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‘Shine’ team glows with ‘Brother’

Sardi pic stars Garcia, Ribisi, Warner

SYDNEY — Who says it’s tough to pre-sell Australian films to overseas buyers nowadays? Not the producers of “Love’s Brother” and sales agent Arclight Films, who have closed deals for numerous territories.

In another rarity for an Oz pic, Sony has nabbed worldwide rights to the soundtrack penned by Stephen Warbeck, the English composer who won an Oscar for “Shakespeare in Love.”

Of course it helps when you have a high-profile cast headed by Giovanni Ribisi, Adam Garcia and English thesp Amelia Warner (“Quills,” TV’s “Lorna Doone”) and a creative team that was the driving force behind “Shine.”

Pic marks the helming debut of “Shine” scripter Jan Sardi and is produced by “Shine’s” Jane Scott and London-based Sarah Radclyffe.

Set in rural Australia and Tuscany in the 1950s, bittersweet comedy revolves around two brothers and the bride who — as fate would have it — arrives from Italy betrothed to one yet falls madly in love with the other.

At the outset, the producers secured coin from the Film Finance Corp. Australia, Film Victoria and U.K. film fund Ingenious, as well as distrib deals with Australia’s Palace and Italy’s Mikado.

Armed with nothing more than a two-minute trailer, Arclight’s Gary Hamilton sold the pic in Cannes to Germany (Solo), Benelux (Bridge), Scandinavia (Nonstop), Switzerland (Ascot-Elite) and sundry smaller markets. He’s weighing offers from the U.K. and Japan and has had a lot of interest from the U.S., which he won’t progress until he can show buyers the finished film.

Scott says Sony exec Peter Gelb was determined not to let the “Love’s Brother” soundtrack slip through his fingers after he bid unsuccessfully for the rights to release the “Shine” album. Warbeck recorded the soundtrack at the Abbey Road studios in London, featuring his compositions plus one song from Sony-signed tenors Marcelo Avarez and Salvatore Licitra.

Sardi is due to deliver a print of the pic at the end of this month, and he and the producers are hoping it will be selected for one of the major fall fests. It’s due for release in Oz in November.

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