#1: Photo by William Kallay

#3: "Deathcheaters" [1976]

 

   


JOHN SEALE   ACS/ASC

 

Born: 5 October 1942, Warwick, Queensland, Australia, as John Clement Seale.

Education: High School, Sydney.

Career: John Seale started work in 1963 at the ABC-tv at Gore Hill, New South Wales [the location of the ABC's Sydney television studios which were established in 1956 and which operated until 2002] - in the stationary department, dispensing biros and pestering Chief Cameraman Bert Nicholas for a 'driver assistant' position. Nicholas got Seale off his back by giving him the job, and by good fortune cameraman Bill Grimmond took him under his wing. In the early 1960s ABC-tv produced some of Australia's first drama series with Grimmond and Bob Feeney as doph's and Seale assisting. In 1965 Grimmond persuaded the reluctant ABC heavies to give Seale a chance as camera operator. Seale and Grimmond then worked on the children's series 'Wandjina!' [1965] and they continued working together on drama productions, mostly in 35mm. In 1970 Seale moved to Fauna Productions as operator on the 'Barrier Reef' series and when Fauna produced the film 'Nickel Queen', Seale operated on his first feature with doph John Williams. From there on he was working regularly as camera operator with Australia's leading cinematographers. Seale recalls that at first he hadn't paid a great deal of attention to lighting and after his first attempt in the role of doph on 'Deathcheaters' [1976], was happy to return to operating. Director Maurice Murphy lured him into being doph on the low budget feature 'Fatty Finn' [1980] and Seale gained confidence. He then took the position of operator on 'Gallipoli' with ph Russell Boyd. After 'Gallipoli' he established himself as a doph and in 1983 was awarded the ACS 'Milli' Award as 'Cinematographer of the Year' for 'Goodbye Paradise'. In 1985 Peter Weir invited him to go to the USA to shoot 'Witness'. This was the beginning of his international career.

Directed the feature 'Till There Was You' [1989; ph: Robert Primes & Geoffrey Simpson].

Member of the ASC since January 1997.

In 1998 he received an Honorary Doctorate at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.

His son Derin is a dir; his daughter Brianna is a former set dresser.

Retired in 2010 [came out of retirement for 'Mad Max: Fury Road'].

Appeared in the doc's 'Run Nickel Run/The Nickel Queen: The Making of a Movie' [1970, Syd Donovan; ph: Bill Meacham], 'Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography' [1991], an ep of the doc series 'ACS Video Series', 'The Hitcher - How Do These Movies Get Made?' [2002, Jörg Bauer; ph: Robert Jaye; 38m], 'Climbing 'Cold Mountain'' [2003, Tim Bricknell & Laura Luccetti; 74m] & 'Cinematographer Style' [2005, Jon Fauer; ph: J. Fauer, Jeff Laszlo, Brian Heller & David Morgan]. 

Awards [selection]: AFI [Aus] Award nom [1981] for 'The Survivor'; AFI [Aus] Award [1983] for 'Careful, He Might Hear You'; ACS 'Milli' Award 'Australian Cinematographer of the Year' [1983] for 'Goodbye Paradise'; AFI [Aus] Award nom [1984] for 'Silver City'; ACS 'Milli' Award 'Australian Cinematographer of the Year' [1985]; 'Oscar' AA nom [1986] & BAFTA Film Award nom [1986] for 'Witness'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1989] & ASC Award nom [1989] for 'Rain Man'; BAFTA Film Award nom [1990; shared] for 'Gorillas in the Mist'; BSFC Award [1996], ASC Film Award [1996], 'Oscar' AA [1997], BAFTA Film Award [1997], BSC Award nom [1997], CFCA Award [1997] & European Film Award [1997] for 'The English Patient'; ACS 'Hall of Fame' Award [1997]; Kodak Vision Award [1997]; BAFTA Film Award nom [2000] & CFCA Award nom [2000] for 'The Talented Mr. Ripley'; Member of the Order of Australia [AM] [2002] for 'Service to the Arts as an Australian and internationally acclaimed cinematographer'; 'Oscar' AA nom [2003], ASC Film Award nom [2003] & BAFTA Film Award nom [2004] for 'Cold Mountain'; ASC International Achievement Award [2010]; Plus Camerimage 'Lifetime Achievement Award' [2011]; ASC Film Award nom [2015] & 'Oscar' AA nom [2015] for 'Mad Max: Fury Road'.


