An award-winning writer, script consultant and teacher, Paul Hallam has written or co-written numerous screenplays including: A Kind of English (dir. Ruhul Amin, Channel 4); the triple-award winning short film Caught Looking (dir. Constantine Giannaris, Channel 4. USA Water Bearer DVD); the feature film Nighthawks (Cannes Film Festival – Un Certain Regard choice; ZDF and privately funded); Strip Jack Naked (dir. Ron Peck, British Film Institute); and Cannes Critics’ Prize winner Young Soul Rebels (dir. Isaac Julien, script published by the British Film Institute in Diary of a Young Soul Rebel). Hallam also wrote the play, The Dish, performed in London, New York and Toronto, a BBC Radio 4 adaptation of which was broadcast in 1998.
Published by Verso, his first book, The Book of Sodom, was a personal and cross-cultural look at the idea of a “wicked city.” A long excerpt from the book appeared in The Postmodern Bible Reader (Blackwell, 2001). A 50-page section of the book has been available on Google Books since 2009. His Briefplay series on prostitute/client relations appears in various forms – performance, video and publication (Feminist Review)). His essay on honour, Dirty Linen, appeared in the academic journal, Parallax, and his essay on embarrassment, The Floor Would Open, in editor Sue Golding’s, The Eight Technologies of Otherness (Routledge). If You Look at It Long Enough, an essay on pornography, was published in hard and soft cover by Harrington Park Press (2004). For the Asking, an extensive essay on the “promise” of prostitution was published in The Journal of Sexuality and Culture in 2006. In the Shadow of the Mosque – Istanbul City Walks has appeared in the BFI booklet for the double DVD of Nighthawks/Strip Jack Naked and in the journal, The Everyday Experiment (No. 1 relationships, 2010). He wrote the lengthy title essay for Estate, a book by the group Fugitive Images and published by Myrdle Court Press in 2011.
In the 1980s, Hallam wrote many essays, articles and book reviews for British Book News (British Council), City Limits and New Statesman. He has given radio talks, including one on the language of lonely hearts ads for the BBC World Service. In the 1970s, he helped develop and run a cinema and film workshop, Four Corners, in Bethnal Green, East London. Later, he wrote the script treatment for Don Boyd’s film on the life of Ian Fleming, Goldeneye, and worked on and appeared in many other independent film and arts projects. He was also for many years a script reader for the Northern Ireland Film Council.
As writer-in-residence at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Hallam collaborated with staff and students on a large-scale performance piece, The Clock, the Staircase and the Dome. He also created an autobiographical one-man show, Dirty Linen, which was first performed at the Cochrane Theatre in 2006.
Soho, a film by Ron Peck and Paul Hallam and King’s Cross, a film by Kate Boyd and Paul Hallam, appeared on the Second Run DVD of Strip Jack Naked (2005). Nighthawks Reflected – directed by Paula Nightingale and presented by Matt Lucas (Little Britain) – appeared on the Nighthawks DVD (2005). Nighthawks and Strip Jack Naked were re-released on a special double DVD by the British Film Institute on the 30th anniversary of the theatrical release of Nighthawks (2009). New extras appear on this edition, including The Last Biscuit (Paul Hallam and Andrea Luka Zimmerman), an autobiographical film on memory and the ‘theatre’ of the city.
In 2008 Hallam moved to Istanbul where he taught and wrote for many years before returning to London at the end of 2018. Before his death, he was working in collaboration with Openvizor on The Turkish Dormitory, a book and film project, and on a project about Charles Laughton.
In 2013 The Paul Hallam Archive was established in London at the Bishopsgate Institute in association with Openvizor. A short documentary recording the move of the material to The Bishopsgate, and including an interview with Hallam, The Paul Hallam Archive, was produced by Abbas Nokhasteh and filmed by Tijmen Veldhuizen. During this time, and in collaboration with the director Ilker Savaskurt and Openvizor, Hallam was also a script consultant on three projects concerned with the life and work of Turkish film director, Yilmaz Guney.
In 2015, Metaflux, an independent publisher, edited and reprinted If You Look At It Long Enough with a new preface by Gary Wickham.
Hallam passed away on 17 February 2019 in Mansfield, England. His funeral was held on 7 March 2019 in a public memorial service in Mansfield.