Clark Film Services
commenced operations in 1974.
The original service
provided was the sourcing and preparation of specialized vehicles for the
carrying of on set props whether it be horse drawn vehicles, motor vehicles,
livestock or whatever else was needed on the film set.
Originally hired by
the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) Drama Dept at the old Artransa
Studios at Frenchs Forest in Sydney as a contractor, the first challenge was
the transport of horses on the series ‘Ben Hall’, a successful 13 episode drama
based on the life of the notorious bushranger of the same name. The main set of
the town was accessed by a very rough track near Oxford Falls in Sydney with
another often utilized location in the Megalong Valley in the Blue Mountains.
This created a number of logistical challenges ranging from maintenance of the
vehicles due to the rough track, maintenance of the track, the removal of
bogged trucks in wet conditions and the travelling to Megalong Valley and back
with the livestock.
This success of the
‘Ben Hall’ series soon saw a new Australian saga ‘Rush ’approved for
production. ’Rush’ used much the same locations as ‘Ben Hall’ and so
encountered much the same logistical problems.
Then for something
totally different the ABC commissioned a new series based on a man and his
grandson travelling around Outback Australia in that 1960’s icon, an EH Holden
ute. Here was a new challenge. EH ute’s were over 10 years old by this time and
with the budget provided by the art dept we could not afford the best
available. The star ute had many stunt scenes written for it and so it was
agreed we should have a back up, just in case. Sound thinking! By the end of
the series it took several EH’s and at times necessitated all night repairs by
the Clark Film Services Team to have the vehicle back on the set 6am the
following morning in undamaged condition.
The ABC did a number
of series in co-production with Portman Productions of the UK and these covered
a wide range of subjects from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Sid Caesar and
Juliette Mills) to Outback adventures at Lightening Ridge (John Meillon).
Services provided by Clark Film Services ranged from logistics to special
effects (SFX) to preparation of vehicles for stunts. It was during this time
Clark Film Services gained valuable knowledge in heavy vehicle stunts.
In the late 1970’s
with the severe budget cutbacks in the ABC, Clark Film Services expanded its
services to include Feature Films. The first of these was ‘The Irishman’
produced by Anthony Buckley (Caddie) and directed by Donald Crombie (also
The job was procured at short notice and the
first challenge was to move the entire production office, catering, wardrobe
dept, make up dept, props dept and a considerable number of very large
Clydesdale horses to Charters Towers in Queensland. The trucks we had in those
days were not the luxury reliable vehicles we use today and also the newest of
them were coming close to their 10th birthday. The Bruce Highway
also was a highway in name only. Never the less, with a bit of planning and a
back up vehicle, all vehicles and livestock made the journey with only a few
From this time on
Clark Film Services were instrumental in the logistics planning and management
of dozens of location feature films specializing in Outback and difficult
In another area of
expertise, for the film ‘The Earthling’ producer Elliot Schick (Deer Hunter)
director Peter Collison (The Italian Job) starring William Holden, Clark Film
Services had to build a complete town including catering kitchens to house over
100 cast and crew. The servicing of this town including power, gas, fuel for
vehicles and daily deliveries etc was also under the management of Clark Film