In memory of cinematographer Brian Tufano

3 February, 2023

Screen and Film School Brighton were extremely saddened to learn of the passing of the late, great cinematographer Brian Tufano, who died at the age of 83 in mid-late January.

Tufano was a friend and former patron of the film school, who had visited our Production House studio as an industry guest at the invitation of its original founder, Gary Barber.

The award-winning Director of Photography had generously donated equipment to the school to help facilitate the creative work of its filmmaking students, including a customised grip-dolly and a light box which are still utilised on campus to this day.

Brian visited the Film School on a number of occasions, and was known for delivering inspirational and informative camera workshops packed with helpful knowledge on the art of filmmaking.

A framed large-scale printed article from British Cinematographer Magazine, celebrating some of Tufano’s brilliant creative work, can also be found in our Production House building (pictured).

Old Brighton Film School Patron poster

Better is Best by David A Ellis: British Cinematographer magazine Issue 067, January 2015

Having started out as a pageboy at the BBC’s Lime Grove studio, Tufano went on to lens dozens of incredible feature films during a career spanning nearly fifty years.

His cinematographic vision is perhaps most apparent within such modern classics as Quadrophenia (1979), Shallow Grave (1994), Trainspotting (1996), East Is East (1999), Billy Elliot (2000) and Kidulthood (2006) to name just a handful.

Brian collaborated with many headline filmmakers over the years, including the likes of Ken Loach, Stephen Frears and Ken Russel. But it was his work with renowned British director Danny Boyle – with whom he made four feature films – which many cinephiles would claim to be his undoubted masterpieces.

Tufano’s technical ingenuity and incredible creative vision were admired by his peers and acknowledged with numerous award nominations over the decades. His work on Billy Elliot was nominated for a Best Cinematography BAFTA, and he also picked up a BAFTA TV nomination for his work on Anthony Page’s Middlemarch (1994).

In 2001, Tufano received a BAFTA for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television, and he won the Special Jury Award for Outstanding Contribution to Independent Film at the British Independent Film Awards in 2002.

Screen and Film School’s original founder and creative director Gary Barber is in the process of writing a book about Tufano’s filmmaking career. Barber had this to say about the highly respected DOP.

“Through my friendship with Brian we developed a close working relationship. My visits to the National Film and Television School (where he lectured) were reciprocated with Brian’s visits to Brighton Film School (nee Screen and Film School). In his workshops, lectures and support sessions, both staff and students had the opportunity to ask 1-1 questions about his approach to working with directors, writers, crew and financiers.

His self-taught knowledge of working as an operator and cinematographer was something that he was always keen to encourage students to explore, as well as ensuring that filmmaking was a collaborative process and not about one key creative within the crew. Brian was a true inspiration to students and he will be missed.”

With so many great feature films to his name, Screen and Film School are confident that Brian Tufano’s phenomenal work will live on and continue to inspire filmmakers for decades to come.

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