Fortissimo Film Sales has picked up world rights to More Than Scarlet, an Australian drama from the stable of Jan Chapman, producer of Lantana and The Piano.

The company is also poised to pick up two other Aussie pictures in moves that underline its growing influence in the English-language sector.

The Hong Kong and Netherlands-based company has long been considered as specialised in discovering and representing Asian films and festival-quality directorial talent.

"This is all about becoming a sales company capable of representing films and talent from sources around the globe," said Fortissimo co-chief Michael J Werner. "Our intention to step up a level is also demonstrated by our growing ability to invest in and take executive producer positions on films." Earlier this year Fortissimo put in place a new banking arrangement with the UK's number two bank Royal Bank Of Scotland.

Directed by Cate Shortland, More Than Scarlet traces an adolescent girl's discovery of the difference between sex and love. Backed by Showtime, the FFC and the New South Wales Film & Television Office it will be released in Australia by Hopscotch.

Fortissimo is now in advanced negotiations to pick up The Critic, a drama by the La Spagnola team of director Steve Jacobs and writer Anna-Maria Monticelli, and drama Life Story, directed by the experienced Sarah Watt and produced by Bridget Ikin.

In recent months Fortissimo has boarded films from other English-language territories including, Mysterious Skin by Gregg Araki from the US, South Africa's The Wooden Camera by Ntshavheni Wa Luruli and from the UK 16 Years Of Alcohol by Richard Jobson.