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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dean Semler

Dean William Semler

(1943-05-26) 26 May 1943 (age 80)
  • Cinematographer
  • film director
Years active1971–present
Organization(s)Australian Cinematographers Society
American Society of Cinematographers
Known forMad Max 2: The Road Warrior
Dances with Wolves
Dead Calm
SpouseAnne Stockman
AwardsAcademy Award for Best Cinematography
1991 Dances with Wolves AACTA Award for Best Cinematography
1975 A Steam Train Passes
1984 Razorback
1989 Dead Calm

Dean Semler AM ACS ASC (born 26 May 1943) is an Australian cinematographer and film director.[1][2] Over his career, he has worked as a cinematographer, camera operator, director, second unit director, and assistant director. He is a three-time recipient of the AACTA Award for Best Cinematography and an Academy Award winner. He is a member of both the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) and the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).[3] In 2002 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).[4]

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    1 125
    1 398
    1 522
    2 721
  • "Making the Transition to Digital" with Dean Semler, ASC, ACS
  • "Shooting 'Mad Max'" with Dean Semler, ASC, ACS
  • "Cinematography of 'Dances With Wolves'" with Dean Semler, ASC, ACS
  • KODAK: Lighting 'Dances with Wolves' with Dean Semler DVD Screener
  • Kodak - Lighting Dances With Wolves - 1 / 2


Life and career

Early years

Semler was born in Renmark, South Australia. His first work in the production industry was as a camera operator at a local television station. Later, he began making documentary and educational films for Film Australia. He was the cinematographer for A Steam Train Passes (1974), Moving On (1974), Let the Balloon Go (1976), and A Good Thing Going (1978).


His first film was Stepping Out, in 1980. Allmovie praised his "stunning work" on the film Hoodwink (1981) with a screen play by Ken Quinnell. Semler was also the cinematographer for Mad Max 2 (1981). Semler's vast panoramic shots of the Australian Outback's deserts "...convincingly conveyed a parched, dusty, post-apocalyptic world"[5] and led to international attention for his work. Semler also acted as cinematographer for the follow-up film to The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). Semler was also a cinematographer for the acclaimed Australian miniseries Bodyline (1984).[6] In the late 1980s, Semler was the cinematographer for several popular films, such as Cocktail (1988) and Young Guns (1988).


In 1989, Semler was hired as cinematographer for Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves (1990), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Semler lensed the comedy City Slickers (1991) and the action film Last Action Hero (1993) in the early 1990s. In 1995, Semler again worked with Costner on his film Waterworld. In 1992 Semler was the cinematographer of The Power of One.


In the 2000s, Semler was the cinematographer for a range of movies that included comedies (Nutty Professor II: The Klumps from 2000, and Bruce Almighty from 2003), action films (XXX from 2002 and The Alamo from 2004). In the mid-2000s, Semler was the cinematographer for the football comedy The Longest Yard (2005) and Just My Luck (2006). In 2006, Semler worked with Mel Gibson again for the film Apocalypto. Semler's camera work conveyed the beauty of the lush Mesoamerican jungle setting in Apocalypto.


Documentary film

Year Title Director Notes
1971 The Choice Donald Crombie
1973 Through My Eyes: Kilkenny Primary School, South Australia Also camera operator
Through My Eyes: Stradbroke Infants School, South Australia
1974 A Steam Train Passes David Haythornwaite Documentary short
1980 Stepping Out Chris Noonan

Short film

Year Title Director Notes
1973 One Good Reason Donald Crombie Also camera operator
I Need More Staff
1977 Outback Supply David Haythornwaite Also camera operator
1979 Saturday Himself
1980 War Without Weapons Curtis Levy

