Flame Media founder John Caldon passes away at 73

John Caldon, chairman and CEO of Australia-headquartered Flame Media, has passed away at the age of 73. Caldon, who co-founded the content company with life and business partner and creative director ...
February 19, 2021

John Caldon, chairman and CEO of Australia-headquartered Flame Media, has passed away at the age of 73.

Caldon, who co-founded the content company with life and business partner and creative director of Flame Media, Lyndey Milan, died on Tuesday (February 16), after an 11-month battle with cancer.

The British-born businessman emigrated to Australia in 1973, and after founding Flame Media, he and Milan split their time between Australia and the UK, where they had established a second office for the company.

The duo founded the multi-tiered company in 2010, establishing production, distribution and advisory divisions. Caldon’s first foray into filmed content was Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece, for which he was the archaeological adviser as well as executive producer.

Until his cancer diagnosis in April of 2020, Flame Media was comprised of Flame Productions in Australia, Wildflame Productions in the UK and Flame Media GmbH in Germany; and Flame Corporate, which advised the media industry on funding, government assistance, mergers and acquisitions.

The company now includes Flame Distribution, which specializes in high-end factual/documentary content, with 4,000 hours of programming in its roster; Flame Stock, a stock footage arm; the Flame Co-production Alliance, which fosters international coproductions between producers who have worked with Flame and an in-house development team that partners with producers to attract commissions for projects; and multi-genre facility Flame Studio Sydney.

Prior to forming Flame Media, Caldon had served as a founder and deputy CEO of Macquarie Bank, a partner in Price Waterhouse, and Chairman of ARTC (Australian Rail Track Corporation).

Among the tributes to the late Flame Media co-founder, Fiona Gilroy, content sales and acquisitions director for Flame Distribution said in a statement: “John was a truly wonderful person, with a warm heart, and incredible mind. He loved the people and places he interacted with, always curious and enamoured of life. He was well-respected across the TV industry and was extremely focused on bringing out the best in everyone. He will be sorely missed.”

“John was a great man, a wonderful intellect, who inspired everyone who crossed his path,” said Dawn McCarthy-Simpson MBE, managing director of business development and global strategy for UK production trade organization Pact. “His passion was infectious, a natural storyteller and entrepreneur combined which made him one of the great souls of this world that leaves an ever-lasting imprint on this world.”

“John was a truly unique person,” offered Brad Danks, chief executive officer, OUTtv Network Inc. and OMG Media Group, Inc. “A Renaissance Man with a deep and broad intellect that he deftly combined with a generous and warm soul. His passing is a loss to all that knew him.”

Colette Beaudry, managing director of SeaLight Pictures, said: “John was a gift to factual content creators everywhere — a master of the business world who inspired and supported new ideas with generosity, kindness, insight and respect. He was a joyful gentleman, tireless and even tempered, capable and visionary. And with Flame, he was just getting started. John’s passing comes far too soon for all of us who knew him.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.