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REP nabs Oz rights to Scanbox’s ‘Sample’

REP Film Distribution has beaten two other contenders to buy all Australian rights to the independently financed film “Sample People” from global sales agent Scanbox. The Becker Entertainment-owned dis-tributor plans to release the pic theatrically Down Under later this year.

“Sample People” is one of a handful of recent Australian films financed without federal government assistance that have scored a local release. Palace Films snatched “Redball,” Village Roadshow took “The Craic” and fellow Becker-owned distributor Dendy nabbing “Terra Nova.”

The A$2.5 million ($1.7 million) film was financed using private investors lured by Australian tax break programs, Scanbox and Showtime Australia. The South Australian Film Commission ponied up 10% of the budget in return for the film shooting in Adelaide.

Pic, an edgy urban piece which interweaves the lives of 12 young adults, is the feature helming debut of Clinton Smith and was produced by first-timers Emile Sherman and Barton Smith. Jonathan Shteinmann executive produced.

Toplined by pop singer Kylie Minogue, cast includes well-known Aussie thesps Ben Mendolsohn (“Cosi”), Simon Lynden (“Blackrock”), David Field (“Mr. Accident”), Joel Edgerton (“Praise”) and Natalie Roy (“Heartbreak High”).

“When it became clear we could make the film without federal assistance, we went with it as it gave us flexibility and freedom,” the 27 year-old Sherman told Variety. “Unlike ‘Cut,’ in which I understand Kylie has a small cameo, in our film she is one of an ensemble of 12 actors with a sizeable part. We have a brat pack of the sexiest and the most experienced quality young actors around portraying the cool and sexy side of living in Sydney, which we show Sydney as being as romantic as Paris and dangerous as New York.”

“Sample People” was the first local investment for the Melbourne office of Scanbox Asia-Pacific, which has proven one of the more active of the stream of overseas companies setting up shop Down Under in the past two years. Other pictures Scanbox has invested in include “Red Ball,” “Hildegarde” and “Like Minds.”