This year's Longford Lyell Lecture was delivered in Canberra on 23 October by iconic Australian producer, Patricia Lovell. In a very entertaining lecture titled, The Long Road to Picnic - the Hazards of Being a Film Producer, Patricia explored what lured her into the challenging world of film production. She spoke of how the work of French filmmakers like Cocteau and Truffaut influenced her adolescence in country New South Wales and ultimately drew her towards the cinematic mastery evident in Picnic at Hanging Rock.
Emerging from her initial work in television and radio, Lovell quickly became one of the most important figures involved in the "renaissance" of the Australian feature film industry from the mid-1970s into the 1980s. During this period she produced Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), Break of Day (1976), Summerfield (1977), Gallipoli (1981) and Monkey Grip (1982). The successful production of these iconic titles in such quick succession has been largely attributed to Lovell's firm but flexible production style.
Lovell's contribution to the Australian film and television industry has been recognised with an MBE in 1978, a Member of the Order of Australia in 1986, Cinema Pioneer of the Year (2002), and an AFI Longford Life Achievement Award in 2004.
The Longford Lyell Lecture pays homage to two of Australia's most successful early film pioneers, Raymond Longford (1878-1959) and his partner Lottie Lyell (1890-1925). Their 1919 silent film The Sentimental Bloke is one of only five of their productions that have survived to the present day. Restored by the NFSA, it continues to be celebrated as one of Australia's best feature films of all time.
Longford Lyell Lecture 2007