Entertainment Movies Film industry mourns death of Wolf Creek producer David Lightfoot

Film industry mourns death of Wolf Creek producer David Lightfoot

David Lightfoot started his career at the SAFC before founding Ultrafilms in the late 1990s. Photo: ABC
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The Australian film industry is mourning one of its long-time stalwarts, film producer David Lightfoot, who has passed away due to heart issues.

Mr Lightfoot worked in the industry for more than 30 years, with such credits as Bad Boy Bubby, Wolf Creek, Rogue, and The Sound of One Hand Clapping.

He was also first assistant director for Babe and Idiot Box, as well as Spank! and The Quiet Room, among others.

“David’s depth of knowledge was extraordinary,” said Seph McKenna, former Roadshow Films head of productions.

“Those smarts married to that legendary charisma – it was all very formidable.

“When I had a career setback, he called and had such empathy it nearly drove me to tears.”

A start in South Australia

After playing Sheffield Shield cricket for South Australia and serving with the Army, Lightfoot started his career with the SA Film Corporation in 1982 before founding Ultrafilms in the late 1990s.

Ultrafilms co-producer Sabella Sugar said Lightfoot was her close friend for 20 years and a generous mentor “who gave so much and touched so many lives”.

Sugar said she had spoken to him only the night before [Saturday] from Melbourne, where she was stuck due to border closures, to talk about locations for their coming film.

“It’s such a tragedy.”

Lightfoot has more than 80 long-form credits to his name. Others include Japanese Story, Coffin Rock, Bad Blood, Blame, Love is Now, John Doe and Turkey Shoot Reloaded.

He also produced Never Too Late, which reached No.4 at the Australian box office in 2020.

david lightfoot
David Lightfoot with Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke at Cannes Film Festival. Photo: ABC

Etched in history

SAFC chief executive Kate Croser said Lightfoot was not only a “highly accomplished and talented producer, but an important part of SAFC history”.

“We are proud to have shared in his storied career and to have many of his great film productions in the SAFC catalogue,” she said.

“Our thoughts are with David’s family and friends; he will be missed.”

Ultrafilms will continue to operate under Sugar’s direction, and will complete A Faraway Christmas in Lightfoot’s honour.

“I know that David will be watching it from above,” Sugar said.

The SAFC has curated on its website a showcase of Lightfoot’s productions that it supported, with many available to watch on demand.