U.K. Film Council to fund 'Cottage'


LONDON -- The U.K. Film Council will furnish Paul Andrew Williams' "The Cottage" with £770,000 ($1.5 million) from its Premiere Fund, the government-backed funding body said Wednesday.

The project already received cash backing from the Council's development fund at script stage, the organization said.

Billed as a black-comedy horror, Williams' movie is set in a remote part of the countryside and details the story of two brothers who bungle the kidnapping of the daughter of an underworld boss and stumble upon a dark rural secret.

Andy Serkis, known to millions for his role as Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, heads up a cast that includes Reece Shearsmith ("The League of Gentleman"), Jennifer Ellison ("The Phantom of the Opera") and Steve O'Donnell ("Shakespeare in Love").

Williams also wrote the script for the film, which Ken Marshall is producing for Steel Mill Pictures. Martin Pope of Magic Light Pictures is executive producing. Backers include Isle of Man Film, Screen Yorkshire and French-owned, U.K.-based Pathe.

Pathe Distribution will distribute the film in the U.K., with Pathe Pictures International handling worldwide sales excluding North America. Cinetic Media will handle North American sales duties.

Williams achieved solid critical notices here for his debut film, "London to Brighton," and scored a British Independent Film Award, Dinard's Golden Hitchcock and the Edinburgh Film Festival's new director nod.

The U.K. Film Council also helped Williams and the producers get "London" finished and into the marketplace, awarding completion funding through the New Cinema Fund and P&A funding for the film's U.K. release.

Premiere Fund chief Sally Caplan said, "Paul Andrew Williams is a fresh British talent with a unique voice and vision. Being able to support this exciting new filmmaker in making his next project reflects our commitment to new talent."