Paul Swadel – Film Director, Producer and Educator

From his roots as an art student at Canterbury University, Paul Swadel began his almost 30 year career in film where he ended it – in education.

Best known for his trademark dark humour, Paul made international award winning films, music videos, commercials and television, notably directing the documentaries ‘Colin McCahon: I AM’ and The Big Picture’, the short film ‘Accidents’ and executive producing Christchurch earthquake doco-feature ‘When A City Falls’.

Perhaps Paul’s biggest legacy is in education and mentorship – Paul helped develop the Bachelor of Media Arts degree course in media at Waikato Polytechnic, whilst there as a tutor in the mid 90’s. During the 2000’s Paul was a short film ‘pod’ executive producer developing new director/producer talent for the NZ film commission.

Paul was also part of the team that developed ‘Headstrong’ one of the first ultra low budget feature initiatives, which produced the films ‘ The Devil Dared Me To’ and ‘A Song Of Good’.

Paul then stepped into the role as a development executive for the NZ Film Commission, and there developed the ‘Escalator’ low budget film scheme.

Paul’s final role was at the Media Design School in Auckland, where he was Senior Lecturer in film.

Whilst there he produced the multi-award winning CGI short ‘Poppy’ with long time collaborator, director James Cunningham.

There would be few professionals in NZ production who had not met, worked or studied with Paul at some stage over his career.

Paul passed away after a long illness, surrounded by family in his hometown of Christchurch. He was 47.

Paul is survived by his son Felix.

Paul_Swadel + Leon_Narbey[1]

Last updated on 26 February 2018