Tony Williams



Tony Williams has been making films, documentaries and commercials all his life.

Tony has made many TV ads:

This one. ‘Bugger’  won for  Tony….

1999 Cannes Film Festival
Gold Lion
1999 ATV Awards
Best Humour
Best NZ Commercial of the Year
Best Australasian Commercial of the year
Best of Show
Best Director Award
1999 Australian AWARD Awards (Sydney)
Gold Award
Best Director
1999 AXIS Awards
Best Director
Gold, Best Commercial
Best Campaign

Here are a few more…



And stepping back a few years…

Shooting two movies as DOP, ‘Runaway’and’Dont Let it Get You’

Mike Seresin focus puller (left)   Tony Williams DOP (right and below)

After shooting two Zealandfeature films as DOP (Director of Photography), Tony Williams moved to London and worked as an editor, both in feature films and television.  During this time he also directed documentaries for the BBC.

He returned to NZ to make a huge contribution to the development of the New Zealand film and television industries through the nine groundbreaking indie documentaries he directed. Film writer Lawrence McDonald argues that Williams is “one of the few genuine documentary-essayists in the history of New Zealand filmmaking, and is arguably the finest”. During this time he also made a low budget feature film SOLO with producer David Hannay which helped launch the 70’s new wave renaissance of NZ feature films.

Directing TV commercial ‘BASF Dear John’

He established the film companies, Tony Williams Productions in New Zealand, and later, The Sydney Film Company in Sydney to produce television commercials and Four Donkey Films to make documentaries.

One of his documentaries, Lost in the Garden of the World, was made with the participation of Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorcese, Werner Herzog, Tobe Hooper, Paul Bartel and Dustin Hoffman. It has since become a cult favorite with film buffs. Tony moved to Australia in 1980 to join forces with Fred Schepisi and Robert le Tet to establish Marmalade Films and later with Maggie Lewis to establish The Sydney Film Company.  He has continued to have a lively influence with award-winning direction of many legendary commercials, including the Toyota “Bugger” campaign and the Coke Sky Surfer ad. His many awards include three Gold Lions from the Cannes Film Festival, Best Commercial of the Year (Australia), Best Commercial of the Decade (Australasia), Lifetime Achievement Award, Special Contribution to the Film Industry Award, and in 2012 he was given a Roll of Honour award from the advertising industry. His three-part documentary Before the Operations Begin was co-produced with the ABC in 2000.

Tony William’s movie Next of Kin, won best film at the Stiges Film Festival in Paris and is a favourite of Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino said of the movie, “Next of Kin has a similar tone and feel to The Shining – which is one hell of a compliment to give the movie – and I’m not over praising it’  In 2018 the film was remastered and sound remixed to bluray with lots of extras. It has been released by Umbrella Entertainment and is selling around the world  to rave reviews. Recently screened in Paris festival. More here on Next of Kin.

Tony moved to Robertson NSW. Inspired by the extraordinary community he discovered there, he and Anna made a documentary about life in a rural Australian village, A Place Called Robertson.  In 2014 he and Anna were commissioned by the ABC to make a 30 minute film about John Olsen, Australia’s greatest living artist, titled The King Sun. He has made his own ‘directors cut’ 54 minute version for the DVD market,  art galleries and educational release. The 30 minute version went to air on ABC1 17th June 2014. Tony and Anna moved to Kangaroo Valley in the Shoalhaven NSW, and In 2018 he made a feature documentary film The Passion of Music about a Wollongong based chamber orchestra. More here on Passion of Music.

 On location in Los Angeles shooting an Air NZ commercial



Tony Williams CV



Born Napier New Zealand 1942.

Resided and worked in Wellington, London, Paris, Melbourne, Sydney.

Currently living in Robertson NSW Australia.


Film Industry

2012 ADMEDIA  Roll of Honour Hall of Fame for 2012

2011 Australian Film Pioneer Induction

1999 AXIS Recognition of Lifetime Achievement in Film


Feature Films

1982 Next of Kin

AFI award Best Editing


MYSTFEST Special Mention Direction


Best music






FACTS award Best Commercial of the Decade in Australasia.

