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Oz director feels ‘Power’

Denneen enlists help from Dylan, Halsted for thriller

SYDNEY — After shooting hundreds of commercials around the world, Aussie director David Denneen is feeling a “Power Surge” as he embarks on his first pic.

Denneen has enlisted the help of two well-connected Hollywood friends, director Jesse Dylan and exec producer Dan Halsted, to make “Power Surge,” a thriller about a young couple on the run who seek refuge in a country estate, where they take an agoraphobic art dealer as their hostage.

Scripted by Aussie Dave Warner (“Cut,” “Garage Days”), pic is being part-funded by Form, the L.A.-based commercials firm owned by Dylan, which reps Denneen in the U.S.

Halsted, whose producing credits include “Garden State,” “S.W.A.T.” and “The Virgin Suicides,” and who has offices at the Form, will serve as exec producer via his banner Camelot Pictures.

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The Film Finance Corp. Australia approved its investment in the pic last week. New distrib Accent Filmed Entertainment will release the film Down Under, and Peter Elson’s eFilm Worldwide will sell all international rights.

It marks the first production from Film Graphics Entertainment, the drama and animation offshoot of Denneen’s Film Graphics commercials house.

“Power Surge” originally was set to be made by Oz producer Andrew Mason via his deal to shoot a series of low-budget digitally shot features for Contentfilm, but that didn’t pan out and FGE head Mark Lazarus secured the rights.

FGE is developing a raft of film and TV projects, including the pilot for a comedy series for multicultural broadcaster SBS.

As a step up to features, Denneen last year shot “The Waltz,” a four-minute short using high-def equipment provided by Sony and Young & Rubicam. Short preemed at the Melbourne Intl. Film fest this year, has been playing theatrically in Oz, and was sold to PBS stations in the U.S.

Denneen served as animation director and animator on helmer Bruce Petty’s “Leisure,” which won the 1976 animated short Oscar.