Andrew Lesnie was remembered as one of Australia’s finest cinematographers and a warm and generous bloke at a celebration of his life and career on Sunday.
Dozens of collaborators and friends including Sir Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, Cate Blanchett, George Miller, Chris Noonan, Bill Bennett, Craig Monahan, Jack Thompson and Andrew Mason gathered to pay tribute to Lesnie, who died in April after a heart attack, aged 59.
Ray Martin hosted the event, Remembering Andrew, staged by the Australian Cinematographers Society at Event Cinemas Bondi Junction.
Video tributes from Russell Crowe, Bruce Beresford, Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Barrie Osborne, Don McAlpine, Richard Roxburgh, Dean Semler and Peter Menzies Jnr, among others, were screened.
Among the clips of his work shown were The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (for which he won an Oscar) and other Jackson-directed films, The Water Diviner, Babe, Healing and Two If By Sea.
Bennett, who collaborated with Lesnie on Spider & Rose and Two If By Sea, said: "Andrew was fearless in every way, particularly in his pursuit of excellence. He taught me that good enough was not good enough. It had to be bold, it had to be exceptional. It had to be extraordinary. It had to be unique.
"And what's what Andrew Lesnie was- bold, exceptional, extraordinary, and unique."
The inspired tribute from Monahan, who worked with the DoP on Healing, involved a three-way dialogue between himself, Andrew and Groucho Marx, which attendees described as both heartbreaking and very funny.
ACS president Ron Johanson told the gathering, “Andrew was way too young, on the threshold of his career, one that would take him to many new places and experience many new things, with far reaching opportunities to share his thoughts and wisdom with new friends."
Johanson read a message from Simon Townsend, who said, “Andrew stayed with Wonder World! for its first two years, during which we won two Logies for excellence, due greatly to Andrew’s input.
“He had enormous fun, enjoying the nonsense and hilarity contained in many of our film stories. Thank you Andrew for helping me to a great start for my show, and God bless you for the talent you used so well and thank you for being a terrific bloke.”
Johanson concluded, "Good on you Andrew, go you good thing, we all miss you."