Multiple awards for Direction in the NEW YORK FESTIVAL, USA CLIO, Australian FACTS, NZ AXIS , MOBIUS.


1974 Rally                                    FELTEX TV Awards Best Documentary of the Year

1973 Deciding                             FELTEX TV Awards Best Documentary of the Year

1972 Getting Together                FELTEX TV Awards Best Television Program of the                                                 Year


Robertson NSW

2017           Director/Camera/Editor of 96 min feature  documentary The Passion of Music Cinema release and DVD. Follows a chamber string orchestra Steel City Strings.

2014            Director/Camera/Editor Documentary The King Sun with John Olsen for ABC1 TV release and DVD.

2013           Director/Camera/Editor 72 minute Documentary A Place Called Robertson Cinema release and DVD. Currently entered in Australian and international film festivals.


1980 – 2011  Directing commercials

2000            Director/Camera three part documentary for ABC TV Before The                 Operations  Begin

1986            Established The Sydney Film Company with Maggie Lewis, Sydney.

1982            Established Marmalade Films with Fred Schepisi and Robert LeTet, Sydney

1981            Director/Co-Writer/Co-Producer cinema feature film Next of Kin with John Jarratt. Won Best Director at Sitges Film Festival.

 Los Angeles

1980            Cinema documentary Venice on Wheels

1979            Director (film sequences) CBS TV Special A Special Kenny Rogers

New Zealand

1978            Director/Co-Writer/Co-Producer/Editor  Cinema Feature film Solo


1975             Director/Co-Camera/Editor  Lost in the Garden of the World

Documentary with Dustin Hoffman, Werner Hertzog, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorcese, Paul Bartel, Tobe Hooper.

New Zealand

1972 – 1980 Directed Commercials

1976            Co-Director with Roger Donaldson /Editor  The Adventure World of Sir             Edmund Hillary series pilot US Television

1975            Director/Editor/Camera TV Special The Musical Ambassadors – Kenny             Rogers and the First Edition co-production Pacific Films/Kenny Rogers             Productions/Tony Williams Productions  US TV /TVNZ

1975            Established film company Tony Williams Productions

1974            Director documentary The Hum TVNZ

1973            Director/Camera/Co-Editor documentary Rally TVNZ

Feltex TV Award Best Documentary of the Year

1973             Director documentary Take Three Passions TVNZ

1972            Director documentary The Unbelievable Glory of the Human Voice TVNZ

1972            Director documentary Deciding TVNZ  Feltex Award Best Documentary of the Year

1971            Director/Editor documentary The Day We Landed on the Most Perfect Planet             in the Universe  TVNZ

1971            Director/Editor documentary Getting Together TVNZ Feltex Award Best TV Program of the Year


1969            Assistant editor cinema feature The Vampire Lovers  Hammer Films

1969            Assistant editor cinema feature The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer Warner Brothers

1969            Director/Camera/Editor 30 minute documentary Sound the Trumpet Beat the             Drum Documentary on arts festival in Shiraz, Iran for BBC 2.

