Australian directors seeking financing

Hicks, Noyce trying to tap into government funding

SYDNEY — Two of Australia’s most established directors are circling the Oz government’s funding honey pot, the Film Finance Corp., seeking coin for movies.

“Shine” helmer Scott Hicks returns to Oz to make “The Boys are Back in Town,” a U.K. co-production adaptation based on Simon Carr’s novel about a single dad raising two sons.

Producer Tim White is tight-lipped about cast; FFC describes the pic as a “high-budget cast-driven Australian feature.”

“Dirt Music,” helmer Phillip Noyce’s follow-up Oz project to “Rabbit Proof Fence,” received a Letter of Intent from the FFC this week but Heath Ledger is no longer attached to star in the adaptation of Tim Winton’s best-selling novel.

Cast has not been announced.

Meanwhile, FFC funded two more pics, clay animator Adam Elliot’s “Mary & Max” and tyro helmer Nash Edgerton’s “The Square.”

First pic is about a friendship between two unlikely pen pals, to be narrated by Barrie Humphries. The A$8 million (US$6 million) plasticine-character stop-motion film will be distributed in Oz by Dendy and sold internationally by its sister company Becker.

“The Square” toplines the helmer’s brother Joel Edgerton (“Kinky Boots”) and Rose Byrne and centers on a man whose life is unraveling. It’s produced by Louise Smith, distribbed by Roadshow and repped internationally by Pathe.