#1: From interview [2011]

#3: "Get Smart" [2007]

 

   


DEAN SEMLER   ACS/ASC

 

Born: 1943, Renmark, South Australia, Australia, as Dean William Semler.

Career: Started as tv-studio cameraman and floor manager at ABC-tv. Moved to Sydney and ph doc's before joining [in 1971] the Australian Commonwealth Film Unit/Film Australia shooting government sponsored films. Went freelance in 1981.

Ph commercials.

Member of the ACS since 1975 and ASC since 1998.

Also active as director. Member of the Directors Guild of America.

Gives lighting workshops at the Australian Film Television and Radio School [AFTRS].

His daughter Ingrid is a c.asst.

Appeared in the doc's 'Kodak Cinematography Masterclass Series - Lighting 'Dances with Wolves' with Dean Semler' [1993, Ray Argall; ph: Chris Fraser; prod: AFTRS; 29m], 'We Were Soldiers: Getting It Right' [2002; 26m], 'xXx: A Filmmakers Diary' [2002, Todd Grossman; 40m], 'Dances with Wolves: The Creation of an Epic' [2002, J.M. Kenny; ph: Alex Pappas, a.o.; 81m], 'Return of the Legend: The Making of 'The Alamo'' [2004; 18m], 'Harnessing Speed' [2005, Todd Grossman; 87m], 'Cinematographer Style' [2005, Jon Fauer; ph: J. Fauer, Jeff Laszlo, Brian Heller & David Morgan] & '"15ish" Minutes of Fame (Stories from the Veterans) - Cinematographer Dean Semler A.S.C.' [2011; interview; 45m21s].

Awards: AFI [Aus] Award nom [1982] for 'Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior'; AFI [Aus] Award nom [1983] for 'Undercover'; ACS 'Milli' Award 'Australian Cinematographer of the Year' [1984] for 'Razorback'; AFI [Aus] Award nom [1985] for 'The Coca-Cola Kid'; AFI [Aus] Award nom [1988] for 'The Lighthorsemen'; AFI [Aus] Award [1989] for 'Dead Calm'; ASC Film Award [1990], 'Oscar' AA [1991], CFCA Award [1991], BSC Award nom [1991] & BAFTA Film Award nom [1992] for 'Dances with Wolves'; ACS 'Hall of Fame' Award [1997]; Member of the Order of Australia [AM] [2002] for 'Services to the Arts as an Australian and internationally acclaimed cinematographer'; Hawaii IFF 'Excellence in Cinematography Award' [2003]; ASC Award nom [2007] for 'Apocalypto'; ASC Lifetime Achievement Award [2012].


 

 FILMS [for documentaries see below]

1971

Where Dead Men Lie [Keith Gow] c; short/15m; cph: Jon Rhodes; ep 'Outlook'-series

1971

The Choice [Donald Crombie] 16mm/c; short/34m

1973

I Need More Staff [Donald Crombie] c; short/22m; cph: Jon Rhodes

1973

One Good Reason [Donald Crombie] 16mm + 35bu/c; comm short/19m; prod by Film Australia for the Australian Army

1975

Let the Balloon Go [Oliver Howes] c; 2uc: Don McAlpine

1976

Do I Have to Kill My Child? [Donald Crombie] c; short/52m

1979

Chase That Dream [: The Pursuit of Home Ownership in Australia] [part 1 (12m) dir by Ken Cameron] 16mm/c; 3-part series of comm shorts (part 2 - Four Months Later; part 3 - Four Years Later); prod by Film Australia for the Department of Housing and Construction

1979

The Earthling [Peter Collinson] p/c; 2uc; ph: Don McAlpine

1980

Dancing [George Whaley] c; short/19m; prod Australian Film and Television School

1981

Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior/Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior [George Miller] p/b&w-c; 2u cameraman: Geoff Simpson; doc cameraman: Andrew Lesnie

1981

Hoodwink [Claude Whatham] c

1982

Kitty and the Bagman [Donald Crombie] p/c

1982

Undercover [David Stevens] c; 100m & 85m (1984)

