Two expatriate Australian directors, Fred Schepisi (Last Orders) and John Polson (Swimfan), may be among those to benefit from the second fundraising by Australian partners the Nine Network and Macquarie bank, it was revealed last night.
Schepisi was presented with the highest honour at the Australian Screen Directors Association awards in February.
Schepisi's $6.6m (A$11m) comedy drama Hitches about two brothers hitch-hiking to Queensland's Gold Coast for their summer holidays, and Polson's $5.7m (A$9.5m) comedy Mozart Maulers about a group of music students who tackle life head on and win, are two of the five features in the prospectus launched last night to the industry, media and potential investors.
Schepisi's last film in his home country was the 1988 picture A Cry In The Dark (also known as Evil Angels) starring Meryl Streep, and Polson's was Siam Sunset, made 10 years later. Polson is working with producer Martin Brown, of Moulin Rouge fame, on Mozart Maulers.
Investors have until June 30 to contribute to the unlisted managed fund. With $14.2m (A$23.6m) raised last year, the minimum $12.1m (A$20m) is sure to be reached but it is the final figure that will determine which of the $31m (A$51.4m) worth of projects will be made. Five features, a telemovie and a series have been named in the slate.
The Extra, another feature vehicle for comedian Jimeoin (The Craic), the black comedy Mondo, written by Ian David and directed by Jonathan Teplitzky for Mushroom Pictures, and the comedy You And Your Stupid Mate, produced and directed by Marc Gracie are the other three films that could get a green light.
Hoyts, which is owned by Nine's majority shareholder Kerry Packer, will distribute all the films that are funded under the offer.