Sydney-based sales agent Arclight Films International and prolific UK production company Spice Factory are to launch an Australian film fund.

The news was revealed by Arclight managing director Gary Hamilton and Spice Factory joint director Michael Cowan on July 31 during the final outing of a two-city road show that has seen them address nearly 200 members of the Australian film industry in the last 10 days.

Details of the fund are still scant and discussions are continuing with potential partners. "We are excited to be jointly developing an innovative Australian-based film fund which will be the first of its kind in Australia," the pair said in a statement released later by Michell Sillar Attorneys, which is structuring the fund.

"Unlike typical film funds, it will not be tax driven. It will provide a revolving gap facility for feature films with international commercial appeal.

"We have pooled our combined local and international expertise in production, financing and sales to create a fund aimed at targeting official co-productions and runaway productions. This is an important development for the Australian film industry as the fund will help grow the Australian production market."

The two companies are currently involved in four co-productions together, one of which has Australia in the mix: director/writer Ann Turner's psychological thriller Irresistible, which last week secured investment from the Film Finance Corporation.

The others named are Merchant Of Venice, starring Al Pacino, director Marek Kanievska's spy thriller A Different Loyalty, starring Sharon Stone and Rupert Everett, and Arclight's biggest budget film yet, Australian writer/director John Duigan's epic romance Head In The Clouds, starring Penelope Cruz.

Spice Factory took an equity stake in Victor Syrmis and Hamilton's Arclight late last year, expanding on a first-look deal Arclight already had for all Spice Factory's output.

Arclight has acquired the rights to about 20 films since it was set up in mid 2002 and recently added an Hong Kong office to its LA and London outposts. Spice Factory holds an interest in UK film fund Movision and has joint ventures in Spain and Italy.