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Seale, John 1942–

Seale, John 1942–

PERSONAL

Full name, John Clement Seale; born October 5, 1942, in Warwick, Queensland, Australia; son of Eric Clement and Marjorie Lyndon (maiden name, Pool) Seale; married Louise Lee Mutton, September 23, 1967; children: Brianna Lee, Derin, Anthony. Education: Attended high school in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Avocational Interests: Building boats, sailing.

Career:

Cinematographer, director of photography, photographer for films, and camera operator. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, camera assistant in film department, 1962-68.

Member:

Australian Cinematographers Society, American Society of Cinematographers.

Awards, Honors:

Australian Film Institute Award nomination, best achievement in cinematography, 1981, for The Survivor; Milli Award, cinematographer of the year, and Golden Tripod Award, both Australian Cinematographers Society, 1983, for Goodbye Paradise; Australian Film Institute Award, best achievement in cinematography, 1984, for Careful, He Might Hear You; Australian Film Institute Award nomination, best achievement in cinematography, 1984, for Silver City; Milli Award, cinematographer of the year, and Golden Tripod Award, both c. 1985, British Society of Cinematographers Award nomination, 1985, Academy Award nomination and Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, both 1986, all best cinematography, for Witness; Golden Tripod Award, c. 1986, for Children of a Lesser God; Academy Award nomination and American Society of Cinematographers Award nomination, both best cinematography, 1989, for Rain Man; British Society of Cinematographers Award nomination, best cinematography, 1989, for Dead Poets Society; named cinematographer of the year, Premiere magazine, 1989, and Film Award nomination (with Alan Root), British Academy of Film and Television Arts, best cinematography, 1990, for Gorillas in the Mist; tribute from the Film Critics Circle of Australia, 1990; Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award and Boston Society of Film Critics Award, both 1996, Academy Award, American Society of Cinematographers Award, Film Award, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, European Film Award, Golden Satellite Award, International Press Academy, Florida Film Critics Award, and British Society of Cinematographers Award nomination, all best cinematography, 1997, for The English Patient; Excellence in Cinematography Award, Hawaii International Film Festival, 1997; inducted into the Australian Cinematographers Society Hall of Fame, 1997; Chauvel Award, Brisbane International Film Festival, 1997; Kodak Vision Award, 1997; honorary doctorate, Griffith University, 1997; Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Chicago Film Critics Association Award nomination, Golden Satellite Award nomination, and Sierra Award nomination, Las Vegas Film Critics Society, all best cinematography, 2000, for The Talented Mr. Ripley; American Society of Cinematographers Award nomination, outstanding achievement in cinematography in theatrical releases, 2001, for The Perfect Storm; Australia Day Honour, for work in the arts, 2002; Academy Award nomination, Phoenix Film Critics Society Award nomination, Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and American Society of Cinematographers Award nomination, all best cinematography, 2004, for Cold Mountain; Order of Australia Medal (OAM), Medal in the General Division.

CREDITS

Film Cinematographer:

Alvin Purple (also known as Ahkera Alvin, seksikauppias, O devasso renitente, and O poniros Alvin kai ta koritsia tou), Roadshow Entertainment/Warner Bros., 1973.

Deathcheaters (also known as Death Cheaters), Roadshow Entertainment, 1976.

Cries from a Cold Aquarium (short film), 1978.

Heart, Head & Hand (short documentary film), 1979.

The Dangerous Summer (short documentary film), 1980.

Fatty Finn, Hoyts Distribution, 1980.

Doctors and Nurses, 1981.

Goose Flesh, c. 1981.

Ginger Meggs, 1982.

Goodbye Paradise, 1982.

BMX Bandits (also known as Short Wave), Nilsen Premiere, 1983.

Fighting Back (also known as Death Vengeance and Fighting Free), Enterprise, 1983.

Careful, He Might Hear You (also known as Ostroznie, moga cie uslyszec and P.S.—kahden tulen vaelissae), Hoyts Distribution, 1983, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1984.

