U.K. Film Council launches $23 mil movie fund

Wharton, Francke Collins working with Tanya Seghatchian

LONDON -- Natascha Wharton, Lizzie Francke and Chris Collins have signed up as gatekeepers of government backed subsidy body the U.K. Film Council's new look £15 million ($23 million) single movie fund entity, working alongside Tanya Seghatchian.

The trio of familiar faces on the international circuit will be tasked with funding "emerging, experimental and world class filmmakers" at the fund.

Wharton, a former head of development at Working Title Films, is tasked with the fund's ring-fenced development ambitions. Franke, already a development producer for the U.K. Film Council's development fund since January 2008, is to focus on experimental movies, national engagement and showcasing new talent.

And Collins, a fellow development producer for the U.K. Film Council, plans to focus on ideas for future film practices for both emerging and established filmmakers, from micro / low budget features and shorts, through to 3D blockbusters.

The cabinet shuffle comes as the Council's three-month consultation on its new look comes to an end.

It has emerged blinking into the daylight as part of a wide-ranging restructuring at the body following budget cuts and strategic review and follows the merger of the development, new cinema and premiere funds.

The fund will be topped up by any recoupment made by the Council from its movie investments and will focus on first and second time film-makers as well as supporting innovative and digital film-making.

"With the right level of support, a successful British film industry can continue to help get the U.K. out of recession, drive innovation and create more highly-skilled jobs. Further tough choices probably lie ahead, but having reduced our overheads by 20% and positively responded to the needs of British filmmakers we're now in the best place we can be to support and promote U.K. film in the years ahead," U.K. Film Council chairman Tim Bevan said.
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