Rebel Wilson.

Rebel Wilson is set to receive the inaugural Screen NSW Annette Kellerman Award.

Kellerman was born in Marrickville, Sydney in 1887, learning to swim as a teen in order to regain the use of her legs, having suffered from rickets. 

She became an endurance swimmer and diver, then became a vaudeville star before embarking on a career in Hollywood, where she starred in The Mermaid (1911), A Daughter of the Gods (1916), Queen of the Sea (1918) and Venus of the South Sea (1924). 

Esther Williams portrayed Kellerman in the biopic Million Dollar Mermaid in 1952. Kellerman died in 1975, aged 89.

The new award will be presented annually by Screen NSW, in a partnership with Australians In Films and Vogue Australia, to "a screen industry figure who has been a pioneering role model for Australian women."

“Rebel Wilson's blazed her own unique trail in Hollywood and  like Annette Kellerman before her  she's a complete original; a superstar without peer," said Screen NSW CEO Courtney Gibson. 

"As an Australian woman doing it her way in Hollywood, there's no more perfect inaugural winner of the Screen NSW Annette Kellerman award than Rebel.” 

The award will be presented to Wilson in LA on October 19 at the 2016 AiF Awards and Benefit Dinner, hosted by Tim Minchin. Also set to be honoured are directors James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring) and Ridley Scott (Alien: Covenant) and film executive Greg Basser.

Village Roadshow Entertainment Group CEO Greg Basser joined Village Roadshow in 1999, after starting his career as lead legal counsel for VRL in Melbourne.  

In 1997 he was instrumental in the establishment of Village Roadshow Pictures and in 2011 he founded Village Roadshow Pictures Asia, VREG’s Chinese film production division based in Beijing.

Basser, Wan and Scott join previously announced Foxtel Breakthrough Award recipients Jai Courtney (Suicide Squad) and director Garth Davis (Lion, Top of the Lake).

President of Australians in Film Kate Marks praised Wan as "an extraordinary screen visionary" whose work "continually pushes the boundaries of big screen entertainment", and called Scott "a master of contemporary cinema."

"Alien: Covenant injected millions into the Australian economy and reinforced Australia's position as a leading country in which to produce big budget feature films,” Marks said.

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