Justin is one of the top historical film makers in the UK. Combining his MA in history at Magdalen College, Oxford, and film studies at UCLA, he has specialized in directing period films with critical and popular success. He won the Royal Television Society’s first ever award for Best History Film in 2001 with The Great Plague. He won twice more in 2003 and 2005 with Invitation to a Hanging and Trafalgar Battle Surgeon. He won the Judges RTS Award in 2008 for City of Vice. He has received three more nominations, including one for 1066: The Battle for Middle Earth in 2010. Although BAFTA does not have a History category, Justin’s films have been frequently nominated: The Great Plague and A Harlot’s Progress for craft; The Relief of Belsen for specialist factual; Forgotten Fallen for Best Actor at the Scottish BAFTAs in 2009.
Further recognition has been fulsome. In 2008, The Relief of Belsen won Best Single Drama at the Broadcast Awards. This film also received nominations for a Televisual Bulldog and a Grierson. City of Vice was nominated by the Screen Writers Guild of Great Britain.
Justin’s previous films as a freelancer include The Princes in the Tower for Channel 4; The Last Dragon for Animal Planet (6 international award nominations including Emmy and BAFTA); The Peterloo Massacre and Invitation to a Hanging (2003 RTS winner Best History Film) for Channel 4’s Georgian Underworld season; Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance for PBS; The Great Plague (2001 RTS winner Best History Film, Best Production Design; BAFTA nomination Cinematography) and Georgiana: The People’s Duchess for Channel 4. Prior to these Justin co-wrote his debut feature film, A Feast at Midnight, starring Christopher Lee, and worked for many years in prime-time British dramas and serials.
A trained historian, Justin is determined that history should not be told with a straight face, and that in our collective past are stories to make you laugh and make you cry.
“With a stellar cast, this thoroughly honourable drama describes the indefatigable efforts of Dr James Niven …Brilliantly acted and written… the writer and director exercised impressive restraint and made the scale of the horror more palpable and sinister.”