Veteran film sales exec Jeannine Seawell, who did much to champion pictures from Australia and New Zealand during her 28-year career, died June 8 in Paris of cancer. Her age was not reported.
Born in France, Seawell began her career in the film industry in London, heading sales for Hemdale in 1972. It was in the British capital that she met Jim McElroy, producer of Peter Weir’s debut pic “Cars That Ate Paris.” Seawell handled sales on the film, marking the start of a long and fruitful association with Australian cinema.
In 1975 she relocated to Paris — she held French and American citizenship — to form her own sales company, Seawell Films. Maintaining her excellent relationship with Weir and McElroy, she supervised sales on “Picnic at Hanging Rock” and “The Last Wave,” repped Bruce Beresford’s “Don’s Party,” and all of Paul Cox’s features. Seawell also handled international sales for films from New Zealand, including Roger Donaldson’s “Sleeping Dogs” and Vincent Ward’s “Vigil.”
Seawell represented a sizable roster of European directors, including British helmer Michael Radford (“Another Time, Another Place”), Holland’s Paul Verhoeven (“Spetters” and “The Fourth Man”), Belgium’s Marion Hansel and Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne. She also established a reputation in Brussels for supporting Belgium’s film community.
In 1997, the Cannes Film Festival gave the Camera d’Or prize for a best first feature to Naomi Kawase’s “Moe No Suzaku,” for which Seawell was handling sales.
She is survived by her two children, Alan and Michelle.