UA inks Bateman and her banner

Rep already in talks with three Aussie producers

SYDNEY — United Artists has tapped Philippa Bateman as its acquisitions rep Down Under and, separately, inked a first-look deal with her development/production banner April Films.

“UA is known for its interest in maverick, independent films,” Bateman said, “and that fits perfectly with the new generation of filmmakers and talent that we’re seeing in Australia.”

Bateman has known Bingham Ray, UA’s prexy, for 10 years, since she worked for the Australian Film Commission.

She said she is in discussions with three Aussie producers about UA’s potential involvement in their films.

Wearing her UA hat, Bateman will be among 27 local and international buyers taking part in SPAAMart, the inaugural pitching mart running alongside the Screen Producers Assn. of Australia’s annual four-day conference, which starts Tuesday in Melbourne.

April Films has spent two years developing a slate of projects. The first three have directors attached; Bateman and April exec chairman Garry Charny are assembling the casts and raising the financing. She expects to unveil the pics in about a month.

April also has a first-look deal with Universal. Bateman said the decision as to who gets first peek varies on each project.