Mad Max director admitted to the degree of Doctor of Letters

19 May 2023
Dr George Miller AO celebrated for his blockbuster career
The University of Sydney awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) to George Miller for his contributions to the silver screen in Australia and worldwide.

Director George Miller AO was admitted to the degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) during a ceremony held on Thursday 18 May, by Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AC.

“From post-apocalyptic Broken Hill to singing rookeries in Antarctica, George has captivated audiences and pushed the boundaries of filmmaking for decades.

“It’s a great pleasure to celebrate his extraordinary influence as a director, producer and screenwriter and for helping position the Australian filmmaking community as a global force,” the Chancellor said.

George Miller Honrary Doctorate

Chancellor, Belinda Hutchinson AC, director George Miller and Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Mark Scott AO.    

Dr Miller is one of the most influential directors, producers and screenwriters, responsible for movies that have captured cult followings and shaped the film industry in Australia and Hollywood.

After completing high school in the rural Queensland town of Chinchilla, he studied medicine at the University of New South Wales. He made a one-minute short film for a student competition during his final year and took home first prize. After his successful win, he attended a Film Workshop at the University of Melbourne.

In 1972, after completing his residency at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, Dr Miller began working as a doctor while spending his free time making experimental shorts, which eventually led to the release of his first feature-length film, Mad Max, in 1979.

Mad Max became a global smash hit and one of Australia’s top-grossing films. Its cult following inspired another three films, with its fourth instalment Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) being heralded as one of the greatest action films of all time by both cinemagoers and critics. Fury Road received 10 nominations at the 88th Academy Awards and took home six. The fourth film in the franchise, Furiosa, is currently in production.

It’s a great pleasure to celebrate George's extraordinary influence as a director, producer and screenwriter and for helping position the Australian filmmaking community as a global force.
Chancellor, Belinda Hutchinson AC

Dr Miller’s production company Kennedy Miller Mitchell was responsible for landmark film and television series in the 80s and 90s. In 1983 they released The Dismissal, and in the following years, Bodyline, The Cowra Breakout, Vietnam, Dead Calm, The Year My Voice Broke and The Witches of Eastwick.

In 1992, he directed the medical drama based on a true story, Lorenzo’s Oil. The movie received two nominations at the 65th Academy Awards and a nomination for Best Original Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen at the Writers Guild of America Awards.

George Miller Seymour Centre

Director George Miller was interviewed by journalist Garry Maddox during a post-ceremony 'In Conversation' at the Seymour Centre. Credit: Michael Amendolia/ the University of Sydney. 

Dr Miller’s innovative storytelling extends beyond action films and into live-action, animatronic puppets, motion capture and animation. He is responsible for co-writing and producing Babe, and its sequel, Babe: Pig in the City. The iconic movie was loved by critics, achieved commercial success, and received several Academy Award nominations. Dr Miller went on to direct Happy Feet, which reimagined the digital possibilities of computer animation and earned him an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

In 1996, Dr Miller was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for his services to the Australian film industry and as the founding board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

In 2010, he received an Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Government, and he has been a longstanding Patron of the Australian Film Institute and AACTA. Dr Miller also served as the President of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival.

Faye Couros

Assistant Media and PR Advisor (Central)

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