Jane Campion

Dame Elizabeth Jane Campion DNZM (born 30 April 1954) is a New Zealand screenwriter, producer, and director.[1] Campion is the second of five women ever nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and is the first—and thus far, only—female filmmaker in history to receive the Palme d'Or, which she received for directing the acclaimed film The Piano (1993), for which she also won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.[2]

Jane Campion

Jane Campion Cannes 2014 2
Campion in 2014
Elizabeth Jane Campion

30 April 1954 (age 64)
Waikanae, New Zealand
ResidenceSydney, New South Wales, Australia and Oriental Bay, Wellington
Colin David Englert
(m. 1992; div. 2001)
Children2; including Alice Englert

Early life

Campion was born in Wellington, New Zealand, the second daughter of Edith (née Beverley Georgette Hannah), an actress, writer, and heiress, and Richard M. Campion, a theatre and opera director.[3][4][5] Her maternal great-grandfather was Robert Hannah, the shoe manufacturer of Antrim House. Her father was from a family of Exclusive Brethren.[6] With her older sister, Anna, born a year and half before her, and brother, Michael, born seven years after, Campion grew up in the world of New Zealand theatre.[4] Her parents founded the New Zealand Players theatre group.[7] Initially rejecting the idea of a career in theatre or acting, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Victoria University of Wellington in 1975.[4]

In 1976 Campion attended Chelsea Art School in London and travelled throughout Europe. She graduated with a Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts (Painting) from the Sydney College of the Arts at the University of Sydney in 1981. Based on her education at art school, Campion cites surrealist painter Frida Kahlo and sculptor Joseph Beuys as influences on her art.[4] Dissatisfied with the limits of painting as a medium,[4] Campion turned to film and created her first short film, Tissues in 1980. In 1981 she began studying at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, where she made several more short films, and graduated in 1984.[8]


Her first short film, Peel (1982), won the Short Film Palme d'Or at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival,[9] and other awards followed for the shorts Passionless Moments (1983), A Girl's Own Story (1984) and After Hours (1984). Having left the Australian Film and Television School she directed an episode for ABC's light entertainment series Dancing Daze (1986), which led to her first TV film, Two Friends (1986) produced by Jan Chapman.

Sweetie (1989) was her feature debut, and won international awards. Further recognition followed with An Angel at My Table (1990), a biographical and psychological portrayal of the New Zealand writer Janet Frame. International recognition followed with another Palme d'Or at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival for The Piano,[10] which won the best director award from the Australian Film Institute and an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1994. At the 66th Academy Awards, she was the second woman ever to be nominated for Best Director.

Campion's work since that time has tended to polarize opinion. The Portrait of a Lady (1996), based on the Henry James novel, featured Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich, Barbara Hershey and Martin Donovan. Holy Smoke! (1999) teamed Campion again with Harvey Keitel, this time with Kate Winslet as the female lead. In the Cut (2003), an erotic thriller based on Susanna Moore's bestseller, provided Meg Ryan an opportunity to depart from her more familiar onscreen persona. Her 2009 film Bright Star, a biographical drama about poet John Keats (played by Ben Whishaw) and his lover Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), was shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

Campion was an executive producer for the 2006 documentary Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story and was creator, writer and director of the serial Top of the Lake.[11] The mini-series received near universal acclaim [12][13] with its lead actress Elisabeth Moss winning numerous awards including a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film and a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries as well as a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie nomination.[14] Campion herself was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special.[15]

She was the head of the jury for the Cinéfondation and Short Film sections at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[16] and the head of the jury for the main competition section for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.[17] During his speech when collecting the Prix du Jury for his film Mommy, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan said of Campion's The Piano that "It made me want to write roles for women: beautiful women with soul, will and strength, not victims or objects." Campion responded by rising from her seat to give him a hug.[18][19]

In 2014 it was announced that Campion was nearing a deal to direct an adaptation of Rachel Kushner's novel The Flamethrowers.[20][21]

In 2015 Campion confirmed that she would be co-directing and co-writing a second season of Top of the Lake with the action moved to Sydney and Harbour City, Hong Kong with Elisabeth Moss reprising her role as Robin Griffin.[22]

Personal life

In 1992, she married Colin David Englert, an Australian who worked as a second unit director on The Piano.[23] Their first child, a son named Jasper, was born in 1993 but lived for only 12 days.[24] Their second child, a daughter named Alice Englert, was born in 1994; she is an actress. The couple divorced in 2001.[25]


