Writer/director Toa Fraser's Number 2 looks like being the first New Zealand film to secure the involvement of Working Title Australia (WTA) - and the third feature since Tim White opened the company's Sydney office in November 2000.
While the board of the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) has offered its support on a conditional basis, financing is still being finalised by the producers, Lydia Livingston, who is based in Sydney and works as an agent, White and his colleague Lisa Chatfield. Livingston and Fraser's company Colonial Encounters is the joint venture partner.
The film is billed as the story of an ailing Fijian matriarch, Nanna Maria, who orders her grandchildren home to prepare a Sicilian-style feast at which she will name her successor.
WTA's first two films were the Australian/UK co-production Ned Kelly, which was fully funded by Universal, and Gettin' Square, which was funded by WTA, the Macquarie Nine Film & Television Investment Fund and the Australian Film Finance Corporation.
Chatfield, who produced one of New Zealand's biggest local hits Scarfies, has just returned to New Zealand after working with White in Australia, but remains on the WTA payroll.
The NZFC has also offered additional financing for Fifty Ways Of Saying Fabulous, an adaptation of Graeme Aitken's coming of age novel to be directed by Stewart Main (Desperate Remedies) and produced by Michele Fantl.