BAFTA TV Award Winner Gets BFI Backing For First Feature Film

Lowthorpe's "Call the Midwife"

Philippa Lowthorpe is one of three freshman directors to get support for their debut movies.

LONDON -- BAFTA award winning director Philippa Lowthorpe is one of three freshman filmmakers to get support from the British Film Institute's first feature fund.

Lowthorpe wrote the adaptation and directed The Other Boleyn Girl, starring Natascha McElhone and Johdi May for the BBC in 2003 and most recently worked as lead director for Call The Midwife.

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Lowthorpe's Sleeping Out, her debut feature, sees her team with writer Stephen Butchard and producer Simon Lewis.

The trio made the BBC One drama series Five Daughters in 2010.

Sleeping Out details the story of two 14-year-old boys, who live on the streets and dream of getting laid. When one falls in love with a murderer's young girlfriend, it puts their lives in danger and tests their friendship.

The BFI's first feature awards are subject to an editorial process that creates a level playing field for first time directors applying to the fund for movie projects budgeted under $3 million (£2 million). 

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BFI Film Fund director Ben Roberts said: "Last week the BFI’s Statistical Yearbook revealed there’s still a long road to travel in bringing stories from a broader range of filmmakers to our cinema screens, so it’s gratifying to see a diversity of voices finding opportunities through our First Feature strand."

Also garnering first feature support is Andrew Steggall, who originally trained as an actor and has directed theater and opera productions, including Stravinsky’s L'Histoire du Soldat at the Old Vic Theatre with Jeremy Irons in the U.K.

Steggall's debut movie project, Departure, is billed as a lyrical film which borrows elements from opera and mythology and charts the unraveling of an English family as they sell their holiday home while their teenage son wrestles with his sexuality and his mother confronts the end of her marriage.

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Produced by Pietro Greppi and Guillaume Tobo, Departure is set in the South of France.

Writer and director Jane Linfoot, whose resume boasts four short films, gets supports for her first feature The Incident, produced by Caroline Cooper Charles.

Billed as an atmospheric psychological drama, Linfoot's project details the story of a couple whose comfortable lives are disrupted when they ignore the plight of a troubled young girl.

The BFI did not disclose the dollar values of the three awards.