1983

Razorback [Russell Mulcahy] p/c; 2uc: Billy Grimmond, Ross Berryman & Steve Dobson

1984

The Coca-Cola Kid [Dusan Makavejev] c; 2uc: Andrew McLean & Colin Deane

1984

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome/Mad Max 3 [George Miller & George Ogilvie] p/c; model unit ph: Ken Arlidge & Richard Merryman

1986

Bullseye [Carl Schultz] c

1986

Going Sane [Michael Robertson] c

1987

The Lighthorsemen [Simon Wincer] p/c; 2uc: Ian Jones & Richard Merryman

1987

Farewell to the King [John Milius] c; 2uc: Andrew Lesnie; spec water unit ph (Waimea Bay): Richard Edlund

1988

Young Guns [Christopher Cain] c

1988

K-9 [Rod Daniel] c

1988

Cocktail [Roger Donaldson] c

1988

Dead Calm [Phillip Noyce] p/c; opening seq ph: Geoff Burton; addph: Ross Berryman & Ian Jones

1989

Impulse [Sondra Locke] c

1989

Dances with Wolves [Kevin Costner] p/c; 2uc: John Huneck & Philip C. Pfeiffer

1990

Young Guns II [: Blaze of Glory] [Geoff Murphy] p/c; 2uc: Virgil Harper

1990

City Slickers [Ron Underwood] c; addph Spain: Robert Eber & Fernando Espiga; 2uc Spain: Martin Fuhrer; aph: Ron Goodman; matte ph: Paul Curley

1991

The Power of One [John G. Avildsen] c; matte ph: Glenn Campbell

1992

Super Mario Bros. [Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel; uncred: Roland Joffé & Dean Semler] c; 2uc: James Devis; + co-2ud; D. Semler replaced Peter Levy, who was fired several weeks into filming

1992

Last Action Hero [John McTiernan] p/c; 2uc: David Nowell

1993

The Three Musketeers [Stephen Herek] p/c; 2uc: Rex Metz

 

[Left] with dir Gregg Champion - "The Cowboy Way"

Photo by Barry Wetcher - Thys Ockersen Archive

 

1993

The Cowboy Way [Gregg Champion] c; uncred 2uc: Ron Fortunato

1994

Waterworld [Kevin Reynolds] c; addph: Richard Merryman; 2uc: Gary Capo; uwph: Pete Romano; vfx ph: Alex Funke & Mark Vargo

1995

Gone Fishin' [Christopher Cain] c; 2uc: Gary Capo (Florida; + add 2ud) & Richard Bowen (add 2uc New Jersey/South Carolina)

1996

Trojan War/Rescue Me [George Huang] c

1998

The Bone Collector [Phillip Noyce] s35/c; addph London: Tony Pierce-Roberts; 2uc Montreal: Geoffrey Erb; 2uc New York: Craig Haagensen

1999

D-Tox [Jim Gillespie] p/c

1999

Nutty Professor II: The Klumps [Peter Segal] 35mm+p-to-35mm/c; 2uc: Don McCuaig

2000

Heartbreakers [David Mirkin] p/c; 2uc Florida: Mike McGowan Sr.

2000

The Adventures of Pluto Nash [Ron Underwood] c; 2uc (Los Angeles); ph: Oliver Wood

2000

Dragonfly [Tom Shadyac] p/c; 2uc: Don McCuaig; aph: Phil Pastuhov

2001

We Were Soldiers [Randall Wallace] p/c; 2uc: Lloyd Ahern II, Michael Gershman & Richard Merryman; aph: David Nowell

2001

xXx [Rob Cohen] p/c; 2uc: Don McCuaig

2002

Bruce Almighty [Tom Shadyac] c; 2uc: Don McCuaig

2003

The Alamo [John Lee Hancock] p/c; addph: Sebastian Vega; replaced doph Salvatore Totino

