Believe Media joins the film community today to grieve the loss of acclaimed Director/DP Jeffrey Darling.
Darling died Sunday while surfing in North Palm Beach in Sydney. He was taken by lifeguards from the ocean unconscious, and paramedics were unable to revive him, according to local media reports. He was 61.
Darling’s intimate and poetic aesthetic crossed between many genres to connect with audiences and tell profound stories. As a filmmaker and friend, Darling’s quiet and thoughtful spirit nurtured compelling portraiture for hundreds of brands and built deep relationships across the industry.
Believe Media CEO Liz Silver commented: “We are devastated by the passing of Jeff Darling. He and his wife are a part of the Believe family and our hearts are broken for Sarah and his children. We filmed hundreds of jobs with him all over the world – it has been a gift to witness his craft and dedication to telling stories that make an impact, but mostly to call him our dear friend.”
“A family-man through and through, Jeff led with a gentle spirit and was beloved by our team and his crews,” continued Executive Producer Marc Benardout. “Jeff and I worked together for more than 15 years – we worked closely to nurture his career and feel the painful loss of a visionary talent and friend who had so much ahead.”
Early in his career Darling established himself as an internationally-acclaimed cinematographer in film, commercials and music video, becoming the youngest person to earn the Australian Film Institute’s Best Achievement in Cinematography for his work on the feature film The Crossing, starring Russell Crowe. He had previously been nominated for this award for Young Einstein, starring Yahoo Serious.
When Darling made the transition to directing he was included in the “Best New Director’s in the World” Showcase at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival. Kodak has recognized his contribution to excellence in Cinematography with three honorary awards: the Kaleidoscope Salute to Music Video Cinematography, the Kodak Vision Award at the 1999 AICP Show New York, and for Excellence in Cinematography at the 2002 AICP Show New York.
His work, for Jaguar and Boeing ,is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Darling directed and shot over 150 commercials for prestigious worldwide brands including Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, GMC, Jose Cuervo, Qantas, Diners Club, Pernod Ricard, Maybelline, Jaguar, Coca-Cola, and BMW. His work attracted over 70 international awards, most recently for Huawei’s “Snapper or Shooter” at the One Show NY in 2017, his contribution to excellence in Cinematography was recognized with three honorary Kodak awards and his work for Jaguar and Boeing are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
“A consummate professional, Jeff was a renowned director whose lensing pushed visual storytelling, charted groundbreaking styles and signature looks that were often imitated,” added Silver. “Jeff was immensely knowledgeable of the technical aspects of filmmaking and was relentless in cinematic exploration. His acumen, innovative drive, and genuine warmth will be enormously missed.”
Darling had recently completed principal photography on the film He Went That Way, a true crime story of a serial killer and his chimpanzee, starring Jacob Elordi and Zachary Quinto and produced by Marc Benardout.
“Admirably considerate of everyone, Jeff leaves a mark on us that’s impossible to sum just in his work as he was a beautiful human. We will miss you, Jeff,” concluded Benardout.
Survivors include his wife, Sarah, and children Imogen, Scout, Cooper and Carson. Reel 360 extends our heartfelt condolences to Jeffrey’s family and friends.