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U back down under

Studio's Screen Corp. pact is second in Oz

SYDNEY — Universal has sealed its second Australian deal in four months, clinching a three-year, first-look pact with new Australian-based production venture Screen Corp.

Screen Corp.’s chairman is former Warner Bros. international theatrical prexy Wayne Duband, Oz film financier James Vernon is chief exec, and former Network Ten exec Ken Birchall is chief financial officer.

Screen Corp., which has filed a prospectus with the Australian Securities Commission seeking to raise A$20 million ($13 million), has also pacted with Village Roadshow’s Roadshow Film Distributors to be its Oz-Kiwi distributor.

New vision

“Screen Corp.’s vision is to become a producer of major motion pictures in collaboration with the Hollywood studios and other talented producers,” Duband told Australia’s Financial Review. “This is a chance for Australian investors to invest directly in Hollywood.”

Vernon declined to elaborate on the local press report, saying there will be “a major announcement in Los Angeles in the next few weeks,” but confirmed that the first picture Screen Corp. hoped to offer U was “The County,” a courtroom drama to be shot in Hollywood and Mississippi.

Deal comes after U unveiled its first Oz deal via a five-pic, first-look pact with April Pictures.

April is headed by Oz film financier Klaus Selinger, with former Australian Film Commission development exec Philippa Bateman serving as head of production and development.

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