After three years researching maximum security prisons in America and Australia, Hillcoat co-wrote and directed his first feature film, GHOSTS OF THE CIVIL DEAD. The film was nominated for nine Australian Film Institute Awards. His follow up film, released in 1998, TO HAVE & TO HOLD, is set in the jungle of Papua New Guinea and starred Tcheky Karyo and Rachel Griffiths.
Hillcoat's next feature film, THE PROPOSITION, starred Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, John Hurt and Emily Watson. The film is an Australian Western set in remote outback Australia and was released in 2006. It was nominated for twelve Australian Film Institute Awards and won four. It was also nominated for nine IF Awards (The People's Choice Awards) and won four including Best Film. The movie went on to win numerous other international awards.
His next film was THE ROAD, based on Cormac McCarthy's best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. It starred Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and newcomer Kodi Smit McPhee in a post-apocalyptic adventure in which people are pushed to the worst and the best that they are capable of - a future in which a father and his son are sustained by love. Hillcoat received a Golden Lion nomination for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival for his work on THE ROAD.
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John Hillcoat Facts