Silver City, Samuel Goldwyn, 1984.

The Empty Beach (also known as Cliff Hardy—yksityisetsivae, Ein Toter weiss zuviel, and Pusta plaza), Jethro, 1985.

Witness (also known as Called Home, A tanu, A testemunha, Der Einzige Zeuge, Ha-Ed, Peter Weirin todistaja, Swiadek, Temoin sous surveillance, Testigo en peligro, Todistaja, Unico testigo, Vidnet, Vittne till morde, Witness—il testimone, and Witness: Temoin sous surveillance), Paramount, 1985.

Children of a Lesser God (also known as Bortom alla ord, Dzieci gorszego Boga, Egy kisebb isten gyermekei, Figli di un dio minore, Filhos do silencio, Gottes vergessene Kinder, Hijos de un dios menor, Les enfants du silence, Paidia enos katoterou theou, Sanaton rakkaus, Te amare en silencio, and Yeladim Horgim L'Yeladim), Paramount, 1986.

The Hitcher (also known as Hitcher, A morte pede carona, Autostopowicz, Carretera al infierno, Ha-Trempist, Hitcher, der Highway Killer, The hitcher—La lunga strada della paura, L'auto-stoppeur, Liftaren, Liftari, and Terror na auto-estrada), TriStar, 1986.

The Mosquito Coast (also known as Mosquito Coast, A costa do mosquito, La costa de los mosquitos, Moskiittorannikko, and Moskitkusten), Warner Bros., 1986.

Stakeout (also known as Debaixo de olho, Die Nacht hat viele Augen, Etroite surveillance, Kyttaeyskeikka, Ojne i natten, Procedimeiento ilegal, Sorveglianza … speciale, Spanarna, Stakeout—Die Nacht hat viele Augen, and Tocaia), Buena Vista, 1987.

(With Alan Root) Gorillas in the Mist (also known as Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey, De dimhoeljda bergens gorillor, Gorilas en la niebla, Gorilas na bruma, Gorilla nella nebbia, Gorillak a koedben, Gorillas im Nebel, Gorilles dans la brume, Gorilot B'Arafell, Gorily v mlze, Goryle we mgle, Nas montanhas dos gorilas, Nas montanhas dos gorilas—A aventura de Dian Fossey, and Sumuisten vuorten gorillat), Universal, 1988.

Rain Man (also known as Cuando dos hermanos se encuentran, Encontro de irmaos, Esoeember, Ish Ha-Geshem, Kisni covek, Rainman, Rain man—l'uomo della pioggia, Sademies, and Yagmur adam), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1988.

Dead Poets Society (also known as Der Club der toten Dichter, Dode poeters klub, Doeda poeters saellskap, El club de los poetas muertos, Holt koeltoek tarsasaga, Kuolleiden runoilijoiden seura, L'attimo fuggente, La sociedad de los poetas muertos, La societe des poetes disparus, Le cercle des poetes disparus, O clube dos poetas mortos, O kyklos ton hamenon poiiton, Sociedade dos poetas mortos, and Stowarzyszenie umarlych poetow), Buena Vista, 1989.

The Doctor (also known as A doktor, Der Doktor—Ein gewoehnlicher Patient, El doctor, Katkera rohto, Lakaren—han som aelskade livet, Le docteur, and Un medico, un uomo), Buena Vista, 1991.

Lorenzo's Oil (also known as Lorenzo, Acto de amor, L'huile de Lorenzo, L'olio di Lorenzo, Lorenzo olaja, Lorenzon oeljy, Lorenzos Oel, Lorenzos olja, Lorenzo's oil: el aceite de la vida, O oleo de Lorenzo, Olej Lorenzo, and Un milagro para Lorenzo), Universal, 1992.

The Firm (also known as A Ceg, A firma, Die Firma, Fachada, Firma, Firmaets mand, Firman, Il socio, La firme, and La tapadera), Paramount, 1993.

