Wheeldon, Cowan team for TFD production


LONDON -- Longtime production executives Paul Cowan and Chris Wheeldon have united to form U.K. production banner Territorial Film Developments, the duo said Tuesday.

TFD aims to finance and produce "at least three in-house, low-budget movies per year in the horror-thriller and comedy genres," the parties said.

The debut movie, penciled in to be titled "Black Water," was being presold at last week's European Film Market by U.K. sales outfit AV Pictures.

Billed as "a terrifying tale of human survival against all odds," the movie, via a two-minute promo, was sold to 11 territories, including Japan, Brazil, Spain and Benelux.

AV Pictures said "Black Water," a collaboration between TFD and the Australian Film Commission, will be completed in time for May's Festival de Cannes and now is in postproduction in Sydney by the writer-director team of Andrew Trauki and David Nerlich.

Produced locally in Sydney with Michael Robertson at the helm, the story is based on a series of true events. The film follows three young people on a fishing tour whose boat is attacked by a saltwater crocodile in the mangrove swamps of northern Australia.

Cowan and Wheeldon are keen to stress that the company is not simply a tax fund, indicating that TFD is a production company first and investment vehicle second.

Former Cobalt Pictures topper Rodney Payne, Independent Film & Television Alliance chairman and Handmade Films International chief Michael Ryan and Infinity Video's Adrian Munsey have joined TFD as nonexecutive directors "to provide expertise in the fields of international film sales, distribution and financing."

Other projects on the TFD slate include British director Richard Blanshard's supernatural horror movie "Soothsayer," a tale of supernatural forces from the future written by Barry Langley with shooting set for late spring, and "Carmilla," a film about lesbian vampires written by Cicely Tennant, Simone Kaye and Paul Wiffen to be filmed in Hungary.