Channel 4 increasing Film4 budget

20% rise gives company $15 mil for development, production

LONDON -- Channel 4 is hoping from small acorns mighty oaks grow after the U.K. broadcaster said it is pumping an extra 20% into the annual budget of its standalone filmmaking division Film4.

The increase takes the annual cash available for Film4 to put towards development and production to £10 million ($15 million).

While the numbers don't look large on paper, the broadcaster's filmmaking arm has a track record in garnering influence, plaudits and kudos for projects from humble cash stakes.

The film unit can lay claim to being pivotal in the backing of two Festival de Cannes entries this year, Mike Leigh's "Another Year" In Competition and Hideo Nakata's "Chatroom," which secured a slot in Un Certain Regard.

The budget hike, effective this year, follows a Digital Economy Act law enshrining a commitment to film production into Channel 4's public service remit for the first time in the broadcaster's history.

Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham said: "Film4 embodies all that's great about Channel 4's place in our creative culture. For 28 years it has played a distinctive role in the British film industry and we are delighted that this has now been formally acknowledged in the update to Channel 4's remit contained in the Digital Economy Act. Under my watch investment in British film will continue to sit at the heart of Channel 4's public service mission."

Film4 controller and Channel 4 Drama chief Tessa Ross said the extra £2 million gives filmmakers "great hope for the future."

Film4's upcoming slate includes Danny Boyle's "127 Hours," "The Eagle of the Ninth," directed by Kevin Macdonald and Pawel Pawlikowski's "The Woman In The Fifth."
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