The Paper (also known as Cronisti d'assalto, El periodico, Etusivu, For deadline, Ha-Eeton, Le journal, O jornal, The paper: detras de la noticia, The Paper—Primeira pagina, Press-stopp!, Schlagzeilen, Schlagzeilen—Je haerter, desto besser, and To protosselido), Universal, 1994.

The American President (also known as Hallo, Mr. President, Perfect Couple, Amerikan baskani, Amerikan presidentti, Ameriski predsednik, Amerykanski prezydent, Den amerikanske presidenten, El presidente y Miss Wade, Il presidente-Una storia d'amore, Le president et Miss Wade, Meu querido presidente, Mi querido presidente, Milosc w Bialym Domu, O erotas tou proedrou, Presidenten och Miss Wade, Szerelem a feher hazban, Uma noite com o presidente, and Un president americain), Columbia, 1995.

Beyond Rangoon (also known as Rangoon, A Szabadsag oesvenyein, Burma'da goezyaslari, Ha-Briha M'angoon, Mas alla de Rangun, Mas alla del Rangun, Nainen Burmassa, Oltre Rangoon, Pera apo ti Rangoon, Rangoon—Im Herzen des Sturms, and Skugga oever Rangoon), Columbia, 1995.

City of Angels (also known as A cidade dos anjos, Aenglarnas stad, Englenes by, Enkelten kaupunki, I poli ton angelon, Ingerul pazitor, La cite des anges, La citta degli angeli, Melekler sehri, Mesto angelov, Miasto aniolow, Stadt der Engel, and Un angel enamorado), Warner Bros., 1998.

Static (short film), 1998.

At First Sight (also known as Sight Unseen, A premiere vue, A prima vista, A primeira vista, A primera vista, Auf den ersten Blick, Dotyk milosci, Elsoe latasra, Ensi silmaeyksellae, Ilk goerueste ask, Me tin proti matia, Premier regard, and Vid foersta oegonkastet), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1999.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (also known as The Mysterious Yearning Secretive Sad Lonely Troubled Confused Loving Musical Gifted Intelligent Beautiful Tender Sensitive Haunted Passionate Talented Mr. Ripley), Paramount, 1999.

The Perfect Storm (also known as Perfect Storm, Den perfekta stormen, Der Sturm, En pleine tempete, Furtuna perfecta, Gniew oceanu, La tempesta perfetta, La tempete, La tormenta perfecta, Mar em furia, Meren raivo, Tempestade, Tormenta perfecta, and Una tormenta perfecta), Warner Bros., 2000.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (also known as Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter a kamen mudrcu, Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorciers, Harry Potter e a pedra filosofal, Harry Potter e la pietra filosofale, Harry Potter en de steen der wijzen, Harry Potter es a boelcsek koeve, Harry Potter i kamien filozoficzny, Harry Potter i la pedra filosofal, Harry Potter ja viisasten kivi, Harry Potter och de vises sten, Harry Potter og de vises stein, Harry Potter og de vises sten, Harry Potter og viskusteinninn, Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen, and Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal), Warner Bros., 2001.

Cold Mountain (also known as Aeter till Cold Mountain, Behazra L'Cold Mountain, Epistrofi sto Cold Mountain, Kuemale maeele, Paeaemaeaeraenae Cold Mountain, Regresso a Cold Mountain, Retour a Cold Mountain, Ritorno a Cold Mountain, Tilbage til Cold Mountain, and Unterwegs nach Cold Mountain), Miramax, 2003.

Dreamcatcher (also known as Dreamcatcher, l'attrapereves, Droemfaangare, El cazador de suenos, L'acchiappasogni, L'attrapeur de reves, O apanhador de sonhos, O cacador de sonhos, Unenaeopueuedja, and Unensieppaaja), Warner Bros., 2003.

