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AACTA gong for Al

Veteran producer Al Clark, whose career credits include The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Chopper, will receive one of the Australian film industry's biggest accolades - the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts' Raymond Longford Award.

Over more than 30 years in the industry, Clark has worked as executive producer on 19 feature films, starring the likes of Russell Crowe (including The Crossing, Crowe's his first movie role), Red Hill (with True Blood star Ryan Kwanten) and John Polson (on his directorial debut Siam Sunset). Well known as a mentor, Clark has also helped launch the international careers of Lizzie Clark (who won an Oscar for costume design on Priscilla), Andrew Dominik and Eric Bana (Chopper) and Guy Pearce (Priscilla). ''With a love of films that always transcends the frustrations of getting them made, I've tried to choose distinctive projects, to navigate them soundly and to find gifted people to work with and to bring out the best in them,'' Clark said on hearing he would receive the award.

The award, named in honour of the prolific Australian director, writer, producer and actor of the silent era, behind films including The Sentimental Bloke, will be presented to Clark in January.

Billion-dollar Bond

The latest film in the Bond franchise, Skyfall, has helped movie studio Sony reach record profits. After posting seven straight quarterly losses, the Japanese conglomerate's film division has surpassed its $US4 billion worldwide benchmark, beating its previous global theatrical record of $US3.6 billion set in 2009, reports Variety. Skyfall, a co-production between Sony, MGM and Eon Productions - has become the highest-grossing Bond instalment to date, already grossing $US699.2 million globally, $100 million more than 2006's Casino Royale. The film looks set to become Sony's biggest release this year.

Going to Goa

A delegation of Australian producers, led by the Screen Producers Association of Australia, is in India this week for the Goa Film Bazaar. The trip is aimed at developing new partnerships and reinforcing existing relationships in what is now Australia's third biggest export market. Taking place alongside the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), the Goa market is a significant event on the South Asian film calendar, where 635 delegates from 40 countries buy, sell, exhibit and pitch their content. Screen Australia marketing chief Kathleen Drumm will present a session with producers Lauren Edwards and Robyn Kershaw on doing business with Australia, discussing The Sapphires and Save Your Legs! (above, which was shot in Melbourne and Kolkata, Varanasi and Mumbai).



Star-studded schlock

The final cast has been announced for a reworking of 1978 cult Australian horror film Patrick. Starring Oscar nominee Rachel Griffiths (Hilary and Jackie, Six Feet Under, Muriel's Wedding), Sharni Vinson (Step Up, Bait) and Charles Dance (Game of Thrones, Gosford Park, Alien 3), production of the film has started at Melbourne's Docklands Studios.

The screenplay has been reworked by Justin King to feature modern surveillance technology and social media. Industry veteran Antony I. Ginnane will oversee production, with Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood) to direct.