The Australian Film Finance Corporation (FFC) and local broadcaster SBS are backing the first feature from Aboriginal film-maker Ivan Sen, Beneath Clouds, with commitments from UK sales agent Axiom Films and Australian distributor Dendy Films.
The film, scheduled to start shooting January 15, is about two teenagers - one the daughter of an Aboriginal mother and Irish father and the other a boy doing time in a minimum security prison - who are thrown together on a journey without money or transport.
UK-born Teresa-Jayne Hanlon is producing the film which she describes as an arthouse title with cross-over potential into the youth market. The soundtrack will feature many new young bands and the film will explore what it is like to be young and black and living in Australia. It will be shot in the north-west area of New South Wales where Sen grew up.
The project is the third with an Aboriginal theme to secure investment from the FFC in the last 18 months following Stephen Johnson's recently completed Yolgnu Boy and Phillip Noyce's about-to-start Rabbit-Proof Fence. However it is the first to be written and directed by an Aboriginal person.
Meanwhile, the FFC has also approved investment in The Man Who Sued God, to be directed by Mark Joffe from a script by Don Watson. Icon Entertainment International is handling international sales on the film and Buena Vista will distribute locally. Judy Davis is tipped to star.