Sales agents from across the world yesterday voted NZ WIFT member Emma Slade as the producer at the 37� South Market who most deserves a spot at the UK's Production Finance Market (PFM) in October, plus $1,860 (A$2,000) in travel assistance.
Runner-ups Steve Kearney and Bridget Callow-Wright from Australia also won places - but no cash.
Organizers said 2,203 meetings were held as part of the eighth edition of the co-financing film market, which is part of the business arm of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).
Slade will be seeking a sales agent for The Love Of Humankind, the lead project in her slate, during her visit to London.
The "vodka-fuelled tragicomedy about unrequited love" is to be directed by comedian Danny Mulheron (Fresh Meat) from a script by he and Brian Sergent.
Based on a stage play, her one-liner reads: "A birthday party brings together four brilliant alcoholics, a suffocated stripper, jealousy, betrayal and a dead budgie for an unforgettable night they will never remember".
"It's a huge confidence boost to hear that the project measures up well against the rest," Slade told ScreenDaily. "It's about people on the fringe who are intelligent and very funny."
Hannah & Rebecca
Slade was also pitching Hannah & Rebecca, an Australian/New Zealand co-production to be directed by Vincent Ward (Map Of The Human Heart) from a script by he and Louis Nowra.
The adventure story set in the 1900s sees two young girls saved by Tasmanian tigers after they become lost in the wild.
It is likely to be filmed in both countries and Su Armstrong and former Film Finance Corporation chief executive Brian Rosen are the Australian producers.
A former school teacher, Slade once worked for Discovery Networks Europe in the UK and also the BBC and Action Time. She also has projects with producer Barrie Osmond and director Ray Lawrence.
37� South Market
Mark Woods runs the MIFF 37� South Market and also the MIFF Premiere Fund, which invests in content.
Cut Snake, Electric Boogaloo, The Legend Maker, My Mistress and Paper Planes are the films having their world premieres at MIFF this year.
The 46 film financiers/buyers represented at the market included Arri, EFIC, eOne Australia, Electric, Fulcrum, Global Screen, Goldcrest, Ingenious, Level K, Metrodome, Mongrel, Protagonist, Roadshow, Seville/eOne, Shoreline, Transmission, Wild Bunch, XYZ and Yellow.
All had the option of seeing new films I Survived a Zombie Holocaust, Orphans & Kingdoms, Tailgate, The Last Saintand The PA Boys in the "breakthrough screenings".