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Melbourne festival hands out funds

Cash has gone primarily to documentaries

SYDNEY — The Melbourne Intl. Film Festival has announced the first recipients of coin from its A$350,000 ($325,000) Premiere Fund, introduced in July to coincide with MIFF’s first film market.

Despite a wide range of entries, from musical comedy to features, the coin has gone primarily to docus.

These include: “Rock & Roll Nerd” Rhian Skirving’s rags-to-riches story of Melbourne musician Tim Minchin; helmer-scribes Tim Jolley and Kirsty De Garis’ “Celebrity — Tales of Dominic Dunne” about the Vanity Fair writer, set against the backdrop of music producer Phil Spector’s trial; “Bastardy,” a portrait of Melbourne celeb Jack Charles from helmer-scribe Amiel Courtin-Wilson; “Whatever Happened to Brenda Hean,” about the disappearance of the environmentalist in 1972, produced by Michael McMahon and Scott Millwood, who also helms; and “Brand New Day,” a feature adaptation of Aboriginal musical “Bran nue dae,” directed by Rachel Perkins.

In other funding news, SBS Independent and the New South Wales Film and Television Office have launched the Television Drama Development Fund.

New coin will back local dramas with a twist and projects that fulfill SBS’ mission as the nation’s only multi-cultural pubcaster.

“The FTO is delighted to partner SBS in supporting the local production of unique and innovative Australian drama,” said FTO topper Tania Chambers. “We have already worked together to support ‘Remote Area Nurse’ and new crime show ‘East West 101.’ ”

Latter is a six-part mini set to air on SBS in the new year.

Full details of the fund will be announced during the Screen Producers Assn. of Australia conference, Tuesday through Nov. 16.

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