Wicked of Oz’s Justin Dix signs Fox deal, Declassified film in the works

11 February, 2013 by Brendan Swift

Filmmaker and effects guru Justin Dix has won the backing of US studio Fox International to make his new thriller, Declassified, and is eyeing up Australia as a potential shoot location later this year.

The deal follows the success of his debut horror-thriller Crawlspace, which had its international festival premiere at the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival in October 2012. A positive reaction there from Fox International’s head of development led to several meetings and a deal with the studio, which is currently being inked.


“They want to have a future together which is great…,” Dix said from LA where he is currently holding Declassified story meetings with Fox.

He said Fox is keen to shoot the film in the US Fall (September – November) and Sydney’s Fox Studios Australia looms as a likely location. The film would then qualify for the 40 per cent Producer Offset tax rebate.

“In some respects I’m like the perfect candidate for the Offset there: it’s Australian-written, Australian-directed. I’m also one of the producers – at the moment the script is ‘Australian’,” Dix said. “It’s basically about an Australian navy divers’ clearance team set off the coast of Malaysia.”

Dix runs special effects company Wicked of Oz and has created prosthetic makeup effects, props, miniatures, animatronic characters and set pieces on films such as Star Wars episodes 2 and 3 (re-creating iconic robots R2-D2 and C3PO), Red Hill, The Loved Ones, The Bank Job, Storm Warning and Rogue.

He took on several roles for Crawlspace, which marked his debut as director. The film follows a squad of elite soldiers sent to infiltrate and extract the lead science team from Pine Gap, Australia's top secret underground military compound, after it comes under attack from unknown forces. (Declassified is in a similar vein).

XYZ Films sold North American rights to IFC Midnight, which distributed the film across multiple platforms from January 4.

Contact this reporter at bswift@if.com.au or on Twitter at @bcswift.