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Niall’s directing credits include:
KEEPING MUM (2005, also writer) a black comedy starring Rowan Atkinson, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Patrick Swayze, and co-written with Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Richard Russo (Nobody’s Fool, Empire Falls). It won the 2006 HBO Comedy Arts Festival Screenplay Award in 2006. “A sophisticated gem” (Hollywood Reporter), “British comedy at its very best” (Daily Mirror), “one of the best British film comedies in recent years” (The Times, UK).
MUM’S LIST (2016, also writer), a true story weepie romance based on St John Greene’s best-selling memoir, starring Rafe Spall and Emilia Fox. After a theatrical run in the UK its release on DVD/VOD in March 2017 saw it reach #1 on the Amazon DVD/Blu-Ray bestsellers chart within a single day. Official Selection at the Dinard Festival of British Film, at Shanghai, at the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis, USA (where it won the Audience Award), and at the Festival of British Film at D’Ajaccio in Corsica (where it won the main festival award, the Prize Coup de Couer). “Heartfelt and utterly committed” (The Guardian), “Powerful and beautifully acted” (Mail on Sunday). “A huge emotional rollercoaster, painstakingly handled” (Vue Magazine), “A triumph” (HeyUGuys), “Heart-breaking and uplifting”(Mark Kermode, BBC Radio 5 Live), “Probably the most touching thing I have seen in a while” (BBC Radio 3), “Beautifully well-crafted, staggeringly moving” (Flickreel) “Altogether outstanding. One of the most memorable of 2016.” (The Hollywood News).
THE STOLEN (2017, also writer) a Western-styled adventure co-written with producer Emily Corcoran. Set in New Zealand’s 1860s Gold Rush, starring Alice Eve, Jack Davenport, Graham McTavish and Richard O’Brien. It was released in the US by Universal, and enjoyed a successful 16-week theatrical run in New Zealand. “A thrilling adventure. Johnson has brought the characters to the screen with style” (Blazing Minds), “Hard-hitting, engaging and refreshing” (Time Out London), “Pick of the week” (Hello Magazine).
Niall began writing and directing movies in the UK at the end of the 1980s, after graduating with First Degree Honours in Drama from Bristol University. He started with a run of low budget features, including vampire romance DAWN (1991), and wife-swapping comedy drama THE BIG SWAP, won the Gold Award at the 1998 Flagstaff Film Festival in Arizona, and was selected as Critic’s Choice at the 1999 Rotterdam Film Festival. It was called “unmissable” (Daily Star), “one of the year’s gems” (Cosmopolitan), and “a tour de force” (Seattle Weekly). In the UK, 1999 it secured a place in the year’s top 30 Video Rental releases. Niall followed that with traditional haunted house tale THE GHOST OF GREVILLE LODGE (1999, starring Prunella Scales and George Cole), which has become a Halloween/Christmas season favorite on TV channels around the world.
In 2003 Niall’s spec supernatural script WHITE NOISE was bought by Gold Circle Films. The film, directed by Geoffrey Sax and starring Michael Keaton, opened in January 2005 at #1 in the UK and #2 in the US, where it broke the record at the time for the biggest January opening for a non-sequel. It went on to reach the $100m barrier on its worldwide theatrical grosses.
Born and raised in the Midlands, Niall’s passion for movies is a result of a childhood spent producing epic remakes PLANET OF THE APES, STAR TREK, DOCTOR WHO and BATMAN with his older brother and a silent Kodak 8mm film camera—the most notable recurring feature being his mother’s laundry hanging on the washing line in the back-garden!