1969             Director/Camera/Editor 1 hour documentary Takis Unlimited for BBC TV

Staff Editor commercials Arrow Films, London

Free lance assistant editing documentary The Gold Run Director Antony Thomas ITV

1968            Staff Editor BBC 24 Hours, The Money Program

Los Angeles

1967            Second Unit Camera Cinema feature film Thunder Alley American International

New Zealand

1966             DOP Cinema feature film Don’t Let it Get You Pacific Films, director John             O’Shea

1965             Director/Camera/Editor documentary NZBC TV Noumea is Noumea

1964             DOP Cinema feature film Runaway  Pacific Films, director John O’Shea

1963             Director/Editor Cinema Documentary Keep Them Waiting

1963             Director/Camera/Editor experimental film The Sound of Seeing                                 NZBC TV

1962             Director/Camera/Editor Short film Autumn Leaves

Early 60’s Cameraman for cinema documentaries and Australia Movietone News items



TV Commercial Awards

Award Best Director ‘Statewide’ / Award Casting ‘Statewide/ Award Campaign Statewide/ Award Australia Post ‘Bones’/  Award ‘Kiwi Assault’/  Award ‘SGIC’/  Award Campaign ‘SGIC’/  Facts ‘Statewide’/  Facts BASF ‘Dear John’/  Facts Allens ‘Frog’/  Facts Campaign ‘Sydney Morning Herald’/  Facts Media ‘Sydney Morning Herald’/  Facts Best Commercial 1986 ‘Sydney Morning Herald’/  Cannes Bronze Lion ‘SGIC’ /  Cannes Bronze Lion ‘Perth Building Society’/  Cannes Gold Lion BASF ‘Dear John’/  Clio Gold BASF ‘Dear John’/  Clio Gold Taubmans/  Clio Gold Liptons/  Clio Gold ‘SGIC’/  Clio Gold ‘Crunchie’/  Clio Hall Of Fame ‘Crunchie’/  Clio Best Director 1980/  Clio Best Director 1982/  Clio Best Director 1985/  Clio Best Director 1992 / Clio Hall of Fame ‘Éclair Pops’/  New York Festival Best Director 1990 Kit Kat ‘Baby’/  New York Festival Best Director 1990 ‘Lucky Dog’/  Mobius Best Director 1990 Kit Kat ‘Baby’/  Mobius Best Director ‘Lucky Dog’/  Mobius Best Director 1990 Coca Cola ‘Skysurfer’/  Mobius Best Director 1992 Telecom ‘Spot’/  New York Festival Telecom Campaign ‘Spot’/  New York Festival Business Products ‘Spot’/  People’s Choice Most popular Commercial 1992 Sorbent ‘Boy’/  New York Festival BNZ ‘Retirement’ 1993/  People’s Choice Most Popular Commercial 1993 Sorbent ‘Magda’/  Clio Gold Best Campaign 1993 BNZ/  Clio Gold Best of Show 1993 BNZ/  Award Best Commercial over 30 secs BNZ 1993/  Award Best Campaign 1993 BNZ/  Award Best Director 1993 BNZ/  Facts Best Commercial of the Decade BASF ‘ Dear John’/  Cannes Gold Lion 1999 Toyota ‘Bugger’/  ATV Award 1999 Best Humour Toyota ‘Bugger’/  ATV Award 1999 Best NZ Commercial of the Year Toyota ‘Bugger’/  ATV 1999 Best Australian Commercial of the Year ‘Bugger’/  ATV Award 1999 Best of Show Toyota ‘Bugger’/  ATV Award Best Director Toyota ‘Bugger’/  Award 1999 Gold Toyota ‘Bugger’/Axis best director 2000/Gold best commercial Bugger/Gold best campaign ‘Bugger’./ :Lifetime Achievement contribution to film industry Gold/ People’s Choice Toyota ‘Echo – Pied Piper’ , AWARD 2002 Direction  gold.Toyota “Bugger 11”,Axis Awards 2003,  Direction BronzeAir NZ ‘Grandfather’, AXIS AWARDS 2003 Direction Silver Air NZ ‘Band’. AXIS AWARDS 2003 Direction Silver Air NZ ‘Fishing’

5 thoughts on “Tony Williams

  1. Hi Tony,
    A long time, but unfaded memories. I think we last made a TV spot in 1976!!! I’m back in Oz after about 20 years in the US and Canada. With Sarah, a dog and a cat. Have been living in Port Melbourne for about a year and a half. Still working – can’t ford to retire. Hope you are thriving. Drop me a line and I’ll tell you more. Maybe we could even meet. Who knows.
    Take care, Michael

  2. Tony, is that you on Omaha Beach during the Normandy Landings and wearing those trousers that can be easily discarded under water?? (see BASF promo?)

  3. Tony
    As an oldie from the 70’s I have reviewed your profile, and revisited your creations, including Kenny, and Solo.
    Might I suggest you include in your profiles the radically new techniques you used in your creative processes. For instance the long weekend in Seatoun with Yourself, Martin, and the two actors as you and Martin developed the Solo story line using video (which I provided)…then you used the resulting video to sell the deal in Australia. As I recall that was the first time any producer/director/writer had used that process.

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