Seale honored at Brisbane fest

BRISBANE — The Oscar-winning cinematographer of “The English Patient,” John Seale, received another accolade last week at the sixth Brisbane Intl. Film Festival.

An Australian native, Seale, who said his next project may be William Hurt’s directorial debut in Montana, received the Chauvel Award for distinguished contributions to filmmaking at the gala event Aug. 7. Tributes poured in from the likes of George Miller (who worked with Seale on “Lorenzo’s Oil”), Tom Cruise (whom Seale filmed in “The Firm”) and Nicole Kidman (whom he lensed in her feature debut “BMX Bandits”).

Seale told Daily Variety film critic David Stratton that working on his first U.S. pic, Peter Weir’s “Witness,” had been “terrifying,” saying: “I was used to Australian producers, who were always lovely, making sure the Fosters was cold, and was then faced with five or six Paramount executives who never smiled.”

It’s been a bumper year for the Brisbane fest, with paid attendance up an estimated 25% over last year’s 14,000. Most popular pics included Bill Bennett’s “Kiss or Kill,” Lars von Trier’s “Breaking the Waves,” the first Oz screening since the 1920s of Herbert Brenon’s silent pic “Kiss for Cinderella.”

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