Australia has gained a new breed of financier - Kirkham Management Limited - which aims to coax private investors to plough funds into genre pictures.

Set up by chartered accountant Stephen Kirkham - after spending the last six years planning the move - the outfit aims to fund four pictures annually and cap budgets at A$4.5m.

In the past, raising private cash for film-making in Australia has not always been carried out legally and has often been dependent on people with tax problems wanting to take advantage of the deductions possible via film investment.

Kirkham plans to turn that around and is touting the investment as a business opportunity. He is putting together a 20-strong trained sales force, operating on a commission basis, and has prospectuses for the A$4m mystery murder The Dead Column, to be directed by Christopher Lofven, and the A$1.2m The Underground, to be directed by Adrian Richards-Carle.

"Our pitch is going to be that films are speculative but that no-one ever got rich without taking a risk. A high risk is a high return if it pays off," said Kirkham.

Kirkham claims he has worked closely with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission to get some policies altered which disadvantaged film-makers.