Film Council spreading wealth

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The U.K. Film Council dipped into its reserve funds Thursday to fuel an additional £5.5 million ($11 million) in annual spending across the movie industry here over the next three years (HR 5/11).

The extra money is being drawn from the government-backed organization's cash re-serves, which are stoked by the recoupment positions the UKFC takes on projects when allocating production funding, a system often criticized by producers.

A UKFC spokesperson said in an interview that the organization has opted to splash the cash rather than sit on it because "there was no point in saving it for a rainy day."

Any industry prayers for a wet season have been answered as the council announced a range of initiatives including a U.K. Film Festival Fund, which will receive an investment of £1.5 million ($3 million) a year through March 2010 to "create a thriving film festival scene in the U.K. giving the public better access" to film from around the world.

The council also is putting an extra £2 million ($4 million) toward ramping up the efforts of its p&a fund, which will now be known as the Digitization and Marketing Fund. The new name and look will aim to grow even wider the theatrical and online distribution of British and specialized film.

The UKFC also said it is making £1 million ($2 million) a year available to a new U.K. Digital Film Archives Fund "to open up access to the nation's unparalleled film heritage" and establishing a Partnership Challenge Fund with an annual £1 million ($2 million) budget to "bring new funding partnerships together" with other sectors.
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