 

 FILMS

1973

West Head [Chris Noonan] 16mm/c; doc/19m; cph: Bill Constable; prod AFTRS

1976

Deathcheaters/Death Cheaters [Brian Trenchard-Smith] 35bu/c

1978

Cries from a Cold Aquarium [Howard Rubie] c; short/45m

1979

Heart, Head & Hand [: Peter Rushford, Potter] [Peter Weir] 16mm/b&w-c; doc/25m

1978

Stunt Rock/Crash/Sorcery [Brian Trenchard-Smith] 16mm (stunt footage)+35mm-to-tao35/c; co-2uc Australia; ph: Bob Carras (= Robert Primes)

1980

Fatty Finn [Maurice Murphy] c; 2uc: Tony Wilson

1980

The Dangerous Summer [Brian Trenchard-Smith] c; doc/23m

1980

The Survivor [David Hemmings] p/c; addph: David Foreman, Louis Irving, Kevan Lind, Paul Onorato, Peter Rogers & Geoffrey Simpson

1980

The Law [ep 'Lesley' (12m), 'Weedy Plot' (10m), 'Accident' (16m) & 'Buying Blues' (12m) dir by Keith Gow] 4-part educational series/16mm

1981

Goodbye Paradise [Carl Schultz] c

1981

Horror Movie/Goose Flesh [Maurice Murphy] unfinished because the funding fell through

1981

Doctors and Nurses [Maurice Murphy] c

1982

The Year of Living Dangerously [Peter Weir] p/c; 2uc; ph: Russell Boyd

1982

Ginger Meggs [Jonathan Dawson] c

1982

Fighting Back/Death Vengeance/Fighting Free [Michael Caulfield] c

1983

Careful, He Might Hear You [Carl Schultz] p/c

1983

BMX Bandits/Short Wave [Brian Trenchard-Smith] p/c; addph: Louis Irving & Ross Berryman

1984

Silver City [Sophia Turkiewicz] p/c; 2nd ph: Judy Rymer

1984

The Empty Beach [Chris Thomson] c

1984

Witness [Peter Weir] c; 2uc: Chuck Clifton

1985

The Hitcher [Robert Harmon] p/c; 2uc: Charles Minsky; aph: Jack Cooperman

1985

Children of a Lesser God [Randa Haines] c; 2uc: Fred Guthe

1986

The Mosquito Coast [Peter Weir] c; 2uc: David Burr

1987

Stakeout [John Badham] c; 2uc: Peter McLennan

 

"Gorillas in the Mist"

 

1987

Gorillas in the Mist [: The Story of Dian Fossey] [Michael Apted] c; 2uc: Simon Trevor; sfx ph: Robin Browne; spph: Bob Campbell; special gorilla ph Zaire: Alan Root

1988

Rain Man [Barry Levinson] c; uncred 2uc: Walt Lloyd

1988

Dead Poets Society [Peter Weir] c

1990

Flirting [John Duigan] scheduled as doph, but film was ph by Geoff Burton

1990

The Doctor [Randa Haines] c; uncred 2uc: Walt Lloyd; filmed 1990-91

1991

Lorenzo's Oil [George Miller] c

 

[Right] with dir Sydney Pollack - "The Firm"

Photo Thys Ockersen Archive

 

1992

The Firm [Sydney Pollack] c; uwph: Pete Romano

1993

The Paper [Ron Howard] c

1994

Beyond Rangoon [John Boorman] p/c; 2uc: David Burr

1995

The American President [Rob Reiner] p/c

1995

The English Patient [Anthony Minghella] c; 2uc: Remi Adefarasin

1996

Ghosts of Mississippi/Ghosts from the Past [Rob Reiner] c

1997

City of Angels [Brad Silberling] p/c; addph: Kenneth Zunder; remake of 'Der Himmel über Berlin/Les ailes du désir/Wings of Desire' (1986-87, Wim Wenders; ph: Henri Alekan)

1998

At First Sight [Irwin Winkler] c

1998

The Talented Mr. Ripley [Anthony Minghella] c; New York ph: Benoît Delhomme

1998

Static [Derin Seale] c; short/12m

1999

The Perfect Storm [Wolfgang Petersen] p/c; 2uc: Walt Lloyd; uwph: Gary Capo

2000

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's [Philosopher's] Stone [Chris Columbus] s35/c; 2uc: Gavin Finney; model unit ph: Nigel Stone

2001

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets [Chris Columbus] scheduled as doph, but film was ph by Roger Pratt

2002

Dreamcatcher [Lawrence Kasdan] s35/c; 2uc: Roger Vernon; vfx ph: Patrick Sweeney

 

[Hat] with dir Anthony Minghella - "Cold Mountain"

 

2002

Cold Mountain [Anthony Minghella] s35/c; 2uc: Tim Wooster

2003

Spanglish [James L. Brooks] c; 2uc: Walt Lloyd; aph: Phil Pastuhov

 

[Right] with dir Wolfgang Petersen - "Poseidon"

 

2005

Poseidon [Wolfgang Petersen] s35 (+ IMAX-70bu & D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Mark Vargo; model unit ph: Martin Rosenberg & Patrick Sweeney

2008

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time [Mike Newell] s35 (+ IMAX-70bu & D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Alexander Witt; aph: Adam Dale; vfx ph: Peter Talbot & James D. Kelly; elements ph (add efx unit UK): Nigel Stone

2009

The Rum Diary [Bruce Robinson] s16-35bu (+ D-Cinema)/c; addph; ph: Dariusz Wolski

2010

The Tourist [Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck] p (+ D-Cinema)/c; aph: John Marzano; vfx ph: Mark Weingartner; remake of 'Anthony Zimmer' (2004, Jérôme Salle; ph: Denis Rouden)

