Australian writer/director David Caesar (Dirty Deeds) has started production on Prime Mover, starring Michael Dorman and New Zealand's Emily Barclay.

Prime mover is a term used in Australia for the huge semi-trailer trucks that thunder along outback roads. The film is billed as a diesel-charged love story about a young man, his woman and one of these trucks.

Dorman and Barclay, who play the couple in question, starred opposite each other in Suburban Mayhem, which played in Un Certain Regard in 2006, earned more Australian Film Institute Award nominations than any other film that year, and won Barclay best actress.

Also in the cast of Prime Mover is William McInnes (Look Both Ways), Anthony Hayes (Look Both Ways) and Ben Mendelsohn, who has appeared in two other Caesar films, Mullet and Idiot Box.

The film, which is shooting in Dubbo, four hours drive west of Sydney, is produced by Vincent Sheehan under his Porchlight Films banner. It will be one of the first Australian films to be released locally by Richard Payten and Andrew Mackie's new distribution entity Transmission Films. Icon International is handling worldwide sales due to its purchase of Becker International.

The film was financed by the Film Finance Corporation, the New South Wales Film and Television Office and private investors.

Australia's producer offset was integral to raising the budget and the cash flow for this offset was arranged through James Vernon's Media Funds Management. This new financing system is still being bedded down: Vernon described the deal as 'one of the most difficult financing transactions I have been involved in'.

'We believe the Australian government honestly set out to fully assist the film and television industries with this legislation but, as it turned out, they could not have built a better funding trap to confound us all,' he said. Now he has sorted out these teething problems he can see a bright future, however.