UK council funding helps films widen reach

MUMBAI: The UK Film Council’s P&A Fund has recently funded a wide range of films including features and documentaries.

The latest round of awards to film distributors continue to help gain more exposure for specialised, foreign and arthouse films which might otherwise only have a limited distribution, increasing viewing choice for audiences, says the council.

Lionsgate UK was awarded £250,000 for Florian Henkel von Donnersmarck’s award-winning feature, winner of the Academy award for Best Foreign Language film, The Lives of Others, released on 13 April last year. A German film, it is an intriguing thriller and moving love story set in GDR-era East Germany about a Stasi agent assigned to a high profile playwright and his glamorous girlfriend. The award will support a wider release for the film from 30 to 90 sites using a mixture of 35mm prints and 30 digital sites, and publicity costs.
Metrodome Film Distribution was awarded £102,231 for Rachid Bouchareb’s award-winning and Academy award winning Best Foreign Language film nominee Days of Glory, released on 30 March last year. Shot in French and Arabic with sub-titles, it is the forgotten story of Algerian soldiers who fought alongside the French in World War II. The award will enable Metrodome to release an additional 20 prints and use the Digital Screen Network. The media campaign for the film will be increased through selective TV advertising.

Tartan Film Distribution was awarded £150,000 for Paul Verhoeven’s award-winning and BAFTA nominated feature Black Book which was released on 19 January 2006. Shot in Dutch, German and Hebrew with a European cast, the award helped the distributor widen the film’s release to 85 screens with digital and 35mm prints, as well as increase the spend on national advertising.

Tartan was also awarded £5,000 for Nick Broomfield’s award-winning feature Ghosts. Using a cast of non-professional actors, the award-winning filmmaker created a drama chronicling the true story of Chinese illegal immigrants in a British seaside town, and the tragic deaths of 23 cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay.

Park Circus was awarded £29,850 for the re-issue of Michael Curtiz’s classic Casablanca. One of the most iconic films of all time, the award supported a Valentine’s Day ‘event’ digital release strategy, screening the film in 50 cinemas nationwide on the 14 February. Soda Pictures was awarded £5,000 for Philip Gröning’s award-winning documentary Into Great Silence. A film about life inside the Grande Chartreuse, the head monastery of the reclusive Carthusian Order in France, the award enabled a digital release to supplement the 35mm print distribution, supporting an estimated 40 additional bookings.

Optimum Releasing was awarded £3,500 for David Lynch’s award-winning film Inland Empire to be released on 9 March. A three-hour journey into the surreal starring Jeremy Irons, Laura Dern and others in a series of loosely connected vignettes, the award allowed Optimum to significantly increase their digital distribution for the film, thereby allowing more timely access to it by the core arthouse audience.

The Distribution and Exhibition Fund has also made an award of £ three million over three years to Sledge, the marketing agency responsible for a major new film website, launched as part of the UK Film Council’s Audience Development Fund. The site will feature a recommendation engine that uniquely matches individuals to forthcoming films, personalised space for members, and will offers a film-centric social network. Other content will includes a film screening scheduler and locater, ticketing links, film exhibitor information, reviews, news, interactive forums, offers and downloads, says the council.