U.K. film fund is doing the splits

New plan divides pool between established, emerging

The U.K. Film Council's £4 million ($8 million) annual development cash pool has been revamped under the watchful eye of fund chief Tanya Seghatchian.

Seghatchian said Monday that she is dividing the fund into two main areas, one for established moviemakers and a second for first-time filmmakers.

The Feature Film Development program is billed as a dedicated strand for producers, production companies and filmmakers with proven track records. Successful applicants will be able to access awards to fund several stages of development and be encouraged to bring development partnership funding from other sources.

But Seghatchian said such funding wouldn't be essential for a successful application. Awards likely will range from £25,000 ($50,000)-£125,000 ($250,000) for this part of the pool.

The other part of the new-look fund is the First Feature Film Development pool. It aims to identify and support emerging screenwriters, writer-directors and writer-director-producer teams who have not made a feature film or who have not had a feature film released theatrically or broadcast on U.K. television.

Generally, awards of up to £25,000 ($50,000) will be offered to screenwriters and writer-directors to write and develop a feature film, the council said.

Seghatchian and her team also will dish out Signature Awards, set up for "world-class filmmakers with their own distinctive voice/ style" looking to make British films with "cultural relevance here."

The new fund chief said the council is scrapping its "development premium," which made producers pay back more than they received on the first day of shooting.

Seghatchian said the changes were made to bring the fund in line with what happens in development in the production sector and draws on her experience there. She has a host of producer credits, including early outings of the "Harry Potter" movies and Pawel Pawlikowski's "My Summer of Love."

"What I really want to do is to focus the whole process on the talent. I want to create a new generation of writers, and I think our new-look fund can help do that," Seghatchian said.

The changes are effective immediately, the council said.