U.K. Film Council's revamped fund sets slate

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LONDON -- Famous names including Bruce Robinson, Patrick Marber and Terence Davies are mixing it up with fresh faces such as Marisa Zanotti and Polly Stenham in the first round of awards dished out by the U.K. Film Council's revamped development fund.

Development fund chief Tanya Seghatchian, who took up the reins this year, announced her debut development slate Friday after revamping how the fund operates (HR 10/2).

Oscar-nominated writer-director Bruce Robinson has secured a 250,000 pound ($510,000) cash injection for his efforts to develop his dark comic novel "The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman" into a film.

Patrick Marber, an Oscar nominee for the "Closer" script, is adapting his hit stage play "Don Juan in Soho" for the big screen and has secured 150,000 pound ($306,000) toward that effort. Marber and longtime collaborator Robert Fox will produce the film, which is being developed in partnership with Channel 4 filmmaking arm Film4.

British filmmaker Terence Davies ("The House of Mirth") is working with producer Olivia Stewart on "Mad About the Boy," a comedy Davies has written and will also direct, obtaining just short of 10,000 pound ($20,000) to help the process along.

Writer-director Christopher Smith, who burst onto the scene with a duo of horror movies, "Creep" and "Severance," is developing "Triangle," billed as a psychological horror.

Smith collaborator Jason Newmark will produce with the project, receiving 7,500 pound ($15,000) from the fund.

Other fund beneficiaries include "Blackwaterside," a first feature film collaboration between Scottish playwright David Greig, director Marisa Zanotti and producer Angela Murray.

The trio's debut feature, billed as a dark contemporary coming-of-age fable about two teenage girls who go looking for a party and find themselves lost in Blackwaterside woods, has grabbed 23,500 pound ($48,000) from the fund.

Writer Polly Stenham, critically acclaimed this year for her play "That Face" and shortlisted this week for the Evening Standard's Charles Wintour Theatre Award for most promising playwright, is now adapting her work for the cinema. Stenham secures 15,000 pounds ($30,500) to help transpose her play to the big screen.
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