2004

Stealth [Rob Cohen] p/c; uncred ph Thailand: Russell Boyd; aph: Dwayne McClintock; vfx ph: Erik Nash

2004

The Longest Yard [Peter Segal] p/c; 2uc: Don McCuaig; aph: Dwayne McClintock

2005

Just My Luck [Donald Petrie] c; 2uc: Paul Hughen; concert footage ph: Daniel Pearl; replaced doph Anastas Michos

2005

Click [Frank Coraci] HD (Genesis)-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c; New York ph: Jack N. Green; aph: Phil Pastuhov

 

[Right] with actor Ariel Galvan & dir Mel Gibson - "Apocalypto"

 

2005

Apocalypto [Mel Gibson] HD (Genesis)+35mm+s16-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Richard Merryman; Costa Rica ph: Mario Cardona; UK ph: Daryn Okada

2006

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry [Dennis Dugan] HD (Genesis)-to-35mm/c; 2uc: Don McCuaig & (New York) Ron Fortunato

2007

Get Smart [Peter Segal] HD (Genesis)+35mm-to-35mm/c; 2uc: Don McCuaig & David Insley; skydiving unit ph: Norman Kent; Flying Cam ph: Mike Kirsch

2007

Appaloosa [Ed Harris] p/c; 2uc: Phil Pfeiffer

2008

Bedtime Stories [Adam Shankman] HD (Genesis)+s35-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc; ph: Michael Barrett

2008

Justice League: Mortal [George Miller] pre-production; project was abandoned

 

[Left] with dir Roland Emmerich - "2012"

Photo by David Strick

 

2008

2012 [Roland Emmerich] HD (Genesis)+s35-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Don McCuaig; aph: Hans Bjerno & Anna Foerster; uwph: Pete Romano & (2u) Ian Seabrook; vfx 2uc (Paris/London): Mark H. Weingartner

2009

Date Night [Shawn Levy] HD (Genesis)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Paul Hughen; aph: Hans Bjerno; vfx ph: Alden Anderson

2009

Secretariat [Randall Wallace] s35+HD (Genesis + Olympus PEN EP-1+ Phantom HD)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Brad Shield & Kris Krosskove; aph: Ron Goodman

2010

Mad Max: Fury Road [George Miller] scheduled to start shooting in August (back-to-back with the sequel 'Mad Max: Furiosa'), later February 2011, and now February 2012 with ph John Seale

2010

In the Land of Blood and Honey [Angelina Jolie] s35/c; 2uc: Igor Meglic

2011

Parental Guidance [Andy Fickman] s35+HD (Genesis)-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c; aph: Steve Cassidy

2012

Maleficent [Robert Stromberg] HD (ARRI ALEXA Plus & Studio)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema [also 3-D version])/c; addph (pickups 2013): Mick Coulter; 2uc (+ co-2ud): Fraser Taggart; aph: John Marzano; splinter unit ph: Peter Talbot

2013

Grudge Match [Peter Segal] HD (Genesis)-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c; uncred addph: Richard Crudo; aph: Douglas Holgate; vfx ph: Paul Sanchez

2013

Heaven Is for Real [Randall Wallace] HD (Genesis)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; aph: John Trapman

2014

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 [Andy Fickman] HD (ARRI ALEXA XT + Sony F55)-to-D-Cinema/c

2014

The Last Witch Hunter [Breck Eisner] HD (ARRI ALEXA XT Plus/p)-to-D-Cinema (scope)/c; addph (reshoots June-July 2015): Mitchell Amundsen; addph: Petr Hlinomaz (New York) & Tom Townend (London); 2uc (+ co-c.op 'b' cam): Patrick Loungway; addph 2u: James Kniest; aph addph New York: Brian Heller; vfx ph: Robert Bock; Iceland plate ph: Karl Oskarsson

 

 DOCUMENTARIES [e.g. 'Yirrkala Film Project', a 22-part doc series *]

