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Warwick Thornton

b. 1970

Warwick Thornton (b. 1970), writer, director and cinematographer, is best known for his film Samson and Delilah. Thornton grew up in Alice Springs and attended school for some time in the monastery town of New Norcia, WA. Thornton’s mother co-founded and directed the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) and as a teenager he worked night shifts on CAAMA radio in Alice Springs, playing requests from prisoners. Having begun his career as a cameraman in 1990, in 1997 he graduated in Cinematography from the Australian Film Television and Radio School. That year, his short film Payback screened at the Telluride Film Festival. In 1998 he was cinematographer on the acclaimed film Radiance. His short drama Green Bush won Best Short Film at the Berlinale of 2005, Best Overall at the Sydney Film Festival Dendy Awards and was screened at Sundance. Nana won the Crystal Bear for Best Short Film in the Generation Kplus at the 2008 Berlinale; it screened on the opening night of Sydney Film Festival, at which Thornton received the Emerging Filmmaker Award. His first feature film, Samson and Delilah, not only won the Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009, but Grand Premio (Best Film) at the Amazonas Film Festival, Brazil; Best Film at the Dublin Film Festival, Ireland; Best Feature Film Asia Pacific Awards; six AFI awards including Best Film and Best Director, and a number of other Australian and international prizes. His installation Mother Courage (2012), shown at Documenta in Kassel, comprises a film of an elderly Aboriginal woman painting alongside an Aboriginal girl, projected in a dilapidated campervan. It is currently showing at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. His many cinematography credits include the television documentary series First Australians (2008), A Bit of Black Business (2008), Art and Soul (2010) and the feature film The Sapphires (2012). His latest film is Sweet Country (2017).

Updated 2018