Spanglish (also known as Espangles, Espanglish, Naesten helt perfekt—Spanglish, Spanglish—J'en perds mon latin!, Spanglish—kaeaennoeskukkasia, and Spanglish—kielikukkasia), Columbia, 2004.

Poseidon (also known as The Poseidon Adventure, Le Poseidon, and Poseidon'dan kacis), Warner Bros., 2006.

Cinematographer for the unfinished film Horror Movie.

Film Director of Photography:

The Survivor (also known as El superviviente and Le survivant d'un monde parallele), Greater Union Organisation (GUO), 1981.

The English Patient (also known as Angielski pacient, Angielski pacjent, Az angol beteg, Den engelske patient, Den engelske patienten, Der englische Patient, El pacient angles, El paciente ingles, Englantilainen potilas, Il paziente inglese, Ingiliz hasta, Le patient anglais, and O paciente ingles), Miramax, 1996.

Ghosts of Mississippi (also known as Ghosts from the Past, Das Attentat, Fantasmas del pasado, Fantasmas do pasado, Fantomes du Mississippi, Gecmisten ruhlar, Ha-Ruhot Shel Mississipi, L'agguato—Ghosts from the Past, Les fantomes du passe, Menneisyyden aaveet, and Skuggor fraan det foerflutna), Columbia, 1996.

Film Camera Operator:

Nickel Queen (also known as Ghost Town Millionairess and The Nickel Queen), Z, c. 1971.

Alvin Purple (also known as Ahkera Alvin, seksikauppias, O devasso renitente, and O poniros Alvin kai ta koritsia tou), Roadshow Entertainment/Warner Bros., 1973.

Assistant camera operator, The Man from Hong Kong (also known as The Dragon Files and Zhi dao huang long), 1975.

(Uncredited) Picnic at Hanging Rock, 1975.

Break of Day, 1976.

Caddie, 1976.

Mad Dog Morgan (also known as Mad Dog), 1976.

The Last Wave (also known as Black Rain), 1977.

Blue Fin, 1978.

The Irishman, 1978.

Money Movers, 1978.

Second unit camera operator, Stunt Rock (also known as Sorcery and Stuntrock), Corona Film, 1978.

Weekend of Shadows, 1978.

Dawn!, 1979.

The Odd Angry Shot, 1979.

The Earthling, Filmways Pictures, 1980.

Fatty Finn, Hoyts Distribution, 1980.

Gallipoli (also known as Galipolje, Gallipoli—An die Hoelle verraten, and Gli anni spezzati), Paramount, 1981.

First camera crew camera operator, The Mosquito Coast (also known as Mosquito Coast, A costa do mosquito, La costa de los mosquitos, Moskiittorannikko, and Moskitkusten), Warner Bros., 1986.

Second unit camera operator, Impolite, The Asylum, c. 1992.

Beyond Rangoon (also known as Rangoon, A Szabadsag oesvenyein, Burma'da goezyaslari, Ha-Briha M'Rangoon, Mas alla de Rangun, Mas alla del Rangun, Nainen Burmassa, Oltre Rangoon, Pera apo ti Rangoon, Rangoon—Im Herzen des Sturms, and Skugga oever Rangoon), Columbia, 1995.

The English Patient (also known as Angielski pacient, Angielski pacjent, Az angol beteg, Den engelske patient, Den engelske patienten, Der englische Patient, El pacient angles, El paciente ingles, Englantilainen potilas, Il paziente inglese, Ingiliz hasta, Le patient anglais, and O paciente ingles), Miramax, 1996.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (also known as The Mysterious Yearning Secretive Sad Lonely Troubled Confused Loving Musical Gifted Intelligent Beautiful Tender Sensitive Haunted Passionate Talented Mr. Ripley), Paramount, 1999.

Assistant camera operator for second unit, Trapped (also known as Call, 24 Hours, Acorralada, Ansassa, Atrapada, Encurralada, Loksus, Mauvais piege, Pieges, 24 ore, and 24 Stunden Angst), Columbia, 2002.