1971

Pain for This Land [: Footage from the Early Years] [Ian Dunlop] c; 43m; ph (1971); cph: Bruce Hillyard (1970) *

1971

Dundiwuy's House Opening [Ian Dunlop] c; 35m; ph (1971); cph: Bruce Hillyard (1970) *

1971

This Is My Thinking [Ian Dunlop] c; 51m *

1971

At the Canoe Camp [Philip Robertson] 16mm/c; 39m *

1971

Purification Ceremony [for a Woman Injured at Yirrkala] [: Caledon Bay 1971] [Ian Dunlop] c; 15m *

1971

One Man's Response [- A Film About Narritjin Maymuru at Yirrkala in 1971] [Ian Dunlop] b&w-c; 52m *

1971

In Memory of Mawalan [Ian Dunlop] 16mm/c; 88m *

1971

Water for a City [Bruce Moir] c; 13m; ep of 12-part series 'Australian Geography', 1970-75

1972

President Suharto in Australia [Don Murray] 16mm/c; 24m; cph: John Hosking & Leo Elia

1972

Golf the Australian Way [Don Murray] 16mm/c; 28m

1972

Dhapi Ceremony at Yirrkala - 1972 [Philip Robertson] c; 91m *

1972

The Gathering Flame [Don Murray] c; 22m; cph: Don McAlpine

1973

The Koala: Phascolarctos cinereus [John Shaw & Vincent O'Donnell] c; 23m; cph: J. Shaw & Jon Rhodes

1973

The Fifth Facade [: The Making of the Sydney Opera House] [Donald Crombie] 16mm + 35bu/c; 28m; co-c.op; ph: Bruce Hillyard

1973

The Vintage [Brian Hannant] 16mm/c; 7m; ep #40 of series 'Australian Colour Diary'

1973

Moving On [Richard Mason] c; 57m

1973

Kilkenny Primary School, South Australia [Donald Crombie] 16mm/c; 31m; ep series 'Through My Eyes'

1973

Stradbroke Infants School, South Australia [Donald Crombie] 16mm/c; 26m; ep series 'Through My Eyes'

1974

Parent Teacher Interviews [Donald Crombie] 16mm/c; 29m (5 seg); c.op; ph: Guy Furner & Gus Howard

1974

Hattie [Debby Kingsland] 16mm/b&w; 9m; ep series 'Putting a Face to an Issue'

1974

The Care Behind the Smile [Debby Kingsland] 16mm/c; 17m

1974

Marrakulu Funeral [: Yirrkala 1974] [Ian Dunlop] c; 53m *

1974

From a Long Time Ago: Hollow Log Painting [Ian Dunlop] c; 20m; cph: Philip Robertson & I. Dunlop *

1974

Singing in the Rain [: Yirrkala in 1974] [Ian Dunlop & Philip Robertson (footage 1972)] c; 53m; cph: I. Dunlop *

1974

Hard Time Now... For the Children [Ian Dunlop] c; 53m; cph: Ian Dunlop; filmed 1974-76 *

1974

State Visit to Australia by Their Imperial Majesties the Shahanshah Aryamehr and the Shahbanou of Iran 1974/The Shah of Iran's Visit to Australia [Jason Ollivier] 16mm/c; 30m

1974

A Steam Train Passes [David Haythornthwaite] b&w (archive 1943) + c; 20m; ep series 'Outlook'

 

 

1974

A Race of Horses [Kit Denton] 16mm/c; 10m; cph: Geoffrey Williams

1975

Landscape: A Pattern of Change [Philip Robertson] 16mm/c; 20m; cph: Peter Smith; part of series 'Australian Geography'

