Campion in 2014
Elizabeth Jane Campion
30 April 1954
Wellington, New Zealand
|Residence||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
Oriental Bay, Wellington, New Zealand
Colin David Englert
(m. 1992; div. 2001)
|Children||2; including Alice Englert|
|Relatives||Richard Campion (father)|
Dame Elizabeth Jane Campion (born 30 April 1954) is a New Zealand screenwriter, producer, and director. Campion is the second of five women ever nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and is the first 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.
Campion was born in Wellington, New Zealand, the second daughter of Edith Campion (née Beverley Georgette Hannah), an actress, writer, and heiress, and Richard M. Campion, a teacher, and theater and opera director. Her maternal great-grandfather was Robert Hannah, the shoe manufacturer of Antrim House. Her father came from a family engaged in the Exclusive Brethren Christian evangelical movement. Along with Jane's sister, Anna, a year and half her senior, and brother, Michael, seven years her junior, Campion grew up in the world of New Zealand theater. Their parents founded the New Zealand Players. But Jane initially rejected the idea of a career in the dramatic arts, graduating instead with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Victoria University of Wellington in 1975.
In 1976, she enrolled in the Chelsea Art School, in London, and traveled throughout Europe. She went on to earn a Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts (Painting) from the Sydney College of the Arts at the University of Sydney in 1981. Campion was shaped in part by her art school education -- and has, even in her mature career, cited painter Frida Kahlo and sculptor Joseph Beuys as influences on her work. But her dissatisfaction with the limits of painting  led her to filmmaking and the creation of her first short, Tissues, in 1980. In 1981, Campion began studying at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, where she made several more short films and graduated in 1984.
Her first short film, Peel (1982), won the Short Film Palme d'Or at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival, and other awards followed for the shorts Passionless Moments (1983), A Girl's Own Story (1984), and After Hours (1984). After leaving 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.
Her feature debut, Sweetie (1989), won international awards. Further recognition came 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, 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. The mini-series received near universal acclaim  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. Campion herself was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special.
She was the head of the jury for the Cinéfondation and Short Film sections at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. and the head of the jury for the main competition section for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. 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.
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.
In 1992, she married Colin David Englert, an Australian who worked as a second unit director on The Piano. Their first child, a son named Jasper, was born in 1993 but lived for only 12 days. Their second child, a daughter named Alice Englert, was born in 1994; she is an actress. The couple divorced in 2001.
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." 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. 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."
|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||Television film|
|1989||Sweetie||Yes||Yes||Co-written with Gerard Lee|
|1990||An Angel at My Table||Yes|
|1996||The Portrait of a Lady||Yes|
|1999||Holy Smoke!||Yes||Yes||Co-written with Anna Campion|
|2003||In the Cut||Yes||Yes||Co-written with Susanna Moore|
|2006||The Water Diary||Yes||Yes||Short film|
|Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story||Yes||Documentary|
|2007||The Lady Bug||Yes||Yes||Short film. Segment from To Each His Own Cinema|
|2012||I'm the One||Yes||Short film|
|2013||Top of the Lake||Yes||Yes||Yes||Miniseries|
Co-directed with Garth Davis
Co-written with Gerard Lee
|2016||Family Happiness||Yes||Short film|
|Top of the Lake: China Girl||Yes||Yes||Yes||Miniseries|
Co-directed with Ariel Kleiman
Co-written with Gerard Lee