John Weiley is ranked among Australia’s pre-eminent film makers. His triumphs span the development of the modern industry: from his apprenticeship with Granada UK’s legendary Mitchell/Swallow unit during the invention of the contemporary documentary film to his appointment as the BBC’s youngest producer where his feature “The Press We Deserve” was described by The Times as “the best film on the subject ever made”. His independent production, “Antarctica” was a peerless critical and commercial success winning the Prix de Jury at La Geode in Paris and grossing over one hundred million dollars at theatres.
Weiley’s work is timeless. In October 2013 the Sydney Opera House opened their 40th Anniversary celebrations with his long-lost film about the birth of Utzon’s masterpiece, followed by broadcast on ABC1 to critical acclaim. The Australian described it as “mesmerising and still controversial… beautiful to look at, often funny, frequently moving and occasionally shocking”. Doug Anderson at The Guardian called it “far more than a simple retrospection. Its original character sustains, and its relevance is enhanced”.
Accolades for Weiley’s work include “jaw droppingly beautiful” (Hollywood Reporter), “a breathtaking and unique experience and a real cinematic treasure” (Los Angeles Times), “surreal, mystical and utterly amazing” (Chicago Tribune), “dreamlike… monumentally terrifying and ultimately sublime” (the Australian), “absolutely mind boggling and wonderful”(Douglas Trumbull), and “a completely staggering experience” (Journal de Montreal). “Five billion years from now”, advised Urban Cinefile, “our descendants could do a lot worse than track down some copies”.
Weiley’s feature films include the legendary “Journey Among Women” and the epic “Coolangatta Gold”.
Weiley designed and developed the Sydney IMAX theatre before selling his share to Macquarie Bank. At every stage, Weiley pioneered the expressive uses of new technologies, from experimental film formats to ultra high definition digital 3D. The resulting works have taken laurels across the world including the New York Cine Festival’s Golden Eagle and The Prix de Jury at Le Geode in Paris, and at home the APRA Art Music Award and the AFI Special Award for Creativity.
Weiley was founder of the Screen Action Group and has served as President of Screen Producers Australia and Vice President of the Australian Directors Guild. For his achievements he has been inducted into the Giant Screen Cinema Hall of Fame and elected to membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
His curiosity and devotion to his craft continue unabated.