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Is “Small Axe” Film Or Television? Steve McQueen Has The Answer!


All season long, Steve McQueen’s unique project Small Axe, billed as a collection of five films, has been puzzled over. Not due to quality, of course, since it’s quite good, but as to whether this production with Amazon was a series of movies, or a work of television? For example, the Academy deems it TV, and so has the Golden Globes, various critics groups have recognized it as cinema. Now, we actually have the intended answer from McQueen himself, who seeks to clear up any remaining confusion. Read on to see where he falls in terms of the two sides of the debate…

Here’s a bit from his comments to The Hollywood Reporter:

Steve McQueen’s BBC and Amazon anthology series Small Axe has been racking up awards — along with some confusion.

The series that follows West Indian immigrants in London comprises five short films, varying in length from 64 minutes to 128 minutes. While it earned a Globe nom for best limited series, anthology series or motion picture made for TV, the project also landed the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s award for best picture in December (the winner of this prize almost always goes on to earn Oscar nominations). The LAFCA win sparked a heated debate on social media whether McQueen’s latest work was a film or a TV series.

McQueen, though, is ready to settle the debate: “This was always made for television, for the BBC, because I wanted my mother to see these stories on TV,” he tells THR. “This is nothing new to Europe. Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Alan Parker — that all came from made-for-TV movies. All I wanted to do was to tell as many stories as I could possibly tell in that time and place.”

Stay tuned for more throughout the season on Small Axe…

(Source: THR)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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