Brian Tufano Dies: Veteran ‘Trainspotting’ & ‘Billy Elliot’ Cinematographer Was 83


Brian Tufano, the veteran British cinematographer who lensed films such as Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, and Billy Elliot, has died. He was 83.

Tufano’s agents at McKinney Macartney Management confirmed the news with Deadline. Jon Wardle, Director of the UK’s National Film and Television School, where Tufano was previously a department head, also shared a tribute to the cinematographer on Twitter.

“Very sorry to have to share that Cinematography legend and former @NFTSFilmTV Head of Department Brian Tufano has died,” the Tweet read. “He shot so many amazing films and did so much to champion new talent, in particular female DPs. We loved him and will REALLY miss him.”

Tufano was born in Shepherd’s Bush, West London, in 1939. He first entered the film industry in 1956 as a pageboy at Lime Grove Studios, a former BBC film and TV studio. Tufano later landed a technical apprenticeship at the public broadcaster, where he went on to spend over 20 years as a cinematographer working with directors such as Ken Loach, Ken Russell, and Stephen Frears on TV features.

Tufano’s first feature after the BBC was Jack Gold’s 1978 film The Sailors Return. He went on to enjoy a varied and extensive film career with many popular credits, including Quadrophenia (1979), East is East (1999), and Billy Elliot (2000), for which he was nominated for the Best Cinematography BAFTA. Tufano also picked up a BAFTA TV nomination in 1995 for his work on Anthony Page’s Middlemarch.

However, Tufano is perhaps best known for his work with British filmmaker Danny Boyle. The pair shot four feature films together, including Boyle’s 90s cult favorites Trainspotting and Shallow Grave. Other film credits include Once Upon a Time in the Midlands (2002), Adulthood (2008), Kidulthood (2006), and Everywhere and Nowhere (2011). He also provided additional photography on Ridley Scott’s classic Blade Runner.

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

Tufano had been semi-retired for the last decade. His last feature credit was Gymnast, a documentary that followed the British gymnastics team that went to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

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