MILESAGO - People
ANTHONY BUCKLEY A.M.
Film producer, director and editor, arts administrator
Regarded as one of the leader figures in the Australian film industry, Tony Buckley began his career as a laboratory assistant and later as a film editor with the famous Sydney newsreel company Cinesound. Here he met and worked with the great Australian director Ken G. Hall, who became Tony’s mentor until Hall’s death in 1994.
During the Sixties Tony edited many notable feature films including Michael Powell's Age Of Consent, Ted Kotcheff's Wake In Fright and Rudolf Nureyev's Don Quixote. As a documentary filmmaker, his film Forgotten Cinema (1967) was pivotal in rekindling public interest in Australia’s film history and was a key influence on the Gorton Liberal government to support the revival of the Australian film industry in the late 1960s.
For his next project Tony independently produced and directed a film on the life of photographer Frank Hurley entitled Snow, Sand And Savages. Tony next worked as a producer for Film Australia where he became Acting Head of Production. During this period he produced the highly praised The Fifth Facade with Joern Utzon and Sam Wannamaker, the official film on the Sydney Opera House, and A Steam Train Passes, one of Film Australia's most successful films. He independently produced Palace Of Dreams, a film about Sydney's magnificent State Theatre, and he completed the brilliant 11-part documentary series MAN ON THE RIM for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which has won accolades worldwide.
As a feature film producer, he began producing in 1975 with the internationally acclaimed Caddie, winner of 14 awards including the San Sebastian Jury Prize for Best Film. This was followed by The Irishman, The Night, The Prowler, The Killing Of Angel Street (which was loosely based on the Juanita Nielsen case), and Kitty And The Bagman.
In the 80s Tony produced Ray Lawrence’s peerless film adaptation of Peter Carey’s Bliss, which was selected in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1985 and was winner of Best Film in the 1985 Australian Film Awards. In 1986 he produced two TV mini-series based on the popular Ruth Park novels, The Harp In The South and in its 1987 sequel, Poor Man's Orange, both of which were ratings winners. These were followed by the mini-series The Heroes for TVS Films UK. In 1990 he produced Mr Edmund for the Australian Children's Television Foundation and in 1991 the sequel to The Heroes II: The Return, again for TVS Films UK.
In 1977 Tony was awarded the Order of Australia for his services to the industry. He is a past President of the Screen Production Association of Australia and former Deputy Chairman of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, and has been an Australian Film Commissioner. He has also been on the Council of the National Film and Sound Archive. In the 1990's he produced the documentary Nazi Supergrass for director David Bradbury; Celluloid Heroes, Film Australia's four-part series to celebrate the centenary of Australian cinema; Tracey Moffatt's first feature film Bedevil, selected for Cannes 1993; and George Whaley's feature On Our Selection. This was followed by Robert Carter's first feature The Sugar Factory as co-producer, and Peter Fenton's documentary Les Darcy: The Maitland Wonder. He has recently produced for Screentime the mini-series The Potato Factory based on Bryce Courtenay's novel of the same name.
Tony continues to develop a wide range of film, television and documentary projects. New features planned include 'Bidgee Boys, Lord Devil - The Emperor As Artist about the life of Donald Friend, Bill Warnock's The Ridge and The River and Loving Friends, and Rob Marchand's La Femme Anglaise. He will produce the mini-series From Strength To Strength by Sara Henderson, and Bryce Courtenay's Jessica, both productions for Screentime. He is still actively involved in industry affairs and continues to guest lecture at the AFTRS and the Boston University in Sydney.
In 2000 Tony’s efforts in and on behalf of the Australian film industry were again recognized when he was awarded the Ken G. Hall Award at Screen Producers Association of Australia Conference.
At the award ceremony Ms Susan Oliver, Chair of ScreenSound Australia, praised Tony’s role as a champion of Australian cinema. She said that since the 1960s when the Archive was part of the National Library of Australia, until the present day, Tony had worked consistently to locate and facilitate the transfer of hundreds of important films into the Archive's care. During the 1970s and 1980s he had been an activist calling for the establishment of an autonomous National Film and Sound Archive, and later served on its Council.
”At a time when Australians had almost forgotten their rich film history, Mr Buckley's pioneering compilation film, Forgotten Cinema, made in 1967, brought it to public attention. This and his subsequent documentary films began to turn the tide of indifference and sensitise public opinion to the importance of film preservation.”
Film historian and Archive Council member Andrew Pike said that Tony’s high profile in the film industry as a producer provided an invaluable link between the production sector and the Archive:
”Tony Buckley has contributed a great deal to the industry's
awareness of the Archive and its preservation imperatives, and has actively
promoted the growth of a positive and mutually supportive interaction
between the industry and the Archive.”
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