Australia’s FFC backs record slate

Org contributes record amount

SYDNEY — Australian federal coin agency Film Finance Corp. wrapped the financial year on Saturday by announcing it had backed a record production slate of 15 pics, three telepics, 10 minis and 46 docs worth A$202 million ($173 million).

FFC contributed 37% of the slate’s value, the highest in its 18-year history.

Org also issued temporary operating guidelines and three letters of intent to co-fund pics.

Film and TV makers are set to embark on a new film financing era Down Under, but details of the federal government’s new rebate program announced in May, due to replace the direct government finance model in place for almost two decades, were finalized in time for Sunday’s start date.

In the absence of firm legislation, the FFC is advising producers of eligible projects to apply for FFC coin now, and then seek the rebate after it passes through parliament in September.

This will allow the FFC to back projects, then redeem some of those funds for future projects, and it enables producers to retain rights.

FFC intends to fund “Look Both Ways” helmer Sarah Watt and producer Bridget Ikin, who will re-team for “My Year Without Sex,” an as-yet-uncast dark romantic comedy.

Another project to attract a promissory note is thriller “The Visitor” from “The Oyster Farmer” producer Anthony Buckley and tyro helmer-scribe Greg Woodland. Pic is about a family that is the focus of a mysterious nocturnal prowler.

Also, Mark Patterson will produce “The Mindless Ferocity of Sharks” from director Jonathan Teplitzky (“Gettin’ Square”).

Not all projects that receive letters of intent end up using FFC coin. Phillip Noyce is considering tapping the new rebate for his 2008 adaptation of “Dirt Music” rather than using the FFC loot promised to him last December.

And filming of Scott Hicks’ long-mooted return to Oz to helm “The Boys Are Back in Town” with Clive Owen has been postponed.

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