house, opening the theatre every morning and overseeing a brimming concession stand. Meanwhile, her manager (Colin Firth) calls her into his office occasionally for illicit favors. It’s a gloomy routine that Hilary grudgingly repeats, but all her co-workers recognize that she’s been quieter since returning to the job after a long absence. When Stephen (Micheal Ward) arrives as an eager new employee, the two form a quick, if outwardly unlikely, connection. Hilary hides a troubled past, struggling to manage her mental health, while Stephen, a young Black man, grapples with the racism rampant in 1980s Britain.

Both wounded by aggressions outside their control, they find an escape and safe harbor in one another — but their relationship, like the Empire cinema itself, cannot last forever, and soon the pair must face the reality of their differing futures. Ward gives an exceptional performance opposite Colman, who realizes another remarkable character, equal parts sweet and shocking, as a woman filled with emotions considered socially inappropriate to express. Master cinematographer Roger Deakins exquisitely photographs the inhabitants of this story, created with great tenderness and compassion by writer-director Sam Mendes, making Empire of Light a love letter to the people who come together under the glow of the cinema, and to the beautiful tales they take away for the rest of their lives. 

Mendes will visit the Skandia Cinema in Stockholm on the same day at 6.00 pm to receive the Bronze Horse and participate in a Face2Face on 11.11.2022.

more information in the link below


Halina Bartoszek Rosa

05.11.2022 Stockholm

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.