U.K. Indie Film Fund Doubles Budget to $1.7 Million

Regional funding body Creative England will pledge up to $340,000 per project from a cash pool fueled by the U.K. national lottery.

LONDON — U.K. regional film funding giant Creative England is doubling its lottery-fueled production purse to $1.7 million (£1 million) for 2014/2015.

The fund, run by industry veteran Richard Holmes for the last six months, will see individual awards boosted to a maximum of $340,000 (£200,000) per project and will now include feature films with budgets of up to $3.4 milllion (£2 million), "opening up the fund to even more upcoming and established filmmakers than before," Creative England said.

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Before the boost, the maximum award per project was $255,000 for budgets of up to $2.5 million.

The organization will continue to prioritize projects that have strong regional elements both in front of and behind the camera. It is also planning to offer support on presales and U.K. tax credits for certain awarded productions through the Regional Growth Fund.

Since October 2012, the Fund has invested $1.1 million (£650,000) across projects, including Norfolk-based Andrew Haigh's 45 Years, his second feature after the sleeper hit Weekend and Peter Middleton and James Spinney's Notes on Blindness, the pilot for which was also funded by Creative England and premiered at Sundance 2014 before screening in competition at SXSW 2014.

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Holmes, senior film executive of production at Creative England, said: "With this increased funding, we want to create more opportunities for filmmakers in what we all know is a tough financial climate for independent film. We also want to encourage filmmakers to come forward with projects that are intended to engage with broader audiences, such as comedies, thrillers and horror. These films are hard to get right, of course, but our production fund is there to take risks and invest in projects that are looking to experiment with innovative financial models."

The Creative England production fund is supported by the British Film Institute and funded through the U.K. National Lottery.