Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn and Claudia Karvan have joined Geoffrey Rush and Anthony LaPaglia as the voice cast for the animated film $9.99, the first co-production between Israel and Australia. The project has just started shooting in Sydney.

New York-based director Tatia Rosenthal co-wrote the film with Israeli writer Etgar Keret, based on five of his short stories. It is being produced by Australia 's Emile Sherman of Sherman Pictures and Israel 's Amir Harel of Lama Productions.

Despite Australia 's strong animation industry, $9.99 is believed to be the first feature made in that country using stop-motion techniques and the first animation of any kind made in Australia specifically for adults.

It plays with questions about the meaning of life and tells the intertwining stories of a group of disparate characters living in an inner-city apartment block.

The film is financed by the government agencies Film Finance Corporation Australia, the New South Wales Film and Television Office, and the Israel Film Fund. The Israeli film financing fund Crossfield has also contributed.

Fortissimo will be handling international sales on $9.99 and Dendy Films is distributing in Australia and New Zealand.

A treaty has existed between Australia and Israel for more than a decade but this is the first time it has been used. Treaties, or memorandums of understanding, also exist with France, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the UK and Northern Ireland, and New Zealand.

Another stop-motion animated film for adults, Mary and Max, goes into production later this year in Melbourne. It is the debut feature for Adam Elliot, who won an Academy Award for his short film Harvie Krumpet.