Don McAlpine Wins Australian Academy Lifetime Achievement Award

Don McAlpine Urban Cinefile 10th Anniversary - P 2011
Patrick Riviere/Getty Images

Don McAlpine Urban Cinefile 10th Anniversary - P 2011

The "Mental" cinematographer receives the Raymond Longford honor, kicking off the inaugural Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts awards season.

SYDNEY -- Cinematographer Don McAlpine has been named the recipient of this year's Raymond Longford Award by the newly instituted Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA).

The Longford award has a long history here being given out since1968 by AACTA’s predecessor body the Australian Film Institute; it's awarded to "a person who has made a truly outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australia’s screen environment and culture," and is the highest honor the Academy can award.

The 77-year-old's career spans more than 50 films made over 40 years, including Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge for which he received Oscar and BAFTA nominations in 2002, and a BAFTA nomination for Romeo + Juliet, working with Luhrmann, as well as three AFI Awards.

His list of credits includes Australian classics such as Don’s Party and Breaker Morant, through to international blockbusters such as Predator, Patriot Games and X-Men Origins: Wolverine and his career shows no signs of slowing down, having just finished shooting Mental for PJ Hogan.

AFI chairman Alan Finney said: “Don McAlpine has been a key player in our industry over nearly 40 years working on an incredibly diverse range of films. I first became aware of Don when I became involved in our industry back in the early 1970s and films such as The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, The Getting of Wisdom, ‘Breaker’ Morant and My Brilliant Career played a key role in establishing our local production credentials both in Australia and Internationally.

“Don has now once again been recognised for his role as a cinematographer who has made significant and substantial contributions to the global art of filmmaking," Finney continues.

The announcement of McAlpine’s award opens the inaugural AACTA Awards season.

Nominations across feature film and TV categories for the 2012 awards will be announced Nov. 30.

McAlpine’s award, the nominees in a number of new international awards and the winners in a range of categories across film and TV will be handed out at a special lunch to be held on Jan. 15, with a live video link to the G’Day Australia black tie dinner in Los Angeles

AACTA’s inaugural awards season will culminate with the AACTA awards ceremony, which will be held at the Sydney Opera House on Jan. 31, 2012.

The ceremony will be broadcast on the Nine Network, and will include the announcements of winners for best film, best TV drama series, best direction, and best actor and actress awards. The annual Byron Kennedy Award will also be presented, for outstanding creative enterprise and innovation within the film and television industries.