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Oz Film Finance ponies up coin for pix

Armstrong will helm 'Death' from Grisoni script

SYDNEY — New films involving Gillian Armstrong, Jan Chapman, Geoffrey Wright, Jan Sardi and Michael Jenkins secured investment Wednesday from the Film Finance Corp. Australia.

Armstrong will helm “Death Defying Acts,” an Oz-U.K. co-production based on true events during escapologist Harry Houdini’s 1926 tour of the U.K. It’s scripted by Tony Grisoni (“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”) and Brian Ward (“The Interpreter”).

Chapman will exec produce “Suburban Mayhem,” a black comedy based on a bizarre case of a woman accused of killing her father, to be directed by Paul Goldman.

Wright will direct “Macbeth,” contempo reworking of Shakespeare’s classic, transposed to Melbourne’s underworld and starring Sam Worthington and Victoria Hill. Arclight will rep international sales, with Palace as the Oz distrib.

“Shine” and “The Notebook” scripter Sardi will pen and direct “Two Fists One Heart,” saga of an Australian/Sicilian family and its conflicts, set around the world of boxing. Jeremy Thomas will exec produce and his London-based sales company HanWay will handle international; BVI has Oz rights.

Jenkins is set to helm “Wrong Girl,” based on recent Lebanese gang rapes in Sydney, focusing on the police prosecutor and an 18-year-old victim.

The FFC also committed funds for “Footy Legends,” the second feature from director Khoa Do (“The Finished People”). Described as a story of self-respect and triumph against the odds, Icon will release the pic in Oz, with Fortissimo selling the rest of the world.

The FFC also is investing in “Razzle Dazzle — A Journey Into Dance,” a mockumentary about kids’ competitive dancing, directed by Darren Ashton. Element X is the international rep.

The agency agreed to provide post-production support to “The Magician,” a mockumentary following a Melbourne-based hit man seen through the eyes of his ex-neighbor, an Italian film student. It’s the debut of director-writer Scott Ryan. The U.K.’s MovieHouse is an investor and Hopscotch will release Down Under.

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