Dendy chiefs Andrew Mackie and Richard Payten areparticularly pleased that Mike Leigh's VeraDrake is among the three films they have just picked up for Australia andNew Zealand.

This is because it will be the fourth film they have handledfor the UK writer/director under various distribution guises. They fought offvigorous competition for the title, which they saw at the London Screenings,and with Imelda Staunton's performance already being much talked about, thelikely release date will be around Oscar time.

Dendy also boosted Canal Plus's revenues with theacquisition of French comedy Comme UneImage, which won director Agnes Jaoui and co-writer Jean-Pierre Bacri thebest screenplay award at Cannes. Dendy, which has a sister cinema arm, has notreleased many subtitled films of late.

The third pick-up for the Sydney-based distributor waswriter/director Jonathan Caouette's 'autobiopic' Tarnation, reputedly the first feature-length film edited entirelyon iMovie, although the US$200 price tag rose somewhat after Gus Van Sant andJohn Cameron Mitchell came on board as executive producers.

The film, which premiered at Sundance this year, is aboutCaouette's dysfunctional family, including his one-time fashion model mother,and his own childhood spent in and out of foster homes.