While studying law at Melbourne University during the 1960s, Finney became involved in the Film Society, Film Festival and filmmaking activity. He was one of the original members of La Mama Company and in 1969 he commissioned, co-directed and appeared in the theatrical production of David Williamson’s The Coming of Stork, which director Tim Burstall filmed in 1970 as Stork.
Finney joined Roadshow Film Distributors in 1971 and brought the movie Stork to Roadshow’s attention. This acquisition led to the formation of Hexagon Productions, the first ongoing joint venture between production and distribution entities in contemporary Australian history, producing such movies as Alvin Purple (1973), Alvin Rides Again (1974), Petersen (1974), End Play (1976) and Eliza Fraser (1976).
During his time with Roadshow Film Distributors, Finney supervised the release of many Australian titles including Mad Max (1979), Breaker Morant (1980), Proof (1991), Romper Stomper (1992), The Piano (1993), Bad Boy Bubby (1994), Muriel’s Wedding (1994), Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (1994), The Castle (1997) and The Man Who Sued God (2001).
He joined Buena Vista International (now Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures) in 1998 as Vice President and Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand and left the Disney Company in April, 2010. Finney served on the Board of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and as a Board Member of the Australian Film Institute. He is currently Chair of the AFI.
In the 2002 Australia Day Honours he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to the Australian Film Industry – particularly in the areas of film distribution and promotion – and was awarded the Maura Fay Award for Services to the Industry at the 2010 Screen Producers of Australia Association conference.
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