Sydney Samuelson

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G. B. Samuelson
Born 7 December 1925
Occupation Producer
Children Peter Samuelson
Parent(s) G. B. Samuelson

Sir Sydney Wylie Samuelson CBE (born 7 December 1925) was appointed in 1991 by the government of the UK as the first British Film Commissioner.[1]

Early life

Sydney Wylie Samuelson was born on 7 December 1925. His father, G. B. Samuelson, was a cinema pioneer of the silent film era.


Samuelson started his career as a rewind boy at the Luxor cinema in Lancing, West Sussex. After working in several cinemas in the Midlands as a relief operator for the ABC circuit, he got a job as a trainee film editor with Gaumont British, which was then at Lime Grove in London.

After serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II[2], he got a job as a trainee cameraman with the Colonial Film Unit. In 1954 he set up Samuelson Film Service, hiring out film equipment. He went on to become the first British Film Commissioner and remained in the post for six years. He was chosen as chairman of the Management board of BAFTA in 1976 and is a permanent trustee.

In 1985 he received the Michael Balcon Award and in 1993 a Fellowship of BAFTA, the Academy’s highest honour. In 1995 he received a knighthood from Charles, Prince of Wales, awarded by Elizabeth II for services to the British Film Commission.

Samuelson is featured in the book Conversations with Cinematographers by David A Ellis, published by the American publisher Scarecrow Press. He wrote a foreword for the book In Conversation with Cinematographers (Rowman and Littlefield) by David A Ellis. He was the first President of the UK Jewish Film Festival. He remained in the role until 2005, and as of 2010 is currently the UKJFF Honorary Lifetime Patron


  1. ^ BFI
  2. ^ "Sir Sydney Samuelson CBE - British Cinematographer". British Cinematographer. 3 May 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2018.

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