John Hay (1964-) is an English film director who was born in Kolkata in India where his mother, Elizabeth Partridge, worked as a foreign correspondent for the News Chronicle. He returned to England and was raised in Sussex where he started making films at the age of twelve.
He studied Film and Drama at the University of Reading where he was awarded a First for his quirky, comedic short about Bertrand Russell's meditative essay on a table.
After leaving university, he began directing for UK television, making dramas such as Looking Back and two adaptations of Heathcote Williams' epic poems, Falling for a Dolphin and Autogeddon, which starred Academy Award-winner Jeremy Irons. Autogeddon was critically revered and won the Jury Prize at Shanghai which led to Hay working with Al Pacino on Every Time I Cross the Tamar I Get into Trouble, a short about Pacino’s personally-financed feature The Local Stigmatic, which was based on a stage play by Heathcote Williams. He worked again with Pacino in 1996 on Looking for Richard, starring Kevin Spacey and Alec Baldwin.
With his writing partner, Rik Carmichael, he cowrote and directed a critically acclaimed adaptation of a Jim Corbett story, The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag
which starred Jason Flemyng and Jodhi May. He also directed an adaptation of the children’s classic, Stig of the Dump for the BBC which won a BAFTA and an EMMY.
He is perhaps best known for his film, There's Only One Jimmy Grimble
starring Robert Carlyle and Ray Winstone, which won the Crystal Bear for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival in 2001 and ten other first prizes including the Golden Griffin for best feature at Giffoni Film Festival.
He is currently directing Journey Through Midnight, an adaptation of Whitbread-Award winner Jamila Gavin's Wheel of Surya, the story of Indian Partition seen through the eyes of a child.