Cookson finally got recognition as
director, producer and writer for My Angel at the Monaco International Film Festival. Having pursued
directing, producing and writing ever since leaving the National Youth Theatre, he has concentrated on all three career paths finding satisfaction in each one in the
battle to get a movie made.
was the first British production to win Best Film, Best Director and
Best Screenplay, plus Best Actor (Timothy Spall) and Best Actress (Brenda
Blethyn) at the glitzy French film festival in 2011.
Since making short films with some of
the Monty Python crew, his vivid imagination caught the attention of Robert
Zemeckis and Michael Jackson’s production company in the late 90's, where he was given
his first development deals.
He managed to land a job at the Cannes
Films Festival and discovered that during his first year he would be a runner for
David Lean, who became his mentor. Cookson acted alongside Jason Connery in Journey’s End and found himself that same year working as an extra on The Russia House with Sean Connery.
He took as much extra work as he could, working on large scale studio movies filming
in the UK and talked to top directors including Brian De Palma, Jerry Zucker, Kevin
Costner and Kenneth Branagh.
He started his directing and producing career by doing many short
films, commercials and pop promo’s. One of the first projects was for an aspiring singer
called Ricky Gervais. Fate led him to meet his neighbour; Academy Award winning producer John Daly (The Last Emperor,
Platoon, Terminator) who helped him raise the finance for his first movie Stoneman.
He then went on to collaberate with Renaissance
Germany producer Margit Bimler and top European film funder Apollo Media (Whale Rider) to direct Mumbo Jumbo (Joss Ackland, Brian
Blessed, John Inman and Richard O’Brien).
Cookson worked on Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits II, which due to a rights
discrepancy never got made. He also developed Ritz a bio-pic about Casear Ritz the creator of the famous
London/Paris hotel with the co-writers from Stephen Frears Mrs Henderson Presents.
He went on to direct the first original
musical since Alan Parker’s hugely successful Bugsy Malone to star a cast of entirely children playing adults.
The songs for Journey To The Moon
were composed by Monty Python collaberators Andre Jacquemin & Dave Howman.
Paul Ross along with Philip Schofield helped with publicising the auditions
which ended up taking eight months with over 8,000 children auditioning across the
Cookson made a documentary called When Frankie Met Dennis with veteran DOP
Mike Southon interviewing for the first time Frankie Howerd’s long time manager
Dennis Heymer. The film included interviews with Sir Ian McKellen, Richard
Wilson and June Whitfield.
He is currently writing a comedy with
Timothy Spall called Skid Marks and
Glamour about what happens to actors when they reach the end of their
career and will do almost anything to pay the bills, even working on a cruise
ship. He is also developing a sequel to David Lean's Ryan's Daughter with Sarah Miles.