A vampire filmbacked by Lionsgate, a drama marking Icon's biggest commitment to an Australianfilm, and the first co-production with China are among five Australian films that havesecured financing in the latest round from Film Finance Corporation Australia.

Twinwriter-directors Michael and Peter Spierig, who sold their low-budgetself-financed horror film Undead toLionsgate, have secured backing from the mini-studio for the ecological vampirethriller Daybreakers. The producersare Chris Brown and Todd Fellman, who are based in Australia, and American brothers Sean and BryanFurst. The shoot will start in early 2007.

JonathanShteinman, the Australian producer on the Australian/Chinese/German period filmThe Children of Huang Shi, describesit as the first true government-to-government film co-production with China by any country for decades.

"It is doneas a dog leg rather than a triangle," said Shteinman, referring to thecomplicated deal, which sees Australia use its treaty with Germany and a memorandum of understanding with China.

The film is setin 1937 and goes into production in November in China, with a small shoot also set for Melbourne. Post-production will take place in Australia and Germany.

Icon has takensales rights on the coming-of-age film TheBlack Balloon, which has Toni Collette and model Gemma Ward attached. Thefilm is about two brothers, one of whom is autistic, and is produced byTristram Miall of Strictly Ballroomfame and directed by newcomer Elissa Down.

"It is inthe territory of What's Eating GilbertGrape in that it makes you laugh and cry," said Miall.

The dark teenagethriller Acolytes is being directedby Jon Hewitt and produced by former Pacific Film and Television Commissionchief executive Richard Stewart. It is about three high school kids who seekrevenge on the man who has victimised them.

The fifth filmreceiving funding, September,is the first to emerge from a feature film production initiative introduced byTropfest, the short film festival founded and developed by film-maker JohnPolson. He and veteran Lynda House are producing with Peter Carstairs directing.

"Peter'sfilm is one I am personally very proud to be involved in," said Polson."We have high hopes for the film and its capacity to touch audiences, bothwithin Austraia and internationally."

The FFC also signeda letter of intent to commit financing to David Caesar's love story Prime Mover, produced by Vincent andAnita Sheehan, if other backers came on board.