Emma Slade, Steve Kearney, Briget Callow-Wright heading for the UK’s Production Finance Market.

Sales agents from across the world yesterday voted New Zealand’s Emma Slade as the producer at the 37º South Market who most deserves a spot at the UK’s Production Finance Market (PFM) in October, plus $1,860 (A$2,000) in travel assistance.

Runner-ups Steve Kearney and Bridget Callow-Wright from Australia also won places – but no cash.

Organizers said 2,203 meetings were held as part of the eighth edition of the co-financing film market, which is part of the business arm of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).

Slade will be seeking a sales agent for The Love Of Humankind, the lead project in her slate, during her visit to London.

The “vodka-fuelled tragicomedy about unrequited love” is to be directed by comedian Danny Mulheron (Fresh Meat) from a script by he and Brian Sergent.

Based on a stage play, her one-liner reads: “A birthday party brings together four brilliant alcoholics, a suffocated stripper, jealousy, betrayal and a dead budgie for an unforgettable night they will never remember”.

“It’s a huge confidence boost to hear that the project measures up well against the rest,” Slade told ScreenDaily. “It’s about people on the fringe who are intelligent and very funny.”

Hannah & Rebecca

Slade was also pitching Hannah & Rebecca, an Australian/New Zealand co-production to be directed by Vincent Ward (Map Of The Human Heart) from a script by he and Louis Nowra.

The adventure story set in the 1900s sees two young girls saved by Tasmanian tigers after they become lost in the wild.

It is likely to be filmed in both countries and Su Armstrong and former Film Finance Corporation chief executive Brian Rosen are the Australian producers.

A former school teacher, Slade once worked for Discovery Networks Europe in the UK and also the BBC and Action Time. She also has projects with producer Barrie Osmond and director Ray Lawrence.

The Insect King

Callow has already signed 108 Media Corp as sales agent for her lead project, The Insect King, an adult fairytale aimed at 35+ females from writer/director Priscilla Cameron.

It is about a 13-year-old boy who falls for a glamorous older woman (Melissa George), only to discover that he is in competition with his own father (Taika Waititi). Sophie Lowe is also attached.

The film has been through the Binger Filmlab and Berlinale’s Talent Project Market. Callow previously produced Bitter & Twisted.

Speed King

Kearney was pitching Speed King, a biopic he described as being about “UK playboy and speed king Donald Campbell and the events around his 1964 attempt at the land-speed record on Lake Eyre in 1964”.

It will be directed by Jeremy Sims, who wrote the script with Reg Cribb – this is the same arrangement they have on Last Cab to Darwin, which is currently in post-production.

Kearney said he campaigned heavily for the prize because he needs to get a UK co-production partner.

Kearney’s credits as a producer include My Mistress, which premieres at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 10 days, and Oddball, which is in post-production, stars Shane Jacobson and is the directorial debut of Stuart McDonald.

37º South Market

Mark Woods runs the MIFF 37º South Market and also the MIFF Premiere Fund, which invests in content.

Cut Snake, Electric Boogaloo, The Legend Maker, My Mistress and Paper Planes are the films having their world premieres at MIFF this year.

The 46 film financiers/buyers represented at the market included Arri, EFIC, eOne Australia, Electric, Fulcrum, Global Screen, Goldcrest, Ingenious, Level K, Metrodome, Mongrel, Protagonist, Roadshow, Seville/eOne, Shoreline, Transmission, Wild Bunch, XYZ and Yellow.

All had the option of seeing new films I Survived a Zombie Holocaust, Orphans & Kingdoms, Tailgate, The Last Saint and The PA Boys in the “breakthrough screenings”.

In all 97 producers participated.