Scottish Screen,BBC Scotland, BBC Films and ContentFilm have launched a low budget film schemeunder the banner Fast Forward Features that aims to bring US indie-stylefilmmaking to the UK.

The initiativeaims to fully fund three low budget features from emerging talent costing up to£1.2 million per film. ContentFilm will handle international sales and UKdistribution.

David Thompson,head of BBC Films, said: "We want to try and find ways of making filmsprimarily with new directors in a radically different way andat a muchmore cost effective price - in the manner of American independent cinema."

The new schemefollows on the success of Tartan Shorts, the short film initiative whichnurtured the likes of Lynne Ramsay, Peter Mullan and Young Adam director DavidMackenzie, and attracted stars such as Laura Fraser, Gary Lewis, Emma Thompsonand Kevin McKidd. It will work across popular projects across all genres, withthe aim of appealing to mainstream audiences.

"Fast ForwardFeatures is an imaginative scheme which guarantees a high level of support forthe filmmakers," said Claire Chapman, head of production at Scottish Screen,the local funding body. "This is a tremendous chance for filmmakers to movefrom short filmmaking into mainstream movies and the budget level is sufficientto allow them quite a degree of freedom."

The initiative isopen to Scottish-based writers, producers and directors. While the scheme is targeted at new talent,applications will be considered from people with a very low budget featureunder the belt.

ContentFilm'sLaurence Gornall, who previously pre-bought Mackenzie's debut film, The Last Great Wilderness, at FeatureFilm Co, added: "