Film Work; Other:

Second unit photographer, The Year of Living Dangerously (also known as A Veszelyes elet eve, Braennpunkt Djakarta, Ein Jahr in der Hoelle, El ano que vivimos en peligro, El ano que vivimos peligrosamente, L'annee de tous les dangers, O ano de todos os perigos, O ano em que vivemos em perigo, O ano que vivemos em perigo, Rakkaus veitsenteraellae, and Un anno vissuto pericolosamente), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1982.

Director, Till There Was You (also known as Doch dann kam sie, Doelig hemlighet, L'ultimo carico d'oro, and Vaarallista kultaa), Sovereign Pictures, c. 1991.

First assistant photographer for second unit, Rat Race (also known as No Brain Race, Course folle, Der Nackte Wahnsinn, El mundo esta loco loco, Esta tudo louco!, Rat Race—Der nackte Wahnsinn, RatRace—Sk(r)attjakten, Ratas a la carrera, Rottaralli, Sk(r)attjakten, Ta todo mundo louco! Uma corrida por milhoe$, and Ueldoezesi mania), Paramount, 2001.

First assistant photographer for second unit, The Core (also known as Core, Fusion—The Core, A Mag, Au coeur de la terre, The Core—Der innere Kern, Detonacao, Die Terranauten, El nucleo, Jedro, Jezgra, Kor, O nucleo—Missao ao centro da Terra, O pyrinas: Apostoli sto kentro tis Gis, and Ytimessae), Paramount, 2003.

Film Appearances; Documentaries:

Run Nickel Run/Nickel Queen: The Making of a Movie, c. 1971.

Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography, 1991.

Himself, Cinematographer Style, T-Stop Production, 2006.

Himself, Not Quite Hollywood, Film Finance Corporation, 2008.

Television Camera Operator; Series:

Second assistant camera operator, The Odyssey, beginning c. 1996.

Television Director of Photography; Miniseries:

Worked on the series The Law, 1980.

Television Camera Operator; Movies:

Harness Fever (also known as Born to Run), 1977, broadcast on WonderWorks, PBS.

Second assistant camera operator, Sky High (also known as Jovens voadores and Yloes taivaalle), NBC, 1990.

Second assistant camera operator, City Boy (also known as Chico de ciudad and City Boy—Allein durch die Wildnis), c. 1992, broadcast on WonderWorks, PBS.

First assistant b camera operator, Killers in the House (also known as Captivity), USA Network, 1998.

First assistant b camera operator, Shadow Warriors II: Hunt for the Death Merchant (also known as Assault on Death Mountain, Shadow Warriors 2, A montanha do diabo, Attack mot Death Mountain, Il guerreiros das sombras II, and Les guerriers de l'ombre), TNT, 1999.

Television Director of Photography; Specials:

New South Wales Images (documentary), [Australia], 1979.

Television Director of Photography; Episodic:

"Boney Buys a Woman," Boney (also known as Bonaparte), Amalgated Global Television, 1972, Independent Television (England), c. 1975.

"Top Kid," Winners (also known as Campeones), [Australia], c. 1985, broadcast as an episode of Wonderworks, PBS, 1987.

"Drive, She Said," Trying Times, PBS, 1987.

"Get a Job," Trying Times, PBS, 1987.

Television Camera Operator; Episodic:

Worked on Harness Fever (also known as Born to Run), 1977, broadcast on WonderWorks, PBS; and on City Boy (also known as Chico de ciudad and City Boy—Allein durch die Wildnis), c. 1992, also broadcast on WonderWorks, PBS.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The 69th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1997.

(In archive footage) The 76th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2004.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Himself, "Creating ‘The Perfect Storm,’" HBO First Look, HBO, 2000.

RECORDINGS

Videos:

Himself, Making Angels, 1998.

