Acclaimed playwright Stephen Sewell hopes to make his directorial debut with an adaptation of his 2011 novel Babylon.

Production company Jaggi.Shute is currently in the process of financing the $3.5 million film.

Producer Liz Shute told IF that she hopes the film will be funded through private equity, state agencies and an LA-based sales agent: "We're not going down the usual Screen Australia route."

Babylon tells the story of an English backpacker who gets more than he bargained for when he hitches a ride with an enigmatic man named Dan. Jaggi.Shute first purchased the rights to the novel after Sewell came on board as consultant on another film.

Bruce Beresford (Mao's Last Dancer) and Janine Pearce (The Reef) will act as executive producers, with Beresford hoping to mentor Sewell through the directing process. Casting will be completed by Maura Fay Casting.

Shute says the plan is to begin filming later in the year in either Western or South Australia.

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