|Intro||New Zealand film director|
|Was||Film director Film producer|
|Field||Film, TV, Stage & Radio|
|Death||18 March 2016 (aged 47 years)|
Paul Regan Swadel (1968 – 18 March 2016) was a New Zealand film director and producer.
Life and career
Swadel graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, also graduated from the Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland, with a Master of Fine Arts attaining First Class Honours in Intermedia.
He directed and produced many successful short films which screened in competition at the Cannes, Venice, New York City and Sundance film festivals. Saatchi & Saatchi spotted his talent early in the commercials world for their New Directors Showcase at Cannes in 2000. As a television commercial director, he produced award-winning work for Sony and Nike, and had his PlayStation work picked up globally.
Swadel nurtured a filmmaking partnership with James Cunningham that spanned fifteen years and four globally successful short films. Their film Infection competed at Cannes International Film Festival 2000, Sundance Film Festival 2001 and twenty other international film festivals. Paul and James developed an indie performance capture driven CGI film Marshal with Mark Ordesky, executive producer of The Lord of the Rings. Their proof of concept short film Poppy, was shot on the Weta Digital motion capture soundstage. Poppy features Matthew Sunderland, winner of Best Actor Award at the 2008 NZ Screen Awards. Poppy was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles 2010, and Best in Show at SIGGRAPH Asia in Seoul 2010.
He also developed and co-directed projects with his brother Marc Swadel, whose reel includes work with The Strokes, Sonic Youth and Iggy Pop, and his TVC work was featured in the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase at Cannes.
Swadel was a co-executive producer of Headstrong with Ant Timpson and Leanne Saunders. Their feature film The Devil Dared Me To had its world premiere at SXSW and screened at over twenty International Film Festivals. It has been sold to Wild Bunch for the United Kingdom, Vivendi for the United States and Boll AG for rest of the world. Their second feature film A Song of Good began its festival run with a World Premiere at Rotterdam Film Festival where it sold out all of its screenings. It garnered 5 nominations at the 2008 New Zealand Screen Awards, and won a Best Picture Award.
He also directed a significant number of award-winning art documentaries around the world. These range in subject from Plácido Domingo at the New York Metropolitan Opera, The Understudy, to an award-winning six-hour series on the history of New Zealand Art, The Big Picture presented by Hamish Keith, which garnered three nominations at the 2008 New Zealand Screen Awards, and won Best Series and Best Music awards.
Swadel later filled the role of Development Executive at the New Zealand Film Commission in Wellington.
He executive produced a documentary on the earthquakes that affected Christchurch in 2010 and 2011 entitled When A City Falls, which had its international premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2012.
Swadel developed and executive produced a series of films and shorts as Blue Harvest with the New Zealand Film Commission. He also worked at Media Design School as a Senior Lecturer for the Bachelor of Arts and Design where he taught filmmaking process.
Swadel died on 18 March 2016, after suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease. He was survived by his son Felix, as well as his parents, siblings and other family members.