Himself, The Hitcher—How Do These Movies Get Made?, Kinowelt Home Entertainment, 2003.

Himself, Climbing "Cold Mountain," Miramax Home Entertainment, 2004.

Himself, Between Two Worlds: The Making of "Witness," Paramount Home Video, 2005.

Himself, Entrenched: The Making of "Gallipoli," Paramount Home Video, 2005.

Himself, Poseidon: A Ship on a Soundstage, Warner Home Video, 2005.

Appeared in ACS Video Series, Australian Cinematographers Society.

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"Seale, John 1942–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Seale, John 1942–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/seale-john-1942

"Seale, John 1942–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/seale-john-1942

Seale, John

SEALE, John



Cinematographer. Nationality: Australian. Born: John Clement Seale, Warwick, Queensland, Australia, 29 May 1943. Education: Graduated from High School, Sydney. Family: Married Louise lee Mutton, 23 September 1967; one son, Derin Anthony; one daughter, Brianna Lee. Career: Camera assistant in the film department, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1962–1968; freelance technician and camera operator on various films, series and commissions, 1968–1976; director of photography for various film companies, 1976; director of photography for Mirsch Agency, L.A. from 1976. Awards: Australian Film Institute Award, Best Achievement in Cinematography, for Careful, He Might Hear You, 1983; Australian Cinematographers Society Cinematographer Awards for Goodbye Paradise, 1983 and Witness, 1985; Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, Best Cinematography, for The English Patient, 1996; Chicago Film Critics Association Award, Best Cinematography, European Film Award, Best Cinematography, Golden Satellite Award, Outstanding Cinematography, British Academy Awards, American Society of Cinematographers Award, Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases, Academy Award for Best Cinematography, for The English Patient, 1997; Honorary Doctorate, Griffith University, 1997. Address: P. O. Box 1422, Mona Vale, New South Wales, NSW 1660, Australia.

Films as Cinematographer:

1976

Deathcheaters (Smith)

1980

Fatty Finn (Murphy)

1981

The Survivor (Hemmings); Doctors & Nurses (Murphy)

1982

Fighting Back (Caulfield); Ginger Meggs (Dawson)

1983

Goodbye Paradise (Schultz); Careful, He Might Hear You (Schultz); BMX Bandits (Trenchard-Smith)

1984

Silver City (Haskin)

1985

Top Kid (Schultz); Witness (Weir); The Empty Beach (Thomson)

1986

The Mosquito Coast (Weir); The Hitcher (Harmon); Children of a Lesser God (Haines)

1987

Stakeout (Badham)

1988

Rain Man (Levinson); Gorillas in the Mist (Apted)

1989

Dead Poets Society (Weir)

1991

The Doctor (Haines)

1992

Lorenzo's Oil (Miller)

1993

The Firm (Pollack)

1994

The Paper (Howard)

1995

Beyond Rangoon (Boorman) (also camera operator); The American President (Reiner)

1996

The English Patient (Minghella); Ghosts of Mississippi (Ghosts From the Past) (Reiner)

1998

City of Angels (Silberling)

1999

At First Sight (Winkler); The Talented Mr. Ripley (Minghella)

2000

The Perfect Storm (Petersen)

2001

Cold Mountain



Other Films:

1973

Alvin Purple (Burstall) (camera operator)

1975

Picnic at Hanging Rock (Weir) (camera operator)

1976

Mad Dog Morgan (Mora) (camera operator); Caddie (Crombie) (camera operator)

1977

The Last Wave (Weir) (camera operator); Break of Day (Weir) (camera operator)

1978

The Irishman (Crombie) (camera operator); Weekend of Shadows (Jeffrey) (camera operator)

1979

Born to Run (Chaffey—for TV) (camera operator)

1981

Gallipoli (Weir) (camera operator)

1982

The Year of Living Dangerously (Weir) (photographer: second unit)

1990

Till There Was You (director)

1992

Visions of Light (Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography) (Glassman, McCarthy, Samuels)

1997

Underworld (Christian) (first assistant camera: "c" camera)



Publications


On SEALE: books—

McFarlane, Bryan, Australian Cinema 1970–1985, London, 1987.

