Two of Australia's leading film comics, Paul Hogan from the 1986 worldwide hit Crocodile Dundee fame, and Shane Jacobson from the 2006 local Kenny are the likely leads in Charlie & Boots, which secured a promise of investment today from Screen Australia.

Although not signed, producer David Redman said they are very keen to play a father and son who travel from the bottom of the east coast of Australia to the northern tip to go fishing after a dramatic event changes their lives.

Dean Murphy will direct the Instinct Entertainment comedy late from November. He and fellow scriptwriter Stewart Faichney, also worked with Hogan on Strange Bedfellows, the highest grossing Australian film locally in 2004.

Charlie & Boots will be distributed by Transmission, which launched early this year with Paramount backing, and international sales will be handled by Instinct Eden Rock, the joint venture between the Melbourne-based Instinct and LA-based Thomas Augsberger. The executive producers are Augsberger and Transmission principals Richard Payten and Andrew Mackie. Redman, Murphy and their Instinct partner Shana Levine are producing.

It is understood that the other features that won investment from Screen Australia today will be announced tomorrow.

Murphy is currently co-directing a bawdy animated film, Little Johnny the Movie, with Instinct head of creative affairs, Ralph Mosser. The pair also wrote the film, which is an attempt to tap into the worldwide habit of telling dirty jokes focussed on the Little Johnny character; in this version he is a precocious red-haired 10-year-old with freckles.

'We've gone as far as we thought we could get away with,' said Redman when asked just how bawdy the movie is. 'Perhaps crass is a better word to use.'

Instinct is interested in building relationships with Indian companies, and recently facilitated director Anees Bazmee's Bollywood film Singh Is Kinng, which was shot principally in Queensland, Australia, and also in Punjab, India, and Egypt.

Instinct is also planning to make a series of genre films in Australia in conjunction with Michael Shane and Anthony Romano's LA-based Hand Picked Films. The first will be the gothic fairtale Cradlewood, from debut director Harry Weinmann and scriptwriters Stephen Sewell and John Paul Chapple. It is set in the US and is likely to have US actors in the lead roles but it has a provisional certificate allowing Instinct to claim the 40 per cent producer offset now available for Australian films. The second is likely to be BloodNet, directed by Sandra Sciberras (The Caterpillar Wish).

'The fact that we share a language with the US has always been a downside for Australian films but perhaps we now have a chance of reaping the benfits of making films here that are set in the US,' Redman told