1975

And Their Ghosts May Be Heard [Keith Gow] 16mm/b&w-c; 50m

1976

Djungguwan at Gurka'wuy [Ian Dunlop] c; 5-part series/235m *

1976

Madarrpa Funeral at Gurka'wuy [Ian Dunlop] c; 84m *

1976

Why Can't They Be Like We Were? ['Kathy and Tracey' (14m) dir by Graham Chase; 'Niki' (12m) & 'Robin' (12m) dir by Jan Sharp; 'Susan' (11m) & 'Rui' (13m36s) dir by Jason Ollivier; 'Gary' (15m) dir by David Haythornthwaite; 'Craig and Steve' (14m) dir by Karl McPhee; 'Amy' (14m), 'Greg' (14m) & 'Mick' (15m) dir by Phillip Noyce] 16mm/c; 10-part series

1976

Reading for Meaning: The Goodman Model [Karl McPhee] b&w; 18m; cph: Lee Chittick

1976

Asian Insight [ep 'Indonesia - Unity in Diversity' (53m), 'Japan - The Bamboo Bends and Does Not Break' (52m), 'Malaysia - Sparrow with Sparrow, Raven with Raven' (52m), 'Philippines - The Furthest Cross' (52m), 'Thailand: Do Good Receive Good, Do Evil Receive Evil' (52m) & 'Hong Kong - Fragrant Harbour; Singapore - Lion City' (53m) dir by Arch Nicholson] 16mm/c; 6-part series

1977

Granville [John Shaw & Philip Robinson] c; 9m; cph: Jon Rhodes, Kerry Brown & Mick von Bornemann

1977

All in the Same Boat [Deborah Kingsland] 16mm/c; 15m

1977

Hassles [Jason Ollivier] 16mm/c; 9m

1977

Thirst [Graham Chase] 16mm/c; 18m

1977

Kerry [Jan Sharp] c; 9m; ep series 'Growing Up'

1977

Wendy [Jan Sharp] c; 10m; ep series 'Growing Up'

1977

Weekend [Jan Sharp] c; 11m; ep series 'Growing Up'

1977

Outback Supply [David Haythornthwaite] 16mm/c; 29m; ep series 'Frontiers Down Under'

1978

Helpem Mifala: Aid for Solomon Islands [Graham Chase] 16mm/c; 17m

1978

Co-ops at Work in Solomon Islands [Graham Chase] c; doc/19m

1978

Five Bells - Sights and Sounds of Sydney Harbour [Dean Semler] 16mm/c; 27m

1978

Narritjin in Canberra [Ian Dunlop] 16mm/c; 41m *

1978

People of the Sea - Changing Traditions in Solomon Islands [Martin Cohen] 16mm/c; 18m

1978

Iu Mi Nao - Solomon Islands Regains Independence [Graham Chase & Martin Cohen] c; 88m; cph: John Hosking

1979

Soviet Style [Arch Nicholson] 16mm/c; 5-part series: 'Farming... Soviet Style' (27m), 'Working... Soviet Style' (27m), 'A People's Music... Soviet Style' (23m), 'Politics... Soviet Style' (27m) & 'School's In... Soviet Style' (27m)

1979

The Russians [Arch Nicholson] 16mm/c; 3-part series: 'People of the Cities [- Urban Life Styles]' (87m), 'People of Influence [- Politics and the People]' (81m) & 'People of the Country [- Rural Collectivism]' (83m); also shorter (91m) 3-part version

1979

Baruya Muka Archival [Ian Dunlop] c; 17-part series (804m); released in 1991

1979

Please Don't Leave Me [Stephen Ramsey] 16mm/c; 41m; cph: Tony Wilson

1979

War Without Weapons [Curtis Levy] 16mm/c; 27m; cph: Geoff Burton & Malcolm Richards; part of series 'Aspects of Australia'

 

 

1979

Saturday [Dean Semler] 16mm/c; 22m; + scrpl

1979

Solomon Islands [ep 'Totora and Siwa' (8m) dir by Martin Cohen] 16mm/c; 10-part series, 1979-82

1980

Stepping Out: The Debolts Grow Up [Chris Noonan] c; 50m

1980

Stepping Out: The Birth of a Theatre of the Mentally Handicapped [Chris Noonan] 16mm/c; 50m