Feature film

Year Title Director Notes
1971 Where Dead Men Lie Keith Gow
1974 Moving On Richard Mason
1976 Let the Balloon Go Oliver Howes
1981 Hoodwink Claude Whatham
Mad Max 2 George Miller
1983 Kitty and the Bagman Donald Crombie
1984 Undercover David Stevens
Razorback Russell Mulcahy
1985 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome George Miller
George Ogilvie
The Coca-Cola Kid Dusan Makavejev
1987 Bullseye Carl Schultz
Going Sane Michael Robertson
The Lighthorsemen Simon Wincer Also camera operator
1988 Cocktail Roger Donaldson
Young Guns Christopher Cain
1989 Farewell to the King John Milius
Dead Calm Phillip Noyce
K-9 Rod Daniel
1990 Impulse Sondra Locke
Young Guns II Geoff Murphy
Dances with Wolves Kevin Costner Academy Award for Best Cinematography
ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
1991 City Slickers Ron Underwood
1992 The Power of One John G. Avildsen
1993 Super Mario Bros. Rocky Morton
Annabel Jankel
Also second unit director
Last Action Hero John McTiernan
The Three Musketeers Stephen Herek
1994 The Cowboy Way Gregg Champion
1995 Waterworld Kevin Reynolds
1997 Gone Fishin' Christopher Cain
Trojan War George Huang
1999 The Bone Collector Phillip Noyce
2000 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps Peter Segal
2001 Heartbreakers David Mirkin
2002 D-Tox Jim Gillespie
Dragonfly Tom Shadyac
We Were Soldiers Randall Wallace
XXX Rob Cohen
2003 Bruce Almighty Tom Shadyac
2004 The Alamo John Lee Hancock
2005 The Longest Yard Peter Segal
Stealth Rob Cohen
2006 Just My Luck Donald Petrie
Click Frank Coraci
Apocalypto Mel Gibson Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
2007 I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry Dennis Dugan
2008 Get Smart Peter Segal
Appaloosa Ed Harris
2009 2012 Roland Emmerich
2010 Date Night Shawn Levy
Secretariat Randall Wallace Nominated- Satellite Award for Best Cinematography
2011 In the Land of Blood and Honey Angelina Jolie
2012 Parental Guidance Andy Fickman
2013 Grudge Match Peter Segal
2014 Heaven Is for Real Randall Wallace
Maleficent Robert Stromberg
2015 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Andy Fickman
The Last Witch Hunter Breck Eisner
The Ridiculous 6 Frank Coraci
2016 The Do-Over Steven Brill
2017 Sandy Wexler
2019 Playing with Fire Andy Fickman

Other credits

Year Title Notes
1973 The Fifth Facade:
The Making of the Sydney Opera House
Camera operator
1974 Parent Teacher Interviews
2002 The Adventures of Pluto Nash Director of photography: Second unit
2008 Bedtime Stories

Directing credits


TV movie

Year Title Director
1976 Do I Have to Kill My Child? Donald Crombie
1978 A Good Thing Going Arch Nicholson
1986 Passion Flower Joseph Sargent
1998 The Clean Machine Ken Cameron

TV series

Year Title Director Notes
1980 The Russians Arch Nicholson TV series documentary
1983 The Dismissal Carl Schultz
George Miller
Phillip Noyce
George Ogilvie
John Power
1983 Return to Eden Karen Arthur Miniseries
1984 Bodyline Carl Schultz
George Ogilvie
Denny Lawrence
Lex Marinos
1988 Great Performances Rodney Fisher Episode "Melba"

Other credits

Year Title Notes
1962 The Valley of Water Floor manager
1977 Cass Second unit director
1989 Lonesome Dove Director of photography: Second unit


  1. ^ "DEAN SEMLER". Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Dean Semler, ASC, ACS". Murtha Skouras Agency. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  3. ^ "The ASC -- American Cinematographer: ASC Close-Up". Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Dean William Semler". Australian Honours Search Facility, Dept of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  5. ^ Allmovie biography by Hal Erickson
  6. ^ The Australian Film and Television Companion – Compiled by Tony Harrison, Simon & Schuster, Australia (1994)

External links

This page was last edited on 14 September 2023, at 02:34
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