New Australian action surf drama Drift is to be filmed in south-west Western Australia and is a passion project for actor Sam Worthington (Avatar) and producers Tim Duffy and Myles Pollard, all of whom are originally from there.

The film’s third producer is Sydney-based Michele Bennett of Chopper fame.

The Western Australian Government is contributing US$1.49m (A$1.5m) in funding and investment to Drift through its film agency ScreenWest and the South West Development Commission.

Australia’s federal film agency Screen Australia also announced today it was investing (an undisclosed sum) in the film, along with writer/director Catriona McKenzie’s long-awaited debut Satellite Boy.

Drift, set in the 1970s, tells the story of two brothers (Worthington and Pollard) in a tough, remote coastal region, struggling to establish a business based on their passion for surfing. Cameras are expected to start rolling mid-year.

There are two directors: Ben Nott, a creative director particularly well known in international advertising, and the film’s scriptwriter Morgan O’Neill. (This Ben Nott should not be confused with the Australian cinematographer of the same name).

Bennett acknowledged that having more than one director on a feature is not the norm: “It is a good methodology for this film because there is a lot of surf and action sequences and Ben is a surfer and action specialist while Morgan will focus more on the narrative drama.”

With Duffy and Nott having been based in the US for about a decade and O’Neill currently working there, Bennett was approached to help carry the load in Australia.

Production company World Wide Mind Films — founded by Duffy, Nott and Pollard — is producing the film for sales agent TF1 and Hopscotch will release the film locally.

Hopscotch is also handling Satellite Boy, while Celluloid Dreams is selling the drama internationally. Television support cannot always be secured for Australian films in advance but national broadcaster ABC TV has signed on.

The producers are David Jowsey and Sue Seeary. Like Jowsey’s recent upcoming film Mad Bastards, Satellite Boy will be filmed in the Kimberley region, in the north of Western Australia. It is about courage, friendship and a small boy who tries to save his home from developers.