FFC reveals three new features in pipeline

The award-winning team behind the film Look Both Ways will make one of three new feature films which received a Letter of Intent at the Film Finance Corporation’s last board meeting for 2006/07.

Writer-director Sarah Watt ? whose debut feature Look Both Ways charmed Australian and international audiences in 2005 ? will team up again with producer Bridget Ikin (Look Both Ways, An Angel At My Table, Crush) to make a romantic and slightly dark comedy titled My Year Without Sex. The family at the heart of this new story will come to life through Watt’s unique talent for capturing the humour and danger of everyday life.

‘After our success with Look Both Ways, it’s wonderful to be working with Sarah Watt again on this wry, romantic comedy,’ said Ikin.
My Year Without Sex was one of the three projects to receive a Letter of Intent at the FFC’s June meeting. [Films chosen through the FFC’s evaluation program receive a Letter of Intent containing the terms and conditions of proposed FFC funding. The FFC board makes a formal commitment to fund evaluation projects only when the producers have satisfied the terms and conditions set out in the Letter.]
Another of the projects is a thriller titled The Visitor, from esteemed producer Anthony Buckley (Bliss, The Oyster Farmer, Jessica) and first-time feature director/writer Greg Woodland. The Visitor is told through the eyes of 12-year-old Hal, whose family becomes the focus of a mysterious nocturnal prowler when their father is away on business. Hal’s investigation of the stranger draws him closer to the decaying caravan on the hill, where a family once lived and was murdered, and leads him to some shattering revelations about his own family.

The Visitor is one of the most refreshingly original scripts I have read,” said Buckley. “I know it will translate into a tense and taut film.’
The third project is the much-anticipated new feature from director Jonathan Teplitzky (Gettin’ Square, Better Than Sex). Teplitzky’s film, The Mindless Ferocity of Sharks, is adapted from the novel by its author, Brett D’Arcy, who won the W.A. Premier’s Fiction Award and was short-listed for several international awards for his distinctive story. Set in a remote Australian seaside town, this beguiling film will follow the adventures of Jim, a young bodysurfer with the ability to sense the presence of sharks. It is produced by Mark Patterson (Innocence, Human Touch).
The FFC finished the financial year with a record investment from market partners. The 15 feature films, three telemovies, 10 mini-series and 46 documentaries backed by the FFC have a total production value of $202 million. The FFC contributed 37 per cent of this, with the other 63 per cent coming from film distributors, sales agents, broadcasters, equity investors and other financing partners. This is the highest gearing ratio achieved by the FFC in its 18-year history.
On the policy front, the FFC is positioned for the introduction of the new Producer Rebate ? announced by the Government in its May Budget statement ? which is supporting film and television production from 1 July 2007, replacing the 10BA tax incentive scheme.
The FFC will begin co-investing with the Producer Rebate once the rebate legislation is in place (expected to be August-September 2007, subject to Parliamentary consideration). Producers will be responsible for cashflowing the rebate on the projects in which the FFC co-invests.
In the interim, from July 2007, the FFC will be asking producers of projects financed by the FFC, which are eligible, to apply for the rebate after their projects have received FFC funding. The benefit of this interim measure will be two-fold:
– producers will retain an equity share in their projects equal to the value of the rebate;
– the FFC, which will effectively be cashflowing the rebate, will use the rebate funds for re-investment in new projects.
Feature Films
Letters of Intent through Evaluation
* The Mindless Ferocity of Sharks
Go Patterson Films Pty Ltd
Producer: Mark Patterson
Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Writer: Brett D’Arcy
Sales and Distribution: Lightning Entertainment
Synopsis: A young boy’s coming of age through the lore of sharks.
* My Year Without Sex
Hibiscus Films Pty Ltd
Producer: Bridget Ikin
Director/writer: Sarah Watt
Sales and Distribution: Footprint Films
Synopsis: A romantic and slightly dark comedy exploring religion, sport, consumerism, self-improvement, the sexualization of children, the pervasive instructions of the media – and love.
* The Visitor
Visitor Films Pty Ltd
Executive producers: Tim Benjamin, David Court
Producer: Anthony Buckley
Director/writer: Greg Woodland
Sales and Distribution: BVI
Synopsis: 1962. 12 year old Hal is a new boy to a country town in rural NSW. A mysterious nocturnal prowler descends on Hal’s family when his commercial traveller father is away on business. Hal’s investigation of the frightening Visitor draws him closer to the decaying caravan on the hill where a family once lived and was murdered, and leads him to some shattering revelations about his own family.
[release from The Lantern Group]

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