|0:00||A sheet of stamps is examined under a magnifying glass.||Michael: Well, each year we identify an industry or vocation that has made a significant contribution to our history and our culture. This year, we've decided on Australian film directors.|
|0:04||Books of stamps pass through packaging equipment.|
|0:07||A white-haired man wearing a yellow safety vest over a business shirt is interviewed.||Michael Zsolt, Group Manager, Philatelic|
|0:10||An elegant blonde woman is interviewed in a studio. Hanging behind her is a huge display postage stamp bearing her face and the words "Australian Legends".||Gillian: To have been selected to be part of the Australia Post Australian Film Legends is an incredible honour.|
|0:11||Gillian Armstrong, Australian Film Director|
|0:14||Other stamps feature Baz Luhrmann and Peter Weir AM. Their photos appear before a drawing of a film strip, a different colour for each director. Their names appear against a background of stylised pale grey film strips.|
|0:18||Gillian's film strip is blue.||Film tells us about ourselves. It tells us who we are. It's truly such an important part of our culture.|
|0:22||Boxes are filled with books of their stamps.|
|0:26||On a black banner, five directors' names and the words "Australian Legend" are framed with golden laurels. Warwick Thornton and George Miller AO are the other two directors. The five stamps are displayed below the banner.||Gillian: We are a talented country and we produce incredible people and these legends are part of Australia.|
|0:34||The Australia Post logo appears on a red screen.|
A film director, who can also be the screenwriter and producer, has a complex and demanding role. It is the director who leads and implements a film’s creative vision.
The five acclaimed, award-winning directors named today, 15 March 2022, as recipients of the 2022 Australia Post Australian Legends Award, have entertained and moved audiences with their cinematic creations, raising the profile of Australian filmmaking in the process. They have brought impactful Australian and international stories to life across a range of genres.
Gillian Armstrong (b. 1950) is a director and producer who has made 20 films over a 40-plus year career. Her first feature-length film, My Brilliant Career (1979), an adaptation of Miles Franklin's novel of the same name, was the first Australian feature-length film to be directed by a woman for 46 years. For this film, Armstrong received six awards at the 1979 AFI Awards (now the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards), including for best film and best director, and it was in competition at the Cannes Film Festival for the prestigious Palme D’or award. It also won a special achievement award from the London Critics Circle Film Awards.
The film was a launching pad for Armstrong’s subsequent work, from the iconic rock musical Starstruck (1982) to her first US studio film Mrs Soffel (1984), followed by Little Women (1994) and Charlotte Gray (2001). Other Australian films include Oscar and Lucinda (1997) the AFI Award-winning High Tide (1987), which centred on the bond between mother and daughter; the Australian drama The Last Days of Chez Nous (1992), which was nominated at the AFI Awards and the Berlin Film Festival; and the supernatural romance-drama about Harry Houdini, Death Defying Acts (2007).
Documentaries comprise another important part of Gillian Armstrong’s impressive body of work. Her documentaries tracing the lives three working-class girls at seven-year intervals were combined to make the award-winning feature length documentary, Not Fourteen Again, in 1996. Other documentaries include Unfolding Florence: The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst (2006), which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival; Love, Lust & Lies (2010), which won the Australian Directors Guild Award; and Women He's Undressed (2015), which was nominated for Best Feature Length Documentary by AACTA.
Armstrong’s movies have received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. As well as being made a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to cinema, Armstrong has received awards for her direction and her impact on the film industry, including the Chauvel Award (Brisbane International Film Festival) and the Dorothy Arzner Directors Award (Women in Film Awards), in 1995, and the Women in Hollywood Icon Award, in 2008. Gillian Armstrong was the first president of the Australian Directors’ Guild and received its outstanding achievement award in 2007. Gillian has also been commended for her work in advocating for women in film, receiving the AISF Pioneering Woman in Film Award, in 2018, and the AIMC Murray Forrest Award for Excellence in Filmcraft, in 2019.
Director, writer and producer of film, television, opera, theatre and music, Baz Luhrmann (b. 1962), burst onto the filmmaking scene with his Red Curtain trilogy, comprising the quirky romantic comedy Strictly Ballroom (1992); the modern-day Shakespearean drama, Romeo + Juliet (1996); and the genre-defying musical Moulin Rouge! (2001) – all of which Luhrmann directed and co-wrote (with his writing collaborator Craig Pearce). Subsequent works comprise his 2008 film Australia, an epic historical romantic drama, and the opulent romantic drama The Great Gatsby (2013), based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel of the same name. Moulin Rouge! has been turned into a Broadway musical, winning ten Tony awards, including Best Musical. Luhrmann’s forthcoming film, focusing on the life of Elvis Presley, is currently in production.
Baz Luhrmann’s films are characterised by their dynamic energy and visual richness. He is known for creating highly colourful and lavish cinema experiences that are well received by audiences and garner many awards, both smaller and highly prestigious – a testament to the impact of his unique cinematic vision.
