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Phillip Noyce recognised with AACTA’s Longford Lyell Award

One of Australia’s most prolific directors, Phillip Noyce – whose extensive credits include Newsfront, Dead Calm, Patriot Games, Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Bone Collector, Clear and Present DangerThe Quiet American and The Giver – will be honoured with the Longford Lyell Award at tonight’s AACTA Awards Ceremony.

The Australian Academy’s highest accolade, the Longford Lyell Award recognises an individual who has made “a truly outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australia’s screen environment and culture.”

Speaking to IF, Noyce said it was an honour to join the ranks of those who have won the award previously.

“Particularly Peter Weir, whose work I admire so much; George Miller, who taught me so much; Ken G. Hall, who was one of my mentors in so many ways, and Barry Jones and Phillip Adams, who arguably kickstarted this Australian film revival that we’ve enjoyed since the late ’60s up to the present time.”

Noyce is one of the Australian directors whose trajectory took off in the Australian new wave of the 1970s with films such as Backroads and Newsfront.

He began his career started out making self-funded short films in the late 1960s. He managed the Sydney Filmmakers Co-op for three years before going on to be one of the inaugural students at AFTRS in 1973.

The director lists these beginnings as among his biggest accomplishments.

“Even before John Gorton was convinced by Phillip Adams and Barry Jones to provide government support for a film industry, a group of us started to make short films and were determined that we were going to make features whether we are supported by the government or not – although I’m not sure we could have done it without that government support.”

“We dreamt of making Australian films when no one was doing it.”

Among his other key successes he lists Newsfront,The Dismissal, The Cowra Breakout, and Dead Calm, the film that launched both him and stars Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill in the US.

However, in his view, his most important film is Rabbit Proof Fence – “the film that I’d say I was put on the Earth to share.”

“When we set out to make the film everyone here and abroad told us, ‘You’ll never get financed for an Indigenous story and even if you do, you’re never going to find an audience. They’ve all failed’. And we proved them all wrong,” he says.

“But more importantly… the subject matter touched on questions that had not been asked, but had always been gnawing away at me inside about our relationship with Indigenous Australians. So it answered a lot of questions for me, and I think it asked a lot of questions  and answered [them] – for Australians as well. Hopefully it contributed towards that famous and momentous day when the Prime Minister stood up in Parliament and offered an apology to Indigenous people for the removal of their children.”

Noyce also announced today that Canberra and Los Angeles-based DEMS Entertainment will finance and co-produce his World War II drama Rats of Tobruk, based on the story of his father and the Allied forces who held the Libyan port of Tobruk against the Afrika Corps in 1941.

Written by Jackie Keast, Inside Film

Read the full article at if.com.au

Photo: Phillip Noyce and Everlyn Sampi on the set of Rabbit-Proof Fence (Photo: Moviestore Collection).