From a career that began with high-profile documentaries around the globe, Mike Eley followed an unconventional path to narrative features by serving as the cameraman of documentary-style segments for films such as Notting Hill and Love Actually. But it was esteemed director Ken Loach who helped launch Eley into narrative filmmaking by hiring him to work on The Navigators. Eley’s talent for combining the spontaneity of documentaries with narrative storytelling was perhaps best exemplified in the riveting docudrama Touching the Void, which earned a British Independent Film Award for Best Technical Achievement. Eley has collaborated multiple times with director Susanna White, notably on BBC’s Jane Eyre, for which he received both an Emmy nomination and the RTS Award for Best Cinematography. For the HBO film Grey Gardens he earned his second Emmy nomination. He later re-teamed with White for both the feature film Nanny McPhee Returns, starring Emma Thompson, and the HBO production of Parade’s End, which garnered Eley his third Emmy nomination.
Fifteen years after his brief stint as the documentary cameraman on Notting Hill, Eley was reunited with director Roger Michell, only now as Director of Photography of The Lost Honor of Christopher Jeffries, which earned him both BAFTA and RTS Awards for Best Cinematography. The two enjoyed further collaborations with My Cousin Rachel, starring Rachel Weisz, Blackbird, starring Kate Winslet and Susan Sarandon, and what would become Michell’s final narrative film, The Duke, starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren. Other recent works include the Nick Hornsby series State of the Union, directed by Stephen Frears for Sundance TV, and two films for Netflix—Simon Stone’s The Dig, starring Ralph Fiennes, Carey Mulligan and Lily James, and the upcoming The Beautiful Game for director Thea Sharrock (MeBefore You).