McFarlane, Bryan, and Geoff Mayer, New Australian Cinema: Sources and Parallels in American and British Film, Cambridge, England, 1992.

On SEALE: articles—

"John Seale, ACS, Lends Firm Hand to Law Thriller," in American Cinematographer (Los Angeles), 1 July 1993.

Colbert, Mary, "Beyond Effects/DOP John Seale," in Cinema Papers (North Melbourne, Australia), 1 April 1997.

Calhoun, John, "Celestial Navigation," in Lighting Dimensions (South Laguna, California), 1 May 1998.


* * *

Straight-talking Australian cinematographer John Seale has worked on many of the most influential Hollywood movies of the 1980s and 1990s, and is noted for his collaborations with director Peter Weir, whom he met while working with cinematographer Russell Boyd on Picnic at Hanging Rock. The greatest moment of his career so far came in 1997 when he won the Best Cinematography Oscar for The English Patient, but he has received awards and nominations for his work from film institutions around the world, including Oscar nominations for Rain Man and Witness. Seale is praised in particular for his realistic use of light, and his most impressive work tends to be in the photographing of large-scale landscapes and brightly lit outdoor locations.

After learning his craft as a camera operator during the 1970s Seale began working as a cinematographer in a cinematic tradition that seemed intent on exploring Australia's landscape and past. Goodbye Paradise, Carl Schultz's clever parody of the private eye movie genre, which comments on the migratory habits of Australia's senior citizens, is also notable for its images of Queensland, while Careful, He Might Hear You sets the individual's struggle for self-definition against an Australian past of struggle and adversity. In both these very different films, the landscape encroaches on the narrative, and it is perhaps because of these early projects that Seale's best work, such as The English Patient, and Gorillas in the Mist, tends to be on films that explore the relationship between people and their surroundings.

Seale moved to Hollywood with Weir to make the thriller Witness, and has been a regular collaborator with the director on films as diverse as The Mosquito Coast and Dead Poets Society. Although Seale remains committed to the development of Australian cinema, his output since the late 1980s has largely originated, even if it has not always been filmed, in America. Dead Poets Society in particular is vividly American in its attachment to Romantic individualism, and its fascination with the verdant grounds of the New England school in which the film is set. Other films, like Rain Man, and The Firm (both Tom Cruise vehicles) are resolutely Hollywood in their look and story lines.

Like many Australian filmmakers who work outside the Australian film industry, Seale seems happy to travel widely to film on location, and work in other countries. Many of his most successful films have been filmed in remote locations, such as the rain forests of South America (The Mosquito Coast), Burma (Beyond Rangoon), or Africa (Gorillas in the Mist). Capturing landscapes successfully on film is among the most difficult tasks for the cinematographer, yet Seale manages to convey the vastness of these settings without overwhelming the smaller scale human action on which the film narratives depend. His most recent successful collaborations with British filmmaker Anthony Minghella, The English Patient and The Talented Mr Ripley, both exploit Seale's talent for filming real places in a convincing and realistic way. In the case of The Talented MrRipley, Seale preferred to film the tale of Tom Ripley's dark subconscious in glorious sunshine, the beauty of Italy contrasting jaggedly with the horror of the human story played out there.

Seale has so far made only one foray into directing, making his own first feature as director, Till There Was You in Australia. The film fits in with the themes of movies he has worked on as cinematographer; namely, the urge to define personal identity in a landscape and tradition that seems overwhelming and mysterious. Although he has travelled widely, Seale prefers to be at home, recently exploiting film's increasing digitization to do the post-production work on The Perfect Storm by satellite from his home in Sydney.


—Chris Routledge

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"Seale, John." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Seale, John." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/seale-john