'Dunne' tops Premiere list

New fund backs five Aussie efforts

An Australian-produced documentary about writer Dominick Dunne set against the backdrop of the Phil Spector trial is one of five features to receive funding from the Melbourne International Film Festival's new AUS$1.4 million ($1.28 million) Premiere Film Fund, organizers said Friday.

"Celebrity — Tales of Dominick Dunne" looks at the American justice system and the cult of celebrity through the eyes of Dunne and the films Australian writer-directors Tim Jolley and Kirsty de Gris and producers Sue Maslin and Daryl Delora.

Joining "Dunne" on the Premiere fund's first slate are the feature film adaptation of aboriginal musical "Brand New Day"; investigative environmental documentary "Whatever Happened to Brenda Hean"; "Bastardy," a documentary about Melbourne fringe dweller Jack Charles; and Rhian Skirving's portrait of Melbourne performance artist Tim Min-chin, "Rock & Roll Nerd."

MIFF Premiere Fund general manager Mark Woods said the diversity of projects presented for funding "shows there is clearly a demand and role for this specialist fund in assisting the production of quality cinema for the benefit of Victorian filmmakers and audiences."

The fund is designed to be a "strategic minority investor" in films from the state of Victoria, which will have their premieres each year at Australia's largest and oldest film festival. With funding from the state government of Victoria, the fund will provide a total of AUS$1.4 million ($1.28 million) to eligible, market-ready feature film projects in four rounds during 2007 and 2008.