Jane Campion, Oscar-Winning Director

Jane Campion (source: imdb.com)

Jane Campion (source: imdb.com)

When Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan collected the Prix du Jury award for his film Mommy in 2014, he told the audience that Jane Campion's film The Piano "...made me want to write roles for women: beautiful women with soul, will and strength, not victims or objects".

Anyone who has seen The Piano would be unable to forget the haunting images of the 19th-century mute woman Ada, who is sent with her young daughter to New Zealand for an arranged marriage. Actresses Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin, who was only 10 when the movie was filmed, both won Oscars for their performances.

Jane Campion is one of just four women to have ever been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director (the full list to date is: Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties in 1976, Jane Campion for The Piano in 1993, Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation in 2003, and Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2009).

She won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for The Piano, and also the Palme D'Or - she was the first female filmmaker to ever win the award.

Jane was born in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1954 and grew up surrounded by actors and filmmakers. Her mother was an actor and writer, while her father was a theatre and opera director. Jane studied anthropology at university, but then went on to study art in London and Sydney. She started making short films in the early 1980s and won the Short Film Palme D'Or at Cannes in 1986. Her feature debut was in 1983 (Sweetie), followed by the acclaimed TV mini-series An Angel at my Table, a biographical mini series about NZ writer Janet Frame. Next came The Piano in 1993, to international praise and many prestigious awards. 

Her other films include Portrait of a Lady, starring Nicole Kidman and John Malkovich,  Holy Smoke, with Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel, and In the Cut, with Meg Ryan. More recently she has headed the jury at Cannes and created the award-winning TV mini-series Top of the Lake, starring Mad Men's Elizabeth Moss.

"I would love to see more women directors because they represent half of the population - and gave birth to the whole world. Without them writing and being directors, the rest of us are not going to know the whole story."