Agency also gives development financing to new films by Adam Elliot and Bruce Beresford.

Two films drawing on the lives of Australian rock stars who died prematurely – Bon Scott of AC/DC fame and INXS frontman Michael Hutchence – have scored development money from Screen Australia.

Among other films benefitting from the national agency’s backing are new films by Oscar-winning animator Adam Elliot and veteran director Bruce Beresford; the co-production Julian Corkle Is A Filthy Liar, from producers Marian Macgowan and Sarah Radclyffe; and Secret Sisters, a family film, an unusual genre for Australia. It is being written by Glenda Hambly and produced by David Rapsey and Moira Moss.

A script by writer Alice Addison who wrote The Hunter, which is in Toronto this year, is also in the mix. She is hoping it will be set it up as a joint venture with the US: it’s about a diver’s search for a missing girl and is set in Minnesota on the edge of the Canadian border. No Australian producer is attached yet.

Bon Scott will be directed by Eddie Martin and produced by Lizzette Atkins, who worked together on another biopic, the feature-length documentary Lionel about a boxer. Stephen Cleary is script editing.

Writer/director Richard Lowenstein is producing Michael alongside Sue Murray. Domenico Procacci is executive producer and Scott Meek is script editing. It is billed as “a fictionalised account of rock stars like” Hutchence.

Elliot, who is known for his dark sense of humour, told Screen that Ernee is on the “precipice” of going out to the market. Lawyer Bryce Menzies and former Film Finance Corporation head and just-elected new president of the Screen Producers Association of AustraliaBrian Rosen, one of the few Australian producers experienced in animation, are on board as executive producers. Peter Kaufman is producing.

“It is more geared to comedy than tragedy and is as close to a romantic comedy as I’ll ever get,” he said. He expects the plasticine-dependent film to be a co-production, possibly with France.

The Beresford project is being written by Beneath Hill 60 collaborators, David Roach and Bill Leimbach. It is a dramatization of the life of iconic Australian poet Banjo Paterson and how he came to write Waltzing Matilda, which tells of the 1890s clashes between landowners and shearers. Another of his poems, The Man From Snowy River, was made into one of the most successful local films in Australia in the 1980s.