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Many internationally known women adorn the cast lists of Australia's upcoming films, although not all of them are known for being on the big screen.

Rachel Hunter, who plays a caravan park Goddess and mother to an indeterminable number of children in You And Your Stupid Mate, for example, shot to attention when she married ageing rocker Rod Stewart.

Hunter has been in films before, but no hits, and this is her first feature in Australia. The comedy wrapped in early March in Melbourne. Also in the cast was Neighbours star Madeleine West in her first film role.

Also with Neighbours but no feature credits is pop princess Delta Goodrem, whose debut album Innocent Eyes sold well in many territories beyond Australia.

She plays a middle-class teenager unsettled by her parents' marriage breakdown and unhappily forced to join a working-class school in the fish-out-of-water story Hating Alison Ashley, which goes into production shortly.

It is Frances O'Connor that has the significant feature film track record. She made a string of admired Australian films (Love And Other Catastrophes, Kiss Or Kill, Thank God He Met Lizzie) before moving on to the international stage (The Importance Of Being Earnest, A.I., Bedazzled, Mansfield Park).

Three Dollars is her first film back home for five years and she plays the witty, vivacious and intelligent wife of a man who is dealt a series of career and health blows that test their relationship and her attitude to life. Also in the film is Australian-born Sarah Wynter, who is best known for hit US series 24.

A large number of the productions joining the listings for the first time, are footloose films taking advantage of Australia's studios, locations and low costs. They include House Of Wax, Mask Untitled, the working name for the sequel to 1994 film Mask, and Stealth. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is coming soon to New Zealand.

Two renowned directors, George Miller in Australia and recent Academy Award winner Peter Jackson in New Zealand, have secured offshore financing for their next films. Jackson starts shooting King Kong on April 30 and Miller is making the animation Happy Feet.

The considerably more modest Australia film The Extra will be the first film ever to use the newly-built Central City Studios in Melbourne.

Financing difficulties have caused a couple of Australian films to disappear, including Power Surge and West, two digital features from producer Andrew Mason. The funding approvals secured from Film Finance Corporation Australia have lapsed.

Some films that have disappeared because they are finished, have had name changes, including Somersault, which was More Than Scarlet, and Tom White, which was Missing Tom.