19 Apr 2004 04:15 PM

Her Majesty The Queen has awarded Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman and founder of Miramax Films, an honorary CBE. The honour is in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the British film industry.

Early on, Mr Weinstein recognised the depth of British film talent, and began a 25-year commitment with Miramax Films to the UK industry.

Credited with bringing experimental and independent arthouse films into the mainstream, he has contributed upwards of 600 million to the developing, commissioning, producing, financing and distributing of countless films made with British production entities. Recent movies include Shakespeare in Love, Wings of the Dove, Chocolat, Dirty Pretty Things and the upcoming J.M. Barrie's Neverland. He established a company in the UK specifically to help ensure greater British input into his productions.

Mr Weinstein's work and vision has been a driving force behind film distribution in the US, and is a key reason why British film is so widely available on screens across America.

Announcing the award today, the British Consul-General in New York, Sir Thomas Harris, commented: "I am delighted that Harvey Weinstein's contribution to film-making in general, and the British cinema in particular, has been recognised in this way."

Mr Weinstein said: "My life and my career have been greatly influenced and enriched by great British filmmakers and authors and so I am especially honoured and humbled to be receiving the CBE.

"I am very grateful for the chance to work with so many British masters - from the ranks of actors, producers, directors and writers. Alongside my company's many US based productions, it has been a constant pleasure to work with the great crews and talent based in the UK.

"Over the years, I have developed a true appreciation for how lucky I am to earn a living while fulfilling my dream of working in the movie business. In the next chapter of my life, I look forward to developing a charitable foundation to help give back to the film industry and help others fulfil their dreams, too."

Note to Editors

Among British talent Mr Weinstein has worked with are directors Anthony Minghella, John Madden and Stephen Frears, producers Stephen Woolley, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, writers Tom Stoppard, Hossein Amini and Richard Curtis and actors including Dame Judi Dench, Jude Law, and Anthony Hopkins.

Mr Weinstein and Miramax have received more than 250 British Academy of Film & Television Arts (Bafta) nominations and have won over 60 Bafta awards.
In 2002, Mr Weinstein and co-chairman Bob Weinstein were awarded the British Film Institute's highest accolade, the bfi Fellowship, for their outstanding contribution to film.

Mr Weinstein is active in the philanthropic community on issues such as AIDs, juvenile diabetes, and multiple sclerosis research. His annual sponsorship at the Cannes Film Festival of Cinema Against AIDS has raised over $13 million for the American Foundation for AIDS research.

Miramax Films has released some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful independent feature films, including a record 14 Best Picture Academy Award nominations over a 12 year period (Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Hours, In the Bedroom, Chocolat, The Cider House Rules, Shakespeare In Love, Life Is Beautiful (La Vita E Bella), Good Will Hunting, The English Patient, Il Postino (The Postman), Pulp Fiction, The Piano and The Crying Game). In its history, Miramax has received 229 Academy Award nominations and has won 54 Academy Awards.

British Honours are awarded on merit for exceptional achievement or service to British interests. Honorary awards to foreigners are conferred by Her Majesty The Queen, on advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on those who have made an important contribution to British interests.

The honour CBE is that of a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, an order founded in 1917 by King George V to recognise service by civilians in World War I. It now honours civilians and military personnel for public service and other distinctions and its motto is For God and the Empire.

Mr Weinstein's investiture ceremony will occur in the coming months.