Strictly Ballroom swept the prize pool at the AFI Awards (now the AACTA Awards), including for best film and Luhrmann’s direction and screenplay. The film won several BAFTAs and received nominations for best film and best adapted screenplay. The film was awarded best comedy film at the Golden Globes and was recognised at many international festivals, including winning the Award of the Youth (Foreign Film) at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
Moulin Rouge! garnered a Golden Globe for best film (comedy/musical) and Luhrmann a nomination for best direction. Luhrmann also won best director at the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards. Moulin Rouge! was also nominated for the prestigious Palme D’Or at Cannes, for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, as well as in several BAFTA categories, including best film, screenplay and direction. Luhrmann’s partner and collaborator Catherine Martin received Academy Awards for best costume design and production design for her work on the film, as well as on The Great Gatsby, a movie that earned Luhrmann several AACTA Awards. Luhrmann won a BAFTA for best director and best adapted screenplay for Romeo + Juliet and the film was nominated for an Academy Award in art direction. It also won Luhrmann a Silver Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival, which honours films that "open new perspectives on cinematic art”. Similarly, in 2019, Baz Luhrmann was presented with the inaugural Trailblazer Award by the Australian International Screen Forum for “taking the screen arts to a new level”.
Director, screenwriter and producer George Miller AO (b. 1945) is an icon of the Australian and international film industry, with a career that so far spans 50 years. Miller’s Mad Max films (beginning in 1979 and with a new instalment currently under consideration) are hailed amongst the greatest action movies of all time, particularly 1981’s Mad Max 2 (released in the USA as The Road Warrior) and Fury Road (2015).
George Miller’s filmmaking talent, however, is not limited to the action genre, as evidenced by his dark comedy-fantasy The Witches of Eastwick (1987); the medical drama Lorenzo’s Oil (1992), which Miller directed and co-wrote; the uplifting comedy-drama Babe (1995), which Miller co-wrote and co-produced; and the musical animated feature Happy Feet (2006), which Miller directed, co-wrote and produced. Miller also directed, co-wrote and co-produced successful sequels to both Babe and Happy Feet. His latest film, Three Thousand Years of Longing, is set to be released in 2022.
As well as garnering acclaim from audiences, George Miller is a multi-award-winning filmmaker. He earned an Academy Award for best animated feature film for Happy Feet and has been nominated for five other Academy Awards: best original screenplay for Lorenzo's Oil, best picture and best adapted screenplay for Babe, and best picture and best director for Fury Road (the latter receiving six Oscars overall from 11 nominations). Miller has also had success at the BAFTAs, Golden Globes and Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards (formerly the AFI Awards), amongst more than 75 other forms of national and international recognition.
George Miller was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), in 1996, for his services to the film industry. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of New South Wales, in 1999, and Griffiths University, in 2008, and was awarded the French Order of Arts and Letters, in 2009. In 2016, Miller was selected as Jury President at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. George Miller is patron of AACTA and was a recipient of its lifetime achievement award, in 1995, and its global achievement award, in 2007.
Warwick Thornton (b. 1970) is a Kaytetye man from Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory. He is an award-winning cinematographer and director, accumulating an impressive 16 directorial credits and 19 cinematography credits over 24 years. Thornton’s films showcase Indigenous issues and perspectives and provide unique insights into current and historical Indigenous experiences, to both critical and popular acclaim.
Warwick Thornton is best known for feature films Samson & Delilah (2009), a poignant drama that explores the attempts by two 14-year-olds to escape their difficult lives in a remote community in Alice Springs; and Sweet Country (2017), a western-style drama set in the 1920s, which explores the brutality and injustice that follows when an Aboriginal man is accused of killing a white soldier. Thornton is known for his short films, such as Nana (2007), and documentaries, including We Don’t Need a Map (2017), which explores Australia’s sometimes-chequered relationship with the Southern Cross; and The Beach (2020), which presents Thornton’s time in isolation on the Dampier Peninsula.
Warwick Thornton’s impactful films have earned him a slew of awards, nationally and internationally. Most notably, Samson & Delilah won the Caméra d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival (making Thornton one of only a handful of Australian directors to succeed at this prestigious event) as well as best film, best director and best original screenplay at both the AACTA Awards and the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards. Sweet Country also swept the pool at the AACTA Awards and earned Thornton awards from the Australian Directors Guild, the Australian Film Critics Association, the Film Critics Circle Awards and more. Internationally, the film won, among many others, the Platform Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Special Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival.
Peter Weir AM (b. 1944) is a highly acclaimed and award-winning film director, with a vast body of work spanning diverse subjects and genres. Weir was a leading figure in the Australian New Wave cinema movement of the 1970s, making his presence known with pivotal Australian films, such as the evocative mystery-drama Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), which was a critical and popular success; the supernatural thriller about the Aboriginal Dreamtime, The Last Wave (1977); and the historical drama Gallipoli (1981) – considered by many to be the greatest Australian war movie of all time. The climax of Weir's early career was the multi-national production The Year of Living Dangerously (1983).
On the back of this early success, Weir went on to direct a diverse group of films – many of these movies becoming major box office hits and all cementing his reputation as the consummate storyteller. These include Academy-Award-nominated films such as the thriller Witness (1985), the coming-of-age drama Dead Poets Society (1989), the romantic comedy Green Card (1990), the comedy-drama The Truman Show (1998) and the epic historical drama Master and Commander (2003). For his work on these five films, Weir personally accrued six Academy Award nominations as either a director (four nominations), writer or producer and won three BAFTAs for best director.
In 1982, Peter Weir was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his service to the film industry. He has received around 60 awards and nominations for his films as well as his contribution to the industry, including receiving AACTA’s lifetime achievement award, in 1990; an outstanding achievement award from the Australian Director’s Guild, in 2001; and most recently the 2021 Trailblazer Award from the Australian Screen Forum.
This content was produced at the time of the stamp issue release date and will not be updated.