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Oz board slates pix

Rosen, FFC boosting prod'n with $45 mil in projects

SYDNEY — Two U.K.-Australia co-productions and films from cult directors Rolf de Heer and Paul Cox head a A$70 million ($45.5 million) slate of film and TV productions that was greenlit Wednesday by the Film Finance Corp. Australia.

Roster of four features, seven telepics, a children’s TV drama series and nine docus was the first approved by the FFC board since Brian Rosen was hired as chief exec in March.

Private partners

An indie producer who has spent the past nine years based in L.A., Rosen aims to boost production triggered by the government funding agency via partnerships with the private sector. He notes 53% of the slate’s production budget is coming from non-FFC sources.

One co-prod is “Irresistible,” a thriller about a woman who’s convinced she’s being stalked, from writer-director Ann Turner and exec producer Sue Maslin (“Japanese Story”). It’s backed by the U.K.’s Spice Factory, U.K. distrib Momentum and Australia’s Palace, with Arclight Films handling international sales.

The other is “The Queen and I,” a comedy written by and starring Gerry Connolly. In his persona impersonating England’s monarch, Connolly is called on to stand in for her after she’s hit on the head by a boomerang during her Oz tour. Nik Powell is the co-producer, with Michael Pattinson directing, Becker as the local distrib and Winchester fielding foreign rights.

De Heer will co-helm “Ten Canoes” with Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil. The historical saga will be performed in the language of the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land, with English subtitles. Wild Bunch, Palace, Fandango and pubcaster SBSI are aboard.

Cox’s pic, “The Human Touch,” is an erotic drama to be filmed on location in South Australia and France. It’s backed by Dendy Films, feevee channel PMP/Showtime and sales agent Cinemavault Releasing.

TV fare

The telepics include the trilogy “Blackjack,” starring Colin Friels as an idealistic cop/whistleblower for Network Ten, Optus and BBC Worldwide; and “The Murray Whelan Series,” a two-pack featuring David Wenham as an adviser to a government minister, for the Seven Network and Southern Star.

The children’s drama is “Scooter: Secret Agent,” from Jonathan M. Shiff Prods., for Ten, Disney Channel and Germany’s ZDF.

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