2010

Trevi [Christian Keller] in development; status unknown (2011)

2012

Mad Max: Fury Road [George Miller] HD (ARRI ALEXA Plus/p & M/p + Canon EOS 5D + Olympus OM-D E-M5 + Blackmagic Cinema Camera)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema [also 3-D version])/c; 2uc: David Burr; addph: Sven Vosloo & Brooks P. Guyer; edge arm ph: Daniel Nichols; see David Eggby (2003) & Dean Semler (2010); this was the first digital shoot for John Seale, who was plucked from retirement for the project; filmed 2012 & 2013; released in 2015

 

 TELEVISION

 

"Boney"

 

1971

Boney/Bonaparte [ep #12 'Boney Buys a Woman' dir by Peter Maxwell] 26-part series/16mm, 1972-73; 1st season, 1972 (13 ep); other ph: John J. Williams

1972

Boney/Bonaparte [ep #14 'Boney Tells a Fortune' dir by Ron Way] 2nd season, 1973 (13 ep); see 1971

1979

New South Wales Images [Russell Boyd] doc/55m/16mm; cph: Russell Boyd

1985

Winners [ep (48m) 'Top Kid' dir by Carl Schultz] 8-part series/16mm, 1986

 

 FILMS & TELEVISION AS CAMERA OPERATOR

1965

Wandjina! [Ken Hannam] 7-part tv-series/b&w, 1966 (ABC-tv); co-c.op

1967

Contrabandits [Eric Taylor, a.o.] 30-part tv-series/video+film/b&w, 1967-68 (ABC-tv); ph: ?

1969

Delta [David Goddard, a.o.] 23-part tv-series/b&w, 1969-70 (ABC-tv); ph: ?

1969

Pastures of the Blue Crane [Tom Jeffrey] 6-part tv-miniseries/b&w (ABC-tv); ph: ?; first Australian drama series to be shot entirely on film

1969

Barrier Reef/Minus Five [Peter Maxwell, a.o.] 39-part tv-series, 1971-72 (Network 10); ph: John J. Williams

1970

Nickel Queen [John McCallum] ph: John J. Williams

1972

The Hands of Cormac Joyce [Fielder Cook; tvm] ?; ph: John McLean

1972

Boney/Bonaparte [ep #19 'Boney and the Kelly Gang' dir by Ron Way] ph: John J. Williams; 2nd season, 1973; see Television (1971)

1973

Alvin Purple [Tim Burstall] ph: Robin Copping

1974

Shannon's Mob [various; tv-series] ?; ph: John J. Williams

1974

Sunday Too Far Away [Ken Hannam] ?; ph: Geoffrey Burton

1974

The Man from Hong Kong/The Dragon Flies [Brian Trenchard-Smith] c.asst; ph: Russell Boyd

1975

Picnic at Hanging Rock [Peter Weir] ph: Russell Boyd

1975

Born to Run/Harness Fever [Don Chaffey; tvm] ph: Geoffrey Burton

1975

Armchair Cinema [ep #6 'Tully' dir by James Gatward; tv-series] co-c.op; ph: Geoffrey Burton & Brian Probyn

1975

Caddie [Donald Crombie] ph: Peter James

1975

Mad Dog Morgan [Philippe Mora] ph: Mike Molloy

1976

Break of Day [Ken Hannam] ph: Russell Boyd

1977

The Last Wave/Black Rain [Peter Weir] ph: Russell Boyd

1977

The Irishman [Donald Crombie] ph: Peter James

1977

Weekend of Shadows [Tom Jeffrey] ph: Richard Wallace

1977

Dawn! [Ken Hannam] ph: Russell Boyd

1978

Money Movers [Bruce Beresford] ph: Don McAlpine

1978

Blue Fin [Carl Schultz] ph: Geoffrey Burton

1978

The Odd Angry Shot [Tom Jeffrey] ph: Don McAlpine

1979

The Earthling [Peter Collinson] ph: Don McAlpine

1980

Gallipoli [Peter Weir] ph: Russell Boyd

 

 

NOTE: Some [Canadian] productions are photographed by a John Seale. That's John William Seale [1918-2006], a cinematographer who worked for CBC-tv from 1954-79, and went freelance after that. Films [selection]:

1977

Dreamspeaker [Claude Jutra] tvm

1980

By Design/Sur mesure [Claude Jutra] c; 2uc; ph: Jean Boffety

1983

The Mind of a Murderer [Michael Barnes] 2-part ('The Case of the Hillside Strangler' [60m] & 'The Mask of Madness' [65m]) doc; cph: Peter Chapman, Rick Robertson, David Myers, a.o.; ep BBC2-tv doc series 'Horizon' (1984); in USA 2-part ep PBS-tv series 'Frontline' (1984)

1986

A Sense of Sound/J'entends tout [Don White] c; exp anim/6m; for NFB of Canada

1986

Speaking Object-ly/Le langage des choses [Don White] c; exp anim/6m; for NFB of Canada