A film fund aimed at raising $26.4m (A$30m) for the production of Australian films has been formed, with the first beneficiary being Andrew Lancaster's debut film Accidents Happen, starring American actress Geena Davis (Thelma & Louise).

Accidents Happen was one of five films which yesterday won investment from the Film Finance Corporation (FFC) board. A further eight features received letters of intent (see below).

The Abacus Film Fund, which will act like a unit trust, is a joint venture between producer Heather Ogilvie and corporate advisory firm, BG Capital Corporation. The intention is to invest as much as 30 percent in films with budgets up to $10m. The structure aims to reduce the risk for investors and one of the ways is by securing investment against the sale of Australian and overseas distribution rights.

BG Capital co-founder and director Graham Buckeridge said the introduction of Australia's new 40 percent rebate gives the film industry some chance of becoming a legitimate investment class. 'It is a very well established system in the UK and Europe,' he said.

The rebate is paid to the producer on the cost of making Australian films in Australia but funds such as Abacus will be able to negotiate a cut of the rebate for their investors, and earn money from the interest earned on cashflowing.

Producers have to spend at least A$1 million in Australia to claim the new rebate, which has been in place since June 1. Setting up a separate entity, Abacus Financing, to bankroll films it does not invest in, is also being considered.

Buckeridge has been a shareholder of Ogilvie's production company Nice Pictures for seven years and was a minor investor in the recently completed Hey, Hey It's Esther Blueburger, which she executive produced.

Accidents Happen, the directorial debut of Andrew Lancaster, is a very unusual Australian film in that the mostly Australian cast will speak in American accents.

This is because the darkly comic coming-of-age tale about an accident-prone boy is based on the childhood of US-born scriptwriter Brian Carbee, who has lived in Australia for a decade.

The original plan was to make the film in New England, where it is set, but it will now be filmed entirely in Sydney.

The FFC has only one more board meeting before it, the Australian Film Commission and Film Australia, is dismantled to make way for the new superagency, Screen Australia.

Feature Films

Financed through Marketplace

Southern Light Films Pty Ltd
Producers Tim White, Greg Brenman
Director Scott Hicks
Writer Allan Cubitt
Sales and Distribution Hopscotch, BBC Films, Capitol Films, Miramax Films
Synopsis Based on the book by UK sports writer, Simon Carr.

Pictures in Paradise, Dan FIlms
Producers Chris Brown, Jason Newmark
Director/writer Christopher Smith
Sales and Distribution Icon
Synopsis Triangle is a psychological thriller set inside the Bermuda Triangle.

Financed through Evaluation

Red Carpet Productions Pty Ltd
Executive producer Heather Ogilvie
Producer Anthony Anderson
Director Andrew Lancaster
Brian Carbee
Sales and Distribution Hopscotch/Galvanised, Bankside
Synopsis 15 year old Billy Conway has been an accident magnet since he was a kid. When he and his best friend cause an almighty crash with a bowling ball and a moving car, Billy must face up to his family's history and learn that sometimes someone is to blame and that sometimes... well... accidents just happen.

Beautiful Kate Productions Pty Ltd
Producers Leah Churchill-Brown, Bryan Brown
Director/writer Rachel Ward
Sales and Distribution Roadshow, The Works
Synopsis Ned Kendall returns to his isolated family home to say goodbye to his dying father, but memories of his beautiful sister awaken long buried secrets from the past.

Porchlight Films Pty Ltd
Producers Vincent Sheehan
Director/writer David Caeser
Sales and Distribution Dendy, Becker International Films
Synopsis Prime Mover is a diesel charged love story about ambition, pressure, responsibility and the love shared by a man, a woman and his truck.

Letters of Intent through Evaluation

Zizani Films
Executive producers Al Clark, Marian Macgowan
Producer Andrena Finlay
Director Ana Kokkinos

Writers Andrew Bovell, Melissa Reeves, Patricia Cornelius, Christos Tsiolkas
Sales and Distribution TBC
Synopsis Blessed is a film about mothers and children, about love and beauty, about being lost and finding your way home.

Robyn Kershaw Productions and Mayfan Pty Ltd
Producers Robyn Kershaw, Graeme Issac
Director Rachel Perkins

Writers Rachel Perkins, Reg Cribb
Sales and Distribution Omnilab, Bankside
Synopsis Bran Nue Dae is a road movie, coming of age, comedy musical which celebrates the adventure of finding home.

CANE TOADS (feature documentary)
Radio Pictures
Producer/director/writer Mark Lewis
Sales and Distribution Participant, Madman
Synopsis Cane Toads is a theatrical documentary that returns to the subject filmed by Mark Lewis 20 years ago. It recaps the history of this ecological disaster and brings us up-to-date with the cane toad's ongoing conquest of mainland Australia.

Princess Pictures
Executive producer Joel Pearlman
Producers Laura Waters, Janine Gold, Greg Sitch
Director/writer Hernan Bornas
Sales and Distribution Roadshow Films
Synopsis For every action there are endless reactions. Izzy Noble is a lonely, eccentric outsider. He avoids reality at all costs by retreating into his encyclopaedic mind and a constant monologue with himself. A series of life threatening events test Izzy's nobility and his courage to find love in the real world.

Talk Films
Producers Nicholas Cole, Antonia Barnard
Director Glendyn Ivin
Writer Mac Gudgeon
Sales and Distribution Madman
Synopsis The Last Ride is a powerful contemporary exploration of a child's dilemma - the choice between doing what his heart knows is right and the need to be loved by a dysfunctional father.

Production company
Producer Mark Lazarus
Director/writer Sean Byrne
Sales and Distribution Madman
Synopsis The Loved Ones tells the story of a young man digging himself out of his own grave.

All At Once
Producer Melissa Beauford
Director/writer Kieran Galvin
Sales and Distribution Maximum Films
Synopsis A young man who is impossible to live with must find a way to live with himself.

Fandango Australia
Executive producer Domenico Procacci
Producer Sue Murray
Producer/director/writer Richard Lowenstein
Sales and Distribution Fandango srl
Synopsis A story of a social revolution set within the microcosm of a experimental school in Melbourne at the beginning of the 1970s.