Australian producer Marian Macgowan (Death Defying Acts) has taken on a new producing partner in Miranda Culley, who has been director Phillip Noyce's Sydney partner for the past seven years.

The move enables Macgowan to both produce and develop features simultaneously, which is difficult as a lone producer.

'The business model I have used for the last three or four years is not sustainable because the space between productions is just too great,' she told 'In single person mode you react to what comes to you rather than being proactive about the slate.'

Macgowan was influenced by UK producer Sarah Radclyffe's strategy of having a less experienced producer working with her. Radclyffe is one of the executive producers on Macgowan's upcoming South Solitary. Writer/director Shirley Barrett goes into production on this dramatic, windswept romance in a lighthouse off the coast of the island state of Tasmania in October.

Culley will co-produce South Solitary and all the films now on the Macgowan Films slate, and will produce with or without Macgowan on films she brings to the partnership or they initiate together.

She will continue to develop several films underway with Noyce: an adaptation of Tim Winton's novel Dirt Music, to be directed by Noyce; an adaptation of Geraldine Brooks' novel Year Of Wonders, to be directed by Pip Karmel; Obelia from writer/director Darlene Johnson; and Mondo, an original concept from writer Ian David and director Jonathan Teplitzky.

The Macgowan Films slate includes The Originals, a UK/New Zealand/Australian co-production to be directed by Mark Joffe (The Man Who Sued God) and starring Sam Neill. Neill is also producing alongside Macgowan and the UK 's Iain Smith. The film opens in 1905 with a motley group of farmers, civil servants and miners, and also a bootmaker, heading to Britain by steamer to play rugby. A century later the All Blacks are still revered.

There's a sporting theme in A Private Man too. No director is attached to screenwriter Roger Monk's (Walking On Water) adaptation of the novel by Malcolm Knox. Filtered through two arenas of masculinity, sport and sex, the film is the story of a family's grief, a thriller and a provocative dissection of men and their private passions.

Also on the slate is Innocent Bystander, which Louis Nowra is scripting for Gillian Armstrong. Its focus is nine-year-old Freda. All she wanted was the toy that came with the fast food; caught in a hostage situation, she learns a lot about behaviour.

Macgowan was one of the producers on Armstrong's most recent film, Death Defying Acts, which opens in the US this week and in the UK on August 8. She is also executive producer on Blessed, being readied for an October production start by director Ana Kokkinos and producer Al Clark. The first half tracks seven children as they wander the streets for a day and a night and the second is set in the same period but told from the point of view of their mothers.

Culley was associate producer on the Working Title/Mirage Enterprises film Catch A Fire, directed by Phillip Noyce, who is likely to next make Edwin A Salt for Columbia Pictures. Tom Cruise is tipped to play the lead role of a CIA operative battling to shed accusations that he's a Russian spy.