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Beresford, Leigh among Screen Australia recipients

Sleeping Beauty director Julia Leigh, veteran Bruce Beresford and Kriv Stenders, who made last year’s local box office hit Red Dog, have all scored development dollars from Screen Australia for new films.

Altogether the agency has put $398,500 (A$400,000) into 16 features in its latest funding round. Ten of these 16 have not sought and received development financing previously.

Leigh is adapting one of her novels, Disquiet, whereas her debut film, Sleeping Beauty, which was in competition in Cannes last year, was an original script but also penned by her.

News of Screen Australia’s continued support for Leigh’s film work – they invested in Sleeping Beauty – coincides with her winning the category for best director of a feature film at the Australian Directors Guild Awards on Friday night. Her other novel, The Hunter, has already been made into a feature starring Willem Dafoe.

Bruce Beresford’s Banjo & Matilda is an action romance inspired by the circumstances around the writing of one of Australia’s best-known folk songs, Waltzing Matilda.

One of the characters in the film, set during the clashes between sheep shearers and landowners in the 1890s, is legendary bush poet Banjo Patterson, who wrote the words to Waltzing Matilda. The film is being written by David Roach and produced by Bill Leimbach, who last paired up on Beneath Hill 60.

The Kriv Stenders film, described as “a musical extravaganza set to the music of Kylie Minogue”, sees former Film Finance Corporation chief executive Catriona Hughes back in the chair as a producer for the first time since the 2006 films Kokoda. The lead character in the planned film dreams of being a synchronised swimming champion.

“There’s a general acknowledgement from the marketplace that our filmmakers have raised the bar and I think the next wave of films in the coming years will be really interesting,” said Screen Australia head of development Martha Coleman.

Among the other directors are Jonathan Teplitzky, who is currently directing The Railway Man in the UK, Nash Edgerton, who is developing a film with his brother, the actor Joel Edgerton. The list also includes a sequel to the US film Nim’s Island.

The full list of films are as follows:

Alex And Eve: romantic comedy, producer Murray Fahey, executive producer Bill Kritharas, writer Alex Lykos, co-writer Geoffrey Atherden, director Peter Andrikidis.

Backtrack: thriller, producer Jamie Hilton, writer/director Michael Petroni.

Banjo & Matilda: action romance, producer Bill Leimbach, writer David Roach, director Bruce Beresford.

Byzantium: drama, producer Melanie Coombs, writer/director Cris Jones.

Choir Of Hard Knocks: drama, producer Marian Macgowan, executive producer Jason Stephens, writer Pip Karmel, director Jonathan Teplitzky.

Chronical: science fiction, producer Lisa Shaunessy, executive producer Michael Rymer, co-producer James Whitlam, writer/director Seth Larney.

Disquiet: psychological horror, writer/director Julia Leigh.

The Glass Blower: drama, producer Paul Sullivan, writer/director Denie Pentecost.

Joe Cinque’s Consolation: crime drama, producer Sue Murray, writers Matt Rubinstein, Sotiris Dounoukos, director Sotiris Dounoukos.

Koala Blue: comedy, writer Duncan Kennedy.

A Murder Of Crows: crime, producers Murray Pope, Michael Robertson, writers Shayne Armstrong, Shane Krause, director Nick Robertson.

Nim’s Island: The Return Of The Pirates: family, producers Chris Brown, Tom Hoffie, writer Ray Boseley, director Brendan Maher.

The Post Office: romantic comedy, producers Angie Fielder, Polly Staniford, writers Emma Vuletic, Justine Flynn.

Synchronicity: musical, producers Leesa Kahn, Catriona Hughes, executive producer Greg Coote, writer Marissa Goodhill, director Kriv Stenders..

Untitled: black comedy, producer Matthew Reeder, executive producer Greg McLean, writer/director Abe Forsythe.

Untitled: drama, producer Nash Edgerton, writers Nash Edgerton, Joel Edgerton, director Nash Edgerton.

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