British talent supports B3 Feature Lab

Program backs projects from black, minority filmmakers

LONDON -- Turner Prize-winning British artist-filmmaker Steve McQueen and award-winning director of HBO's "Life Support" Nelson George are among the names backing the return on the B3 Feature Lab.

The funding program, which debuted last year, is backed by Film4, Holland's Binger Film Lab and the Skillset Film Skills Fund and aims to provide a shot in the arm to movie projects from black and ethnic minority filmmakers here.

Sixteen participants will get the opportunity to be equipped with the best practical tools to develop a full-length film project capable of attracting production finance.

The participants will develop a treatment and extended story outline under the watchful eye of B3 Media and Film4 executives.

At the conclusion of the program, four projects will be given the chance to pitch for further development towards production as part of the indie production banner B3 Media and Film4, the film arm for U.K. broadcaster Channel 4's slate.

Writer-director Robert Samuels was a beneficiary of B3 Feature Lab 2008, and his feature "The Amazing Labours of Arthur Glass" is the first project to be developed by B3 and Film4.

"I was excited by the opportunities B3 Feature Lab offered me as a filmmaker," Samuels said. "I had written and directed several quirky short films and was ready to make the transition to a full-length feature film, so I hugely appreciate the fast-forward element of the program."

B3 Media founder Marc Boothe said the aim is to "produce the next wave of U.K. films that reflect the contemporary multiethnic experience and speak to international audiences."