David Yates was born on November 30, 1963 in Lancashire, England. Both of his parents died when he was young, but not before David became interested in filmmaking, using a Super 8mm camera to make short videos about the lives of his friends and family. He went on to attend the University of Essex, where he formed the Film and Video Production Society and graduated with a degree in Government.
After graduation, David filmed the short When I Was a Girl, which led to his acceptance into the National Film and Television School in 1989. After completing his coursework there, he worked on several television projects and movies. His work on television resulted in two BAFTA TV Awards, one in 2002 for The Way We Live Now and onw in 2005 for Sex Traffic. He also won an Emmy Award in 2006 for The Girl in the Cafe.
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David directed the last four Harry Potter films, from Order of the Phoenix through Deathly Hallows – Parts 1 and 2. These films became the highest-grossing installments of the entire Potter series.
David directed four of the Harry Potter films – more than any other director. Of the experience, he has said:
It has been [an] interesting mental test and physical test. There have been moments where I’ve felt like a million dollars and feel like I could climb Everest, and moments where it’s been hard to take that next step. In a way making these four films together has been like the challenges you make in one film but on a slightly longer, bigger scale. But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, and I’m very proud of them and just watching four now is, the fourth one, is really exhilarating because it moves like a locomotive.
David received many awards and nominations for his work on Harry Potter, including two Empire Awards, a European Film Award, and a BAFTA, among others. Additionally, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was the only film in the series to get an Oscar nomination, for Best Cinematography.
David has worked on multiple film and television projects including the critically acclaimed 2003 mini-series State of Play, which tells the story of a newspaper investigating a young woman’s death and stars James McAvoy and Bill Nighy. David also directed, wrote, and produced the 1988 award-winning short film When I Was a Girl. His made-for-TV film The Girl in the Cafe, starring Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald, won him an Emmy Award in 2006.