From the beginning of her career, Campion's work has received high praise from critics all around. In V.W. Wexman's Jane Campion: Interviews, critic David Thomson describes Campion "as one of the best young directors in the world today."[26] Similarly, in Sue Gillett's "More Than Meets The Eye: The Mediation of Affects in Jane Campion's 'Sweetie'," Campion's work is described as "perhaps the fullest and truest way of being faithful to the reality of experience"; by utilizing the "unsayable" and "unseeable," she manages to catalyze audience speculation.[27] Campion's films tend to gravitate around themes of gender politics, such as seduction and female sexual power. This has led some to label Campion's body of work as feminist, however, Rebecca Flint Marx argues, "while not inaccurate, [the feminist label] fails to fully capture the dilemmas of her characters and the depth of her work."[28]


Campion was appointed a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2016 New Year Honours, for services to film.[29][30]


Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Writer Producer
1980 Tissues Yes Yes Short film
1981 Mishaps of Seduction and Conquest Yes Yes Short film
1982 Peel: An Exercise in Discipline Yes Yes Short film
1983 Passionless Moments Yes Yes Yes Short film
1984 A Girl's Own Story Yes Yes Short film
After Hours Yes Yes Short film
1986 Two Friends Yes Telefilm
1989 Sweetie Yes Yes Debut feature film
1990 An Angel at My Table Yes
1993 The Piano Yes Yes
1996 The Portrait of a Lady Yes
1999 Holy Smoke! Yes Yes
Soft Fruit Yes
2003 In the Cut Yes Yes
2006 The Water Diary Yes Yes Short film. Included as a segment in the 2008 anthology film 8
Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story Yes Documentary
2007 The Lady Bug Yes Yes Short film. Segment from the anthology film To Each His Own Cinema
2009 Bright Star Yes Yes
2012 I'm the One Yes Short film
2013 Top of the Lake Yes Yes Yes Miniseries
2016 Family Happiness Yes Short film
2017 They Yes
Top of the Lake: China Girl Yes Yes Yes Miniseries

See also


  • Cheshire, Ellen: Jane Campion. London: Pocket Essentials, 2000.
  • Fox, Alistair: Jane Campion: Authorship and Personal Cinema. Bloomington–Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-253-22301-2.
  • Gillett, Sue: 'Views for Beyond the Mirror: The Films of Jane Campion.' St.Kilda: ATOM, 2004. ISBN 1 876467 14 2 [31][32]
  • Hester, Elizabeth J.: Jane Campion: A Selective Annotated Bibliography of Dissertations and Theses. ISBN 978-1484818381, ISBN 1484818385.
  • Jones, Gail: 'The Piano.' Australian Screen Classics, Currency Press, 2007.
  • Margolis, Harriet (ed): 'Jane Campion's The Piano.' Cambridge University Press, 2000.
  • McHugh, Kathleen: 'Jane Campion.'Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007.
  • Radner, Hilary, Alistair Fox and Irène Bessière (eds): 'Jane Campion: Cinema, Nation, Identity.'Detroit: Wayne State University Press,2009.
  • Verhoeven, Deb: Jane Campion. London: Routledge, 2009.
  • Wexman V.W.: Jane Campion: Interviews. Roundhouse Publishing. 1999.


