Richard Bailie-Mace ACS

Richard Bailie-Mace ACS inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

Richard Baile-Mace was born on June 3rd, 1937 and began his film career on the 14th September 1953 and finished on the 30th December 2006, a period of over 53 years in the Film and Television industry. He witnessed the ACS grow from a handful of members meeting at the Film Club to what it is today. It was and industry that h thought h would never become involved in as he was more interested in who starred in films and what the film was about rather than the actual production of it. In 1953 Richard commenced work at the Commonwealth Film Unit situated at Burwood NSW under the control of Stanley Hawes along with a very talented team of Producers. At the end of 1954 to mid 1955 he moved from the library into the neg room under the watchful eye of Stan Moore and trained as a neg cutter.

In mid 1955 he was given the chance to be production assistant to Director Peter Dimond and cameraman John Leake on a production called The Coalminer. Richard has lots of memories of this shoot not only as it was his first production shoot but a long association with John Leak developed, it was also his first flight in a single engine aircraft. In early 1959 he was promoted to cameraman.

However, in 1956 Richard was called up for National Service and served 3 months training and 2 years of army camps and parades,

then in 1959 he was called to the Commander’s Office and told he was being discharged. It was explained that a call had come through from Canberra, he was to be released immediately and report back to the DOI film unit. Cameraman Keith Gow had been seriously injured while filming a light plane taking off on a remote airstrip at Lake Chambri PNG. Richard was to be on the next flight to take over the role of cinematographer.

Keith’s 35mm Newman Sinclair had taken the full impact of the plane’s wheel as it took off and forced it into his face. His injuries were severe, so he was flown to Port Morseby hospital. From 1959 to the time he departed Film Australia, documentary work had taken him around Australia with the King and Queen of Thailand, to Nauru, England, Malta and all over PNG so his career was well advanced. From1964 to 1986 he was involved in news, current affairs and documentaries with the ABC.

It was during these years that he won 5 Golden Tripod and 5 Merit Awards from the ACS. During this time the ABC had many up and coming cinematographers, the likes of Don McAlpine, Johne Seale, Geoff Burton, Dean Semler and Stephen Windon all of whom went on to have much success in the feature film world. It certainly was an honour for Richard working in this great industry and to work with the many people involved in different spheres of film production, and he often reflects on what his peers created when they started the Australian Cinematographers Society all those years back, and tries to visualise that from a very small industry came some of the best cinematographers in the world, still in demand, and still winning major awards around the world.