Australian government agency: the Film Finance Corporation (FFC) has approved investment in features for the first time since March, when funds for the 2000/2001 year ran dry.
First is Craig Lahiff's Black And White starring Robert Carlyle, based on the true story of injustice done to an Aboriginal man. A rare English-language pre-production pick-up by Swedish agent Svensk Filmindustri, the film is being produced by Helen Leake of Duo Art Productions and Nik Powell of Scala Productions, while the South Australian Film Corporation and private investors are co-financing with the FFC. Newvision is the distributor and Showtime/PMP has pay-TV rights.
The other three titles are all additions to Beyond Films' slate: Richard Franklin's Beyond's Visitors, which sees reality and fantasy blur when a solo yachtswoman gets cabin fever after six months at sea. Franklin is producing the Everett DeRoche script with Jennifer Hadden. Other players in the deal include Canal + France and TF1 International, local distributor Palace Films and, as investors, Showtime/PMP and Film Victoria.
Horseplay, a dark comic thriller about a gambler who tries to influence the outcome of the famous Melbourne Cup horse race, is being produced as a joint venture between Mushroom Pictures and director Stavros Kazantzidis and producer Allanah Zitserman's Screen Artists for Buena Vista International (Australia). Macquarie Film and Showtime/PMP are co-financing with the FFC and the executive producers are Bruno Charlesworth and Mushroom's Martin Fabinyi and Michael Gudinski.
The third Beyond film is Paul Moloney's feature debut Crackerjack, about an epic battle to save a lawn bowls club. The comedy was written by television comedian Mick Molloy and his brother Richard and is being produced by Steve Luby for Roadshow. Lawyer Greg Sitch is the executive producer. Crackerjack has investment from Cinemedia, Macquarie and Showtime, and in what is unusual for the Australian industry, a television pre-sale from Network Ten.