Fine Line taps Murray

Exec to be production company's chief Oz rep

Establishing a formal presence in the stomping ground that brought the company its most acclaimed acquisition — Scott Hicks’ “Shine” — Fine Line Features has appointed Sue Murray as its chief rep in Australia.

Murray, who until this March was director of marketing for the Australian Film Commission, officially becomes a “consultant” to Fine Line, covering both Australia and New Zealand for New Line’s specialty distrib.

However, her role is expected to be integrated with Fine Line’s general acquisition and production activities: scouring for scripts, spotting talent and making connections.

“This is not only about finished films,” stressed Mark Ordesky, prexy of Fine Line Features. “We want Sue to get in at the ground level, find some scripts and get real production going for Fine Line in Australia and New Zealand.”

To date, Australasia has provided Fine Line with some of its most high-profile titles, including “Shine,” Lee Tamahori’s “Once Were Warriors” and Rolf de Heer’s “The Quiet Room.”

Fine Line has stopped short of announcing that Murray will be heading up an official Fine Line office in Australia. But the company evidently hopes that her clout in the local industry will give it a big advantage when it comes to unearthing new filmmakers and original material.

Left-field pics such as “The Piano,” “Strictly Ballroom,” “Muriel’s Wedding” and “Babe” have contributed to the growing interest among specialized Hollywood companies in Australasian production. Like Fine Line, Miramax Films has its own Sydney-based consultant, Victoria Treole.

Murray has spent most of her professional career working for the AFC, beginning as its information officer in 1981, and passing through the policy unit before becoming director of marketing in October 1987.

Between 1990 and 1992 she was based in the AFC’s European office in London.

In her new position, Murray will be based in Sydney, Australia.