Peter Weir

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Peter Lindsay Weir, AM (born 21 August 1944) is an Australian film director. After playing a leading role in the Australian New Wave cinema with his films such as Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Last Wave and Gallipoli, Weir directed a diverse group of American and international films—many of them major box office hits—including the Academy Award nominees Witness, Dead Poets Society, Green Card, The Truman Show and Master and Commander.


Early life and career

Weir was born in Sydney, the son of Peggy (née Barnsley) and Lindsay Weir, a real estate agent.[1] Weir attended The Scots College and Vaucluse Boys' High School before studying art and law at the University of Sydney. His interest in film was sparked by his meeting with fellow students, including Phillip Noyce and the future members of the Sydney filmmaking collective Ubu Films.

After leaving university in the mid-1960s he joined Sydney television station ATN-7, where he worked as a production assistant on the groundbreaking satirical comedy program The Mavis Bramston Show. During this period, using station facilities, he made his first two experimental short films, Count Vim's Last Exercise and The Life and Flight of Reverend Buckshotte.

Weir then took up a position with the Commonwealth Film Unit (later renamed Film Australia), for which he made several documentaries, including a short documentary about an underprivileged outer Sydney suburb, Whatever Happened to Green Valley, in which residents were invited to make their own film segments. Another notable film in this period was the short rock music performance film Three Directions In Australian Pop Music (1972), which featured in-concert colour footage of three of the most significant Melbourne rock acts of the period, Spectrum, The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band and Wendy Saddington. He also directed one section of the three-part, three-director feature film Three To Go (1970), which won an AFI award.

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