ALEX PROYAS (Director) is a member of the latest generation of Australian filmmakers to burst upon the world since the belated Australian New Wave of the Seventies was inaugurated by the international success Peter Weir's aptly named The Last Wave
(Director) is a member of the latest generation of Australian
filmmakers to burst upon the world since the belated Australian
New Wave of the Seventies was inaugurated by the international
success Peter Weir's aptly named The Last Wave.
Since then Australia has not only produced a score of world-class
filmmakers who regularly work in Hollywood, it has also become
the center of a thriving home-grown film industry, as exemplified
by Proyas's return to Sydney, his home town, to undertake the
daunting technical and logistical challenges of Dark City,
which required the building of fifty elaborate, highly stylized
sets at Sydney's new American-financed Fox Studios.
Born in Egypt, Proyas has lived in Sydney since he was three.
Admitted to the Australian Film and Television School at the young
age of seventeen, he attracted attention with his short film Groping,
made during his first year, which won the Most Outstanding Short
Film Award at the 1982 London Film Festival, the Greater Union
Best Short Film Award at the Sydney Film Festival and the Boomerang
Award at the 1982 Melbourne Film Festival. In 1987 Proyas made
his debut feature, a post-apocalyptic western called Spirits
of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds, which also won festival
awards but was not distributed in the United States.
Proyas first made an international reputation for himself as a
sought-after maker of music videos and commercials. He founded
his own Sydney-based production company, Meaningful Eye Contact,
during his second year of film school, and subsequently signed
with Propaganda Films in Los Angeles, then with U.K.-based Limelight
Films, before re-signing with Propaganda in 1990. His videos (for
INXS, Crowded House, Fleetwood Mac, Joe Jackson, Rick Springfield,
Cutting Crew, Colin Hay and Yes, among others) and commercials
(for a diverse list of international clients including Nike, Coca
Cola, Pepsi, American Express, Swatch, Nissan, Kleenex, Phipps,
Castrol, TDK, Hitachi, Verve, Philips and Dunlop) have won numerous
awards all over the world.
"I always intended to do features, but I still do ads between
features," says Proyas. "It pays the bills, and it's
fun. It's done in a month, and you get to look at a bunch of very
exciting new images for a short time, so you don't get too sick
Proyas's breakthrough as a feature director was the 1994 adaptation
of James O'Barr's cutting edge punk comic-book novel The Crow,
which will always be remembered as the last film of Brandon Lee,
son of the legendary Bruce Lee, who lost his life in a gunshot
accident during the last weeks of filming. Devastated by Lee's
death, Proyas returned to Australia with the intention of abandoning
the film, but came back a month later at the insistence of Lee's
family to finish it. The resulting film was not only a commercial
hit, but a critical success for its star, who achieved the posthumous
status of a legend in his own right for his haunting portrayal
of a man who returns from the dead to avenge his own murder.
Dark and intensely morbid, The Crow was proclaimed "a
triumph" by Playboy and "the best film of its kind since
Batman" by the Chicago Tribune's Roger Ebert. "The visual
brilliance of The Crow is a marvel," wrote Rollin
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