'Volver' among Film Council P&A winners

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LONDON -- French-owned, U.K.-based Pathe Distribution was the biggest winner in the latest round of funding from the U.K. Film Council's prints and advertising cash pool.

The council said Wednesday it has awarded Pathe ?250,000 ($467,000) for Pedro Almodovar's "Volver," enabling the distributor to double the U.K. rollout to reach more than 80 screens. The foreign-language movie has earned more than ?2.5 million ($4.7 million) at the U.K. boxoffice to date.

The U.K. Film Council fund is designed to bring a broader range of films to audiences across the U.K. by allocating cash to individual distribution campaigns. The fund provides ?2 million ($3.7 million) a year for the wider release of specialized, art-house and foreign-language films.

Other awards included one for Icon U.K., the British releasing arm of Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey's Icon, which secured ?150,000 ($280,000) for Michele Placido's Italian gangster flick "Romanzo Criminale." The award will expand the film's release from 20 to 60 sites including 40 sites for distribution via the U.K. Film Council's Digital Screen Network, the Council said.

And United International Pictures, the overseas releasing arm co-owned by Paramount and Universal, was among the round's winners, scooping ?106,380 ($199,000) for Richard Laxton's low-budget "Life & Lyrics," starring Ashley Walters.

Brit indie distributor Optimum Releasing wound up with ?158,000 ($295,000) for Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth," a fantasy film shot in Spanish and presented with English subtitles. The award will expand the release of the film from 40 to 75 sites and also help to support the digital, advertising and publicity campaign.
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