Omnilab is Australia's largest privately-owned group of service companies and has been promising to enter Australian feature film production for some time. It is one of the financing partners in The Bank Job which Roger Donaldson has been directing in the UK.
Among the FFC-backed projects, Omnilab is handling sales on the horror film Dying Breed in association with Arclight Films and has partnered with Hoyts on local distribution. The production company, Ambience Entertainment, is in the Omnilab stable and Omnilab's key executives are the production executives on the film.
Omnilab is also working with Goalpost Film on sales and with Palace on the distribution of Elise, a drama to star songbird Natalie Imbruglia (Johnny English). Elise is adapted from Georgia Blain's novel Closed For Winter.
The other two films backed by the FFC this week are the crime thriller How To Change In 9 Weeks and a love story set among the huge trucks that rumble through Australia 's outback, Prime Mover. In How to Change In 9 Weeks, Sam Neill plays a computer analyst in a missing persons unit trying to help two distraught parents, played by Guy Pearce and Miranda Otto. Emily Barclay is to star in Prime Mover, which is yet to cast the key role.
The FFC also backed the 90-minute documentary Not Quite Hollywood, which will look at 1970s Australian genre films such as Alvin Purple and The Man From Hong Kong. It also signalled its intention to back two films, Rachel Ward's directorial debut Beautiful Kate and To Hell And Bourke, providing various conditions are met.
These commitments by the FFC are the last until the government refills its coffers on July 1. The FFC has supported $213m worth of television drama, documentary and features, in the financial year ending on June 30 2007. It put up 37% of the total cost, the smallest proportion in its 18-year history.
Ambience Entertainment Pty Ltd
Executive Producers: Christopher Mapp, Matthew Street, David Whealy
Producer: Michael Boughen
Director: Jody Dwyer
Writers: Michael Boughen, Rod Morris
Sales and distribution: Omnilab/Hoyts, Arclight/Omnilab, Gussi, Imagem.
Synopsis: Dying Breed's roots are in our bloody convict past. Four young travellers unearth a grisly mystery which will change their lives forever.
Producer: Ben Grant
Director/Writer: James Bogle
Sales and Distribution: Goalpost Film/Omnilab Media Group, Indies Entertainment Group, LNK Audiovisuals SA, Palace Films/Omnilab Media Group
Synopsis: At the beach one summer day a little girl goes missing. Twenty years on her sister finds the courage to rearrange to pieces of her broken life... and invent a new beginning.
HOW TO CHANGE IN 9 WEEKS
Liberty Films International Pty Ltd
Executive Producers: Catriona Hughes, Leesa Kahn, John Keating, Andy MacIntyre, Penny Wolf
Producers: Tony Cavanaugh, Thom Mount
Co-producer: Maureen Barron
Line producer: Barbara Gibbs
Director/writer: Simone North
Sales and Distribution: Icon Films, Reliant Pictures International
Synopsis: It's what every parent fears: their child not coming home when they're meant to. On the evening of March 1, 1999, Rachel Barber, a fifteen year old student, doesn't climb off the tram to meet her dad, Mike. Elizabeth, her mother, and Mike bolt into action.
Producer: Vincent Sheehan
Director/writer: David Caesar
Sales and Distribution: Dendy Films, Becker International
Synopsis: A diesel-charged love story about ambition, pressure, responsibility and the love shared by a man, a woman and his truck.
NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD
City Films Worldwide Pty Ltd
Executive Producer: Bruno Charlesworth
Producers: Craig Griffin, Michael Lynch
Director: Mark Hartley
Sales and Distribution: Madman, SBS, HDNet, Magnolia Pictures, Optimum Releasing
Synopsis: The wild, wonderful, untold story of 'Ozploitation' cinema - that is, Australian genre cinema of the 70s and 80s. A time when the Aussie film industry got its gear off and showed the world a full-frontal explosion of sex, violence, horror and foot-to-the-floor, full bore action!
LETTERS OF INTENT:
New Town Films
Producers: Leah Churchill-Brown, Bryan Brown
Director/writer: Rachel Ward
Sales and Distribution: Roadshow, Showtime
Synopsis: A man revisits his isolated childhood home to farewell his dying father but tender memories of his beautiful twin sister haunt his return.
TO HELL AND BOURKE
Media World Pictures Pty Ltd
Executive Producer: Colin South
Producer: Ross Hutchens
Director/writer: Richard Frankland
Sales and Distribution: SBSi, Palace Films
Synopsis: Two blackfellas, an Italian rock god, a possessed dog, a transvestite cousin, his/her broken hearted lover, a wedding, a funeral, a sacred stone, a sensitive new age copy, a couple of thousand kilometres, and one hundred and eighty seven pre-rolled joints. Would you get in a car with them'