1980

Narritjin Maymuru [Philip Robertson] 16mm/c; 42m *

1980

My Country, Djarrakpi [Ian Dunlop] 16mm/c; 16m; cph: I. Dunlop *

1980

Solomon Islands [ep 'Bifo Kam' (6m), 'Moro: Melanesian Bigman' (35m) & 'Nambo' (6m) dir by Graham Chase; ep 'Araha Ana Romo' (14m) dir by Martin Cohen] see 1979

1982

Conversations with Dundiwuy Wanambi [Ian Dunlop] c; 51m; cph: Ian Dunlop & Gary Kildea; filmed 1970-82 *

1982

Solomon Islands [ep 'Wogasia' (53m), 'People of Niupani' (21m), 'Volo momoru: The Turtle Net' (26m) & 'Taem Bifo Long Lauru: Choiseul Customs' (24m) dir by Graham Chase; ep 'Ha'a alahanga ni ulawa' (21m) dir by Martin Cohen] see 1979

1984

The Human Face of Russia [Keith Gow] ?; ?m

 

 TELEVISION & INTERNET

197?

Keith Smith's 'The Pied Piper Show' [various] series, 1967-71

 

"Hector and Milly Save Uncle Tom"

 

1973

Hector and Milly Save Uncle Tom [Chris McGill] musical/15m/16mm; cph: Geoff Williams; during the prod a making-of doc, 'The Tale of Hector the Cat' (11m), was shot; prod for the National Road Safety Campaign

1977

A Good Thing Going [Arch Nicholson] tvm/16mm

1978

Cass [Chris Noonan] tvm/16mm; 2uc; ph: Mick von Bornemann

1982

The Dismissal [various] 6-part miniseries

1983

Return to Eden [Karen Arthur] 6, 3 or 2-part miniseries; also pilot for 22-part series, 1986

1984

After the Flood [Gregory Reading] doc/b&w-c/22m/16mm

1984

Bodyline [Carl Schultz (ep #1 & #5-7), Denny Lawrence (ep #2-3), George Ogilvie (ep #2-4) & Lex Marinos (ep #5 & #7)] 7-part miniseries; 2uc: Andrew Lesnie

1985

Passion Flower [Joseph Sargent] tvm

1986

Melba [Rodney Fisher] 8-part miniseries; other ph: Andrew Lesnie; in USA 4-part ep of PBS-tv series 'Great Performances' (1989)

1988

The Clean Machine [Ken Cameron] tvm; 2uc: Richard Merryman

1988

Lonesome Dove [Simon Wincer] 4-part miniseries; 2uc (+ 2ud); ph: Douglas Milsome

2015

The Ridiculous 6 [Frank Coraci] HD/c; 2uc: Paul Elliott; for Netflix

2015

The Do-Over [Steven Brill] HD (ARRI ALEXA XT)/c; ph Puerto Rico: Brad Shield; 2uc (Georgia): Chris Moseley; aph 2u (Puerto Rico): Michael Kelem; for Netflix

2016

Sandy Wexler [Steven Brill] HD/c; for Netflix

 

 FILMS & TELEVISION AS [2u] DIRECTOR

1968

Art of Film: About Television [+ scrpl; 2-part tv-doc/b&w/16mm] ph: ?

1978

Five Bells - Sights and Sounds of Sydney Harbour [+ ph] see Documentaries

1979

Saturday [+ scrpl/ph] see Documentaries

198?

A Man Called Possum [+ scrpl] unrealized

1990

Son of the Morning Star/Morning Star [Mike Robe] 2-part tvm; 2ud; 2uc: Richard Merryman; ph: Kees van Oostrum

1991

The Kangaroo Kid [unfinished] ph: Andrew Lesnie

1992

Super Mario Bros. [uncred co-d; + ph/co-2ud] see Films

1996

Firestorm [ph: Stephen Windon]

1997

Eye of the Tiger [project based on novel by Wilbur Smith] status unknown

1997

The Patriot [ph: Stephen Windon]

1999

The Dam Busters [announced as dir] status unknown