24 November 1941 - August 2013
This is Jonathan Dawson's only feature, tho he wrote Final Cut (1980) together with its director, John Dimsey.
Ginger Meggs (Jonathan Dawson, 1982) prod. John Sexton, wr. Michael Latimer, from comic strip by J. C. Bancks, dp John Seale, music John Stuart, Kim Thraves, design Larry Eastwood, ed. Phillip Howe; Terry Camilleri, Paul Daniel, Harold Hopkins, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Coral Kelly, Garry McDonald, Gwen Plumb; filmed Bowral; Eastman colour, 35mm, 95 min.
Obituary published in IF [Inside Film] 12 August 2013
Director, writer, film critic and media academic Jonathan Dawson has died in Hobart, aged 71.
Dawson wrote and directed documentaries, commercials and documentary specials for the ABC and commercial networks and the 1982 feature film Ginger Meggs.
After graduating from Melbourne University, he joined the Australian Broadcasting Commission as a trainee radio and TV producer/director. He left the ABC to join Crawford Productions as a writer/director on Homicide and Division 4. He then went on to Channel 9 in Sydney to direct The Link Men and write for other series including Rush and The Box.
He continued to publish poetry and short stories but left the fulltime film industry to set up the new media studies department and screenwriting courses at the University of Canberra.
From there he set up Griffith University's Foundation Year in 1975, where he worked to create the then new screen studies and production courses now internationally acknowledged, a series of pioneering new degree and postgraduate programs that have produced and mentored many of the leading film scholars and film makers in international screen studies.
As a filmmaker who welcomed emerging writers, directors and students on his film shoots, he made contributions to the growing film industry of the 1970s right through to his pro bono political commercials on his retirement to Tasmania.
With his 1980 Film Australia documentary The Myth Makers and later the Japan Prize-awarded TV Open Learning series Images of Australia, he opened up debate in the 1990s on national identity and the interconnected effects of literature, painting, cartooning, film, propaganda and the arts to constructing and projecting national self-images.
At Griffith University, after eight years as Vice Chair of the School of Humanities, he helped plan and then headed up the multi campus Film School (now the Griffith Film School), serving as the School's Foundation Chair and Associate Professor until his retirement in 2000.
After retiring to Tasmania, he created a radio film chat show on ABC Radio with Tim Cox as well as writing for the ABC website and contributing popular weekly podcasts on film and popular culture. As Honorary Research Associate at the University of Tasmania he also introduced contemporary cinema studies courses.
In association with Screen Tasmania and The State Cinema he curated and lectured on film theory and history, hosting movie seasons with themes from Independent Movies to new French film and Australian film and documentary.
Since 2009 he had been a script editor for short drama and documentary film projects such as Daughter of San Domenico and Tin Man for Wide Angle Tasmania.
He was a member of AFCA (Australian Film Critics Association). He been patron and senior judge of the Tasmanian, MyState Film Festival since its inauguration in 2003.
In November 2009 he was elected an Honorary Life Member of the Australian Cinematographers Society.
He is survived by his wife Felicity, son Patrick and daughter Olivia.
A public memorial will be held at the State Cinema, North Hobart, on Thursday[15 August 2013] at 4pm.
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