Australian distributor Palace Films has picked up local rights to Australian title Dope, a privately-financed project from first-time writer-director J Harkness which is currently in pre-production.

The cross-cultural love story cranks up in Adelaide on August 21 with Harkness and Mark Patterson producing. Adelaide-based Guerilla Films is the production company. The South Australian Film Corporation assisted the project's development.

The film is one of three currently in production in Australia that have achieved the rare feat of fully meeting their budgets from private sources. The other two are thriller The Finder, directed by Frank Shields and starring Simon Westaway and Paul Mercurio, which has just wrapped, and comedy Willfull, directed by Rebel Penfold-Russell, which is currently in post-production.

Beyond Films has signed on as international agent for The Finder. Willfull has no distribution or sales agent attached.