Producer Samuel Pinczewski and director James Rabbitts are the drivers behind the film, set in the middle of nowhere and about a group of women fighting to deal with what is happening to them and survive. The pair have worked together on shorts, music videos and commercials since meeting at the North Sydney Film and Television School.
They are an example of the rising army of usually male filmmakers interested in trying their hand at low-budget commercial genre films, buoyed by the introduction of the producer offset, which allows the producers of Australian films to claim back 40% of expenditure once a film is completed.
Many are also spurred on by the documentary feature Not Quite Hollywood, which opened the Melbourne International Film Festival this year and sang the praises of the energetic genre filmmaking of the 1970s and 80s.
'Sometimes you get a gut reaction about people and I did with them,' says Sheffield, who is constantly approached to consult on the financing and on the marketing and distribution of projects. 'They are a couple of very talented young guys that could make some very good films.'
The budget of The Clinic is principally coming from a private investor, who is also cashflowing the offset, the filmmakers themselves, a facilities deal with a post-production company, and the New South Wales Film and Television Office's regional film fund.
The producer offset gives the tax rebate to producers, which is a fundamental shift from giving the tax deduction to investors, but Sheffield believes it is still an effective mechanism for attracting private investment.
'Some people like to invest and it is now about engaging them in ideas and projects and the commercial realities of world cinema,' he says. Recent events illustrate that financial institutions are not necessarily the best place to put your money, he added.
'I don't think the dollar is going to stay at 60 cents (one Australian dollar is currently worth 60 US cents) but I see a big opportunity for local films, particularly genre films because they sell better internationally and get better returns.'
Producing beside Pinczewski is experienced line producer Dennis Kiely and the heads of department have all made many films.
Pinczewski and Rabbitts are developing several scripts including the big-budget The Nine Second Club, which was one of about 5,500 scripts that applied for one of the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, offered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and made it into the list of the top 100.