Dir: Robert Connolly. Scr: Connolly, David Williamson
Now in post-production, the buzz from this project centres around fine performances from Anthony LaPaglia and Oscar Isaac. The drama is about the disappearance of five Western journalists in East Timor in 1975. Producer John Maynard describes Balibo as both a political thriller - an unusual genre for Australia - and a buddy movie. It is Maynard and director Robert Connolly's third film together, following Three Dollars (2005) and The Bank (2001), through their company, ArenaFilm.
Int'l sales: ContentFilm, (44) 207 851 6500
Dir/scr: Rachel Ward
Actor-director Rachel Ward has been honing her craft as a film-maker on short films. Her debut feature, based on a US novel by Newton Thornburg, tells of a man who returns to his childhood home to say goodbye his dying father, only to be flooded with memories of his beautiful twin sister. Popular Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn stars with Bryan Brown and Rachel Griffith.
Int'l sales: The Works International, (44) 20 7612 0090
Dir: Ana Kokkinos
A trio of well-known Australian actresses - Frances O'Connor, Miranda Otto, and Deborra-Lee Furness - headline the third feature from Ana Kokkinos following Head On and The Book Of Revelation. Based on a stage play, Blessed follows a group of young people and their adventures in the city before the action switches to their mothers' perspective.
Int'l sales: Bankside Films, (44) 20 7734 3566
THE BOYS ARE BACK
Dir: Scott Hicks
Clive Owen stars in this comedy-drama about a single father and his two sons. A UK-Australian collaboration between Tiger Aspect Productions and Southern Light Films, Miramax Films has pre-bought UK and US rights. The Boys Are Back is set in Adelaide, hometown of director Scott Hicks, and is his first film in the city since 1996 hit Shine.
Contact: HanWay Films, (44) 20 7290 0750
Dir/scr: Jane Campion
This UK-Australian co-production takes Jane Campion back to the luscious period romance terrain of The Piano. This time, the wilds of New Zealand have been replaced by 19th-century London for a literary biopic about the poet John Keats and his love affair with Fanny Brawne. UK actor Ben Whishaw plays the lovelorn poet, with Australia's Abbie Cornish as his lover and muse. A festival debut in 2009 is expected.
Int'l sales: Pathe Pictures International, (44) 207 323 5151
THE LAST RIDE
Dir: Glendyn Ivin. Scr: Mac Gudgeon
Ivin's short film Crackerbag won the short film Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2003 and five years later he is in post-production with his debut feature. The contemporary road movie stars Hugo Weaving as a father in trouble with the law, and newcomer Tom Russell as his 10-year-old son. The film is set in the spectacular Flinders Ranges in South Australia and is produced by Nicholas Cole and Antonia Barnard.
Int'l sales: ContentFilm International, (44) 20 7851 6500
MAO'S LAST DANCER
Dir: Bruce Beresford
Beresford is in post-production on Mao's Last Dancer, a compelling true story set in China about a young boy born to a peasant family at the end of the Cultural Revolution who emerged from poverty and became a dancer of international repute. The film features a who's who of the international dance world and is produced by Jane Scott (Shine) and China's Geng Ling (House Of Flying Daggers). It was shot in China, America and the US.
Int'l sales: Celluloid Dreams, (33) 1 49 70 03 70
MARY AND MAX
Dir/scr: Adam Elliot
"It will make ($3.4m-$6.8m) a$5m-a$10m in Australia and ($13.6m-$20.4m) a$20m-a$30m in the US and I guarantee you it will get an Academy Award nomination," says former Film Finance Corporation (FFC) chief Brian Rosen of Mary And Max. The claymation film, which secured FFC backing, is a simple tale of friendship between pen pals Mary (Toni Collette), an eight-year-old from Melbourne, and Max (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a 44-year-old obese Jewish New Yorker with Asperger's syndrome. It is Adam Elliot's feature debut following his Oscar-winning short Harvie Krumpet.
Int'l sales: Icon Entertainment International, (44) 208 492 6300
MY YEAR WITHOUT SEX
Dir/scr: Sarah Watt
Watt's debut feature Look Both Ways was a festival favourite in 2006. Her follow-up is a comedy-drama about a year in the life of one family which takes in shopping, singing, sport, storage solutions, Santa, the stock market and spirituality. Matt Day and Sacha Horler star in the film which will premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival in February 2009. My Year Without Sex is produced by Bridget Ikin and associate producer Barbara Masel.
Int'l sales: The Works, (44) 207 612 0090
SAMSON & DELILAH
Dir/scr: Warwick Thornton
Principal photography has just wrapped on Warwick Thornton's debut feature, Samson & Delilah. Set in an Aboriginal community, it is a story of tough love featuring two compelling newcomers, Rowan McNamara and Marissa Gibson. Thornton made his name as a cinematographer before writing and directing the half-hour Green Bush, which won the Panorama Short Film Award at Berlin in 2005. Producer Kath Shelper has a long track record of working with indigenous film-makers.
Contact: Kath Shelper, (612) 9319 6133
Dir/scr: Shirley Barrett
Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in this love story set around an island lighthouse in the 1920s. The film is Shirley Barrett's third following Love Serenade and Walk The Talk and is set to shoot in early 2009. Production on the remote sea-bound location may be challenging, but producer Marian Macgowan (Two Hands, Death Defying Acts) is one of Australia's most experienced.
Int'l sales: Maximum Films International, (1) 416 960 0300.