Dean Semler

Dean Semler ACS ASC

1943 (age 7273)

Renmark, South Australia, Australia

Occupation Cinematographer

Dean Semler ACS ASC, (born 1943) is an Australian cinematographer. Over his career, he has worked as a cinematographer, camera operator, director, second unit director, and assistant director. He is a member of both the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) and the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).

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 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"[1] 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).[2] In the late 1980s, Semler was the cinematographer for several popular films, such as Cocktail (1988) and Young Guns (1988).


In 1990, Semler was hired as cinematographer for Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves, 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 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.



Year Title Cinematographer Director Notes
1962 The Valley of Water No No Television film
Floor manager


Year Title Cinematographer Director Notes
1971 The Choice Yes No N/A
1971 Where Dead Men Lie Yes No N/A
1973 The Fifth Facade: The Making of the Sydney Opera House No No Camera operator
1973 I Need More Staff Yes No N/A
1973 One Good Reason Yes No Camera operator
1973 Through My Eyes: Kilkenny Primary School, South Australia Yes No Camera operator
1973 Through My Eyes: Stradbroke Infants School, South Australia Yes No Camera operator
1974 Parent Teacher Interviews Yes No Camera operator
1974 A Steam Train Passes Yes No Short documentary film
1974 Moving On Yes No N/A
1976 Do I Have to Kill My Child? Yes No Television film
1976 Let the Balloon Go Yes No N/A
1977 Outback Supply Yes No Camera operator
1977 Cass No Yes Second unit director
Television film
1978 A Good Thing Going Yes No N/A
1979 Saturday Yes Yes N/A


Year Title Cinematographer Director Notes
1980 War Without Weapons Yes No N/A
1980 The Russians Yes No TV series documentary
1981 Hoodwink Yes No N/A
1981 Mad Max 2 Yes No N/A
1983 The Dismissal Yes No TV miniseries
1983 Kitty and the Bagman Yes No N/A
1983 Return to Eden Yes No TV miniseries
1984 After the Flood No No Camera operator
1984 Bodyline Yes No TV miniseries
7 episodes
1984 Undercover Yes No N/A
1984 Razorback Yes No N/A
1985 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Yes No N/A
1985 The Coca-Cola Kid Yes No N/A
1986 Passion Flower Yes No Television film
1987 Bullseye Yes No N/A
1987 Going Sane Yes No N/A
1987 The Lighthorsemen Yes No Camera operator
1988 Great Performances Yes No TV series
Episode: "Melba"
1988 The Clean Machine Yes No Television film
1988 Cocktail Yes No N/A
1988 Young Guns Yes No N/A
1989 Lonesome Dove Yes No Director of photography: Second unit
1989 Farewell to the King Yes No N/A
1989 Dead Calm Yes No N/A
1989 K-9 Yes No N/A


Year Title Cinematographer Director Notes
1990 Impulse Yes No N/A
1990 Young Guns II Yes No N/A
1990 Dances with Wolves Yes No N/A
1991 City Slickers Yes No N/A
1992 The Power of One Yes No N/A
1993 Super Mario Bros. Yes Yes Second unit director
1993 Last Action Hero Yes No N/A
1993 The Three Musketeers Yes No N/A
1994 The Cowboy Way Yes No N/A
1995 Waterworld Yes No N/A
1997 Gone Fishin' Yes No N/A
1997 Trojan War Yes No N/A
1998 Firestorm No Yes N/A
1998 The Patriot No Yes N/A
1999 The Bone Collector Yes No N/A


Year Title Cinematographer Director Notes
2000 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps Yes No N/A
2001 Heartbreakers Yes No N/A
2002 D-Tox Yes No N/A
2002 Dragonfly Yes No N/A
2002 We Were Soldiers Yes No N/A
2002 XXX Yes No N/A
2002 The Adventures of Pluto Nash Yes No Director of photography: Second unit
2003 Bruce Almighty Yes No N/A
2004 The Alamo Yes No N/A
2005 The Longest Yard Yes No N/A
2005 Stealth Yes No N/A
2006 Just My Luck Yes No N/A
2006 Click Yes No N/A
2006 Apocalypto Yes No N/A
2007 I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry Yes No N/A
2008 Get Smart Yes No N/A
2008 Appaloosa Yes No N/A
2008 Bedtime Stories Yes No Director of photography: Second unit
2009 2012 Yes No N/A


Year Title Cinematographer Director Notes
2010 Date Night Yes No N/A
2010 Secretariat Yes No N/A
2011 In the Land of Blood and Honey Yes No N/A
2012 Parental Guidance Yes No N/A
2013 Grudge Match Yes No N/A
2014 Heaven Is for Real Yes No N/A
2014 Maleficent Yes No N/A
2015 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Yes No N/A
2016 The Do-Over Yes No N/A


  1. Allmovie biography by Hal Erickson
  2. The Australian Film and Television Companion – Compiled by Tony Harrison, Simon & Schuster, Australia (1994)

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 8/7/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.