Par Oz unit makes first pickup


SYDNEY -- Paramount Pictures Australia on Thursday announced its first distribution acquisition in the territory since the relaunch of the Paramount brand here earlier this year -- privately financed independent Australian feature "The Final Winter."

Mike Selwyn, managing director Australia and regional supervisor Australasia for Paramount Pictures, said he could not be more pleased at having struck a distribution deal with local production shingle the Three Scallywags.

"The Final Winter," he said, is a "gem of an Australian film, brimming with integrity and emotion."

Written by Matt Nable, who also stars in the film, co-directed by Brian Andrews and Jane Forrest and co-produced by Anthony Coffey and Michelle Russell, "The Final Winter" is the personal story of a man who is coming to the end of his football career in the 1980s -- a time when changes to the game brought about by new money and ambition were challenging the old loyalties in sports in Australia.

Alongside Matt Nable, the film stars Matthew Johns, a former champion rugby player in his film debut, John Jarratt, Nathaniel Dean and Raelee Hill.

Andrew Cripps, president and CEO of Paramount Pictures International, said in a statement that he was "delighted" to see PPI developing ties with local filmmakers, adding that he "looks forward to further announcements, particularly in view of the Australian government's strong commitment to supporting the local production industry."

At the same time, Paramount announced that the film will have its world premiere next week on June 24, the final day of the Sydney Film Festival.