Company close to announcing upcoming projects

SYDNEY — In a boost for independent commercial Australian filmmaking, private Oz film group the Macquarie Film Corp. has clinched a two-year first-look distribution deal Down Under with UIP, the overseas releasing arm of Paramount, Universal and DreamWorks.

Macquarie is one of two film license investment companies established by the conservative federal government after it cut direct screen production subsidies. While Macquarie and its competitor Content Capital struggled to raise the combined A$40 million ($21 million) they sought, Macquarie finally raised $9 million earlier this year.

Macquarie topper Bryan Lowe said the company was close to announcing its first three projects, which will have combined budgets of about $18.5 million and be anchored by high-profile Oz directors and actors with international directors.

Lowe added that Macquarie was negotiating other deals with international sales agents.

London-based UIP acquisitions and development head Marion Pilowsky told Daily Variety that UIP would be closely involved in the selection and development process with Macquarie in what she termed “a very collaborative relationship.”

Since being appointed earlier this year to boost UIP’s independent slate, Pilowsky has clinched similar deals with the U.K.’s Axiom (whose slate includes two Oz pics, David Caesar’s “Mullet” and Robert Connolly’s “The Bank”), Spain’s Planeta and Germany’s Advanced. Other European deals are in the works.

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