  1. ^ Fox, Alistair (2011). Jane Campion: Authorship and Personal Cinema. Indiana University Press. p. 32. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  2. ^ "'Piano's' Jane Campion Is First Female Director to Win; 'Concubine's' Chen Kaige Has First Chinese-Film Victory: 'Piano', 'Concubine', Share the Palme D'Or", Los Angeles Times, 25 May 1993; retrieved 6 May 2012.
  3. ^ Fox. Jane Campion profile. p. 25.
  4. ^ a b c d e McHugh, Kathleen (2007). Contemporary Film Directors: Jane Campion. United States of America: University of Illinois, Urbana. ISBN 978-0-252-03204-2.
  5. ^ Canby, Vincent (30 May 1993). "FILM VIEW; Jane Campion Stirs Romance With Mystery". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Fox. Jane Campion profile. p. 26. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  7. ^ Fox. Jane Campion profile. p. 41. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  8. ^ Mark Stiles, "Jane Campion", Cinema Papers, December 1985, pp. 434-435, 471
  9. ^ "Awards 1986 : Competition - Festival de Cannes 2015 (International Film Festival)". Festival-cannes.fr. Archived from the original on 1 July 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Piano". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 22 August 2009.
  11. ^ Guthrie, Marisa (4 November 2011). "Jane Campion to Write, Direct Sundance Channel Miniseries Starring Elisabeth Moss". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  12. ^ "Top of the Lake". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Top Of The Lake - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  14. ^ "Top of the Lake (2013– ) : Awards". IMDb.com. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  15. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Emmys.com. 13 November 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  16. ^ "A Palme d'or for the Cinéfondation!". festival-cannes.fr. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Jane Campion to preside over Cannes Film Festival jury". BBC News. 7 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  18. ^ "Bear hugs at Cannes as Mommy wins jury prize". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  19. ^ "Xavier Dolan and Jane Campion". 26 July 2014. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  20. ^ Gibson, Megan (13 May 2014). "Jane Campion in talks to direct the big-screen adaptation of "The Flamethrowers"". Time.
  21. ^ Khatchatourian, Maane (13 May 2014). "Jane Campion Near Deal to Direct Adaptation of 'The Flamethrowers'". Variety.
  22. ^ Shechet, Ellie (23 June 2015). "Season 2 of Top of the Lake Will Take Place in Sydney and Hong Kong". Jezebel.
  23. ^ "ENGLERT, COLIN DAVID Australia". Business Profiles. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  24. ^ Franke, Lizzie (1999). "Jane Campbell Is Called the Best Female Director in the World. What's Female Got to Do with It?". In Wexman, Virginia Wright (ed.). Jane Campion: Interview. University Press of Mississippi. p. 207. ISBN 978-1578060832. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  25. ^ Sampson, Des (24 January 2013). "Alice Englert stars in Twilight successor". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  26. ^ V. W. Wexman. Jane Campion: Interviews. Roundhouse Publishing. 1999. ISBN 1-57806-083-4.
  27. ^ "More than Meets the Eye: The Mediation of Affects in Jane Campion's Sweetie • Senses of Cinema". Sensesofcinema.com. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  28. ^ "Jane Campion - Biography - Movies & TV - NYTimes.com". Movies.nytimes.com. 30 April 1954. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  29. ^ “New Year Honours 2016” (15 Jan 2016) 2 New Zealand Gazette 1 at 3.
  30. ^ "Richie McCaw surpasses knighthood, appointed NZ's top honour". TVNZ. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  31. ^ "Views From Beyond the Mirror: The Films of Jane Campion by Sue Gillett • Senses of Cinema". Sensesofcinema.com. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  32. ^ "The films of Jane Campion : views from beyond the mirror / Sue Gillett. - Version details". Trove.nla.gov.au. Retrieved 8 June 2016.

External links

1986 Cannes Film Festival

The 39th Cannes Film Festival was held from 8 to 19 May 1986. The Palme d'Or went to The Mission by Roland Joffé.The festival opened with Pirates, directed by Roman Polanski and closed with El Amor brujo, directed by Carlos Saura.

1993 Cannes Film Festival

The 46th Cannes Film Festival was held from 13 to 24 May 1993. The Palme d'Or went to Farewell My Concubine by Chen Kaige and The Piano by Jane Campion.The festival opened with My Favorite Season, directed by André Téchiné and closed with Toxic Affair, directed by Philomène Esposito. Jeanne Moreau was the mistress of ceremonies.

47th Venice International Film Festival

The 47th annual Venice International Film Festival was held from 4 to 14 September 1990.

8 (2008 film)

8 is an anthology film consisting of eight short films centered on the eight Millennium Development Goals.

A Girl's Own Story

A Girl's Own Story is a 1984 short Australian drama film directed by Jane Campion. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival.

An Angel at My Table

An Angel at My Table is a 1990 New Zealand-Australian-British film directed by Jane Campion. The film is based on Janet Frame's three autobiographies, To the Is-Land (1982), An Angel at My Table (1984), and The Envoy from Mirror City (1984). The film was very well received, winning multiple awards including at the New Zealand Film and Television awards, the Toronto International Film Festival and received second prize at the Venice Film Festival.

Bright Star (film)

Bright Star is a 2009 British-French-Australian biographical fiction romantic drama film based on the last three years of the life of poet John Keats and his romantic relationship with Fanny Brawne. It stars Ben Whishaw as Keats and Abbie Cornish as Fanny. It was directed by Jane Campion, who wrote the screenplay inspired by Andrew Motion's biography of Keats; Motion served as a script consultant on the film. The film was in the main competition at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival, and was first shown to the public on 15 May 2009. The film's title is a reference to a sonnet by Keats titled "Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art", which he wrote while he was with Brawne.

Genevieve Lemon

Genevieve Lemon is an Australian singer and actress who has appeared in a number of soap operas. Her best known roles are as Zelda Baker in The Young Doctors, Marlene "Rabbit" Warren in Prisoner and Brenda Riley in Neighbours. She showed her comedic and singing talents in the televised revue show Three Men and a Baby Grand. In 2018, she began playing Hazel Easton in the Channel 7 soap opera Home and Away.

Greig Fraser

Greig Fraser, A.S.C., A.C.S. (born 3 October 1975) is an Australian cinematographer. He is known for his work on films Vice, Bright Star (2009, directed by Jane Campion) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012, directed by Kathryn Bigelow). In 2017, he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography for his work on the film Lion.

Holy Smoke!

Holy Smoke! is a 1999 Australian drama film directed by Jane Campion, who co-wrote the screenplay with her sister Anna. It premiered at the 56th Venice International Film Festival and was shown at the New York Film Festival and the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival before being released theatrically.

In the Cut

In the Cut is a 2003 Australian-American mystery and romantic erotic thriller film written and directed by Jane Campion and starring Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Campion's screenplay is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Susanna Moore. The film focuses on a college English professor who becomes entangled with a detective investigating a series of gruesome murders in her Manhattan neighborhood.

The film received a limited release on 22 October 2003 in the United States, and was subsequently given a wide release on Halloween that year in the United States and United Kingdom. The film received mixed to negative reviews from most critics.

Passionless Moments

Passionless Moments is a 1983 short Australian drama film written and directed by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival.

Peel (film)

Peel, also known as An Exercise in Discipline - Peel, is a 1982 Australian short film directed by Jane Campion. A father along with his son and sister are taking a trip, during which an orange peel has significance. Peel won the Short Film Palme d'Or at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival, making Campion the first ever woman to win the award.

Sweetie (film)

Sweetie is a 1989 Australian drama film directed by Jane Campion, and starring Genevieve Lemon, Karen Colston, Tom Lycos, and Jon Darling. Co-written by Campion and Gerard Lee, the film documents the contentious relationship between a twenty-something year old, her family, and her emotionally unstable sister. It was Jane Campion's first feature film. It was entered into the 1989 Cannes Film Festival.

The Piano

The Piano is a 1993 New Zealand drama film about a mute piano player and her daughter, set during the mid-19th century in a rainy, muddy frontier backwater town on the west coast of New Zealand. It revolves around the musician's passion for playing the piano and her efforts to regain her piano after it is sold. The Piano was written and directed by Jane Campion and stars Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, and Anna Paquin in her first acting role. The film's score by Michael Nyman became a best-selling soundtrack album, and Hunter played her own piano pieces for the film. She also served as sign language teacher for Paquin, earning three screen credits. The film is an international co-production by Australian producer Jan Chapman with the French company Ciby 2000.

The Piano was a critical and commercial success, grossing US$140 million worldwide against its US$7 million budget. Hunter and Paquin both received high praise for their respective roles as Ada and Flora McGrath. In 1993, the film won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It won three Academy Awards out of eight total nominations in March 1994: Best Actress for Hunter, Best Supporting Actress for Paquin, and Best Original Screenplay for Campion. Paquin was 11 years old at the time and is the second youngest actor to win an Oscar in a competitive category.

The Portrait of a Lady (film)

The Portrait of a Lady is a 1996 film adaptation of Henry James's novel The Portrait of a Lady directed by Jane Campion.

The film stars Nicole Kidman, Barbara Hershey, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Martin Donovan, Shelley Duvall, Richard E. Grant, Shelley Winters, Viggo Mortensen, Valentina Cervi, Christian Bale, and John Gielgud.

To Each His Own Cinema

To Each His Own Cinema (French: Chacun son cinéma : une déclaration d'amour au grand écran) is a 2007 French anthology film commissioned for the 60th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival. The film is a collection of 34 short films, each 3 minutes in length, by 36 acclaimed directors. Representing five continents and 25 countries, the filmmakers were invited to express "their state of mind of the moment as inspired by the motion picture theatre".The film's subtitle reads "a declaration of love to the big screen".

Top of the Lake

Top of the Lake is a mystery drama television series created and written by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee, and directed by Campion and Garth Davis. It aired in 2013, and the sequel, entitled Top of the Lake: China Girl, in 2017. It marks Campion's first work for television since An Angel at My Table in 1990.

Season 1 follows Detective Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss) and deals with her investigation of the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old girl in New Zealand. Season 2, China Girl, is set in Sydney five years later, as Detective Griffin investigates the death of an unidentified Asian girl found at Bondi Beach.Top of the Lake was co-produced for BBC Two in the UK, BBC UKTV in Australia and New Zealand, and Sundance Channel in the United States. It has been generally very well received.

Two Friends (1986 film)

Two Friends is a 1986 Australian television drama film directed by Jane Campion. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival.

Jane Campion
Films directed
Awards for Jane Campion

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