A brand new car brings only tragedy to its owners in the horror film The Red Car, one of four films chosen for Aurora, the flagship development and financing program of the New South Wales Film and Television Office.

The Black Balloon, which won this year's Crystal Bear in the Generation 14 Plus section of Berlin, is a graduate of Aurora, as is actor Abbie Cornish's debut film Somersault and Little Fish, starring Cate Blanchett.

For many years Australia's government film agencies were harshly criticized for not supporting genre films but then along came two success stories: Saw, created but not filmed in Australia, and Wolf Creek.

The Red Car is to be made by writer/director Paul Elliott and producer Tony Leach, who have made television commercials together. Its inclusion is further proof the old prejudices have died. In fact, FTO chief executive Tania Chambers deliberately emphasized genre films were welcome when touting for applications.

'That said the four films have the strongest creative teams and strongest stories and, most importantly, potential to connect with an audience,' she said. The first week-long residential workshop principally focuses on the writer, and the second comes six months later and concentrates on the next draft, financing and realization.

Missing Water, about a young man who flees his country in a fishing boat after the Vietnam War, will be Khoa Do's third film and the producer is Megan McMurchy.

Freshwater is a drama written by Matthew Dabner and to be directed by Kate Riedl.

Buried is a macabre black comedy to be directed by Tim Bullock, who co-wrote the script with Justin Walsh. Their producer is Sue Seeary, associate producer on The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.

This year's advisors include Anders Thomas Jensen, the Danish Academy Award winning writer of After The Wedding and Brothers, and the homegrown Geoffrey Wright (Romper Stomper, Macbeth).

Two Aurora films begin shooting soon: Prime Mover, written and directed by David Caesar, and Accidents Happen, directed by Andrew Lancaster from a script by Brian Carbee.