Sydney-based Beyond Films will begin selling the Australian crime thriller

The Hard Word at MIFED, replacing London-based Alibi Films as its international sales agent.

Alibi originally signed on to represent the film internationally in mid-2000, over a year before shooting began, largely because of the interest of its then sales chief Hilary Davis. The film, which stars Guy Pearce and Rachel Griffiths, was launched at Cannes this year and did some significant sales, including to Lions Gate for North America and Gaga for Japan.

But the news also broke at that time that Davis was leaving to join Beyond Films as head of sales and acquisitions, remaining based in London. This new deal, signed in the last few days and prompted by changes to Alibi's status as a sales agent, leaves the Australian film in her hands and transfers it to a company that shares its nationality.

"The start of a film's theatrical life is a bad time to lose impetus," says producer Al Clark, who partnered with writer-director Scott Roberts for The Hard Word. "It's a great asset to have the film in the hands of someone who first saw its potential and made the key initial sales. I look forward to continuing the association."

The film has been released in Australia, where it grossed A$3m for Roadshow, Israel and Singapore, and the US release is scheduled for early next year. It was financed by the Film Finance Corporation and Alibi through the Royal Bank of Scotland.