Oz pic featuring Dimitriades gets '99 N. American release

SYDNEY — Strand Releasing has collared all North American rights to Australian pic “Head On,” director Ana Kokkinos’ gritty feature debut toplining Alex Dimitriades as a young Greek man who struggles to deal with his sexuality, his heritage and drugs.

The deal was negotiated by Rhys Kelly at Southern Star Film Sales and Jon Gerrans, co-prexy of L.A.-based Strand. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Strand plans a 1999 theatrical release. After nearly 12 weeks in Australia, the critically praised pic has grossed a healthy $A1.7 million ($1.05 million), appealing chiefly to teenagers and young adults. It’s been nominated for nine Australian Film Institute awards.

Dimitriades is fast becoming one of Australia’s hottest properties on the strength of “Head On” and ABC-TV drama series “Wild Side,” in which he played a morally conflicted cop.

Southern Star has sold “Head On” (the first pic produced by Jane Scott since “Shine”) to numerous markets including France, Spain, the Netherlands, Taiwan and Brazil.

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