Gyllenhaal, Bettany head ‘South’

Actors cast in Barrett's Aussie war drama

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Paul Bettany will topline helmer Shirley Barrett’s “South Solitary,” about a shell-shocked soldier recovering in Tasmania, due to lense in Oz this year.

Penned by Barrett and produced by Marian Macgowan’s shingle Macgowan Film and Sarah Radclyffe, pic was to be an Aussie-U.K. co-production. But following the introduction of the Australian Screen Production Incentive tax rebate, pic is wholly Australian.

Emile Sherman is executive producer. Icon is Aussie distribber and Maximum is representing internationally.

“Solitary” is among 10 features, three TV series, two children’s drama series and numerous documentaries which were part-funded by Aussie federal coin agency the Film Finance Corp. at its final meeting on Wednesday.

On July 1, FFC will merge with Film Australia and the Australian Film Commission to make a new super agency called Screen Australia, which will fund pics.

The FFC is going out on a high.

It’s total slate this financial year is worth A$310 million ($283.4 million), a record in the FFC’s 20-year history.

The bumper crop is partly due to the government’s tax breaks, announced last May, which give offshore studios that employ local producers or feature local content a 40% tax offset for film and 20% offset for TV projects.

“The offset spreads the agency money much further,” said FFC topper Brian Rosen.

Among other pics that received coin is “The Last Man,” veteran film director Fred Schepisi’s first Australian film since “Evil Angels” in 1988.

Schepisi’s cast for the $18.2 million movie about Australian SAS soldiers in Vietnam includes David Wenham, Guy Pearce, Simon Baker, Martin Henderson, Joel Edgerton and Sam Worthington.

“The Last Man” will shoot in Queensland in the last quarter of this year, be distribbed by Hoyts and Abacus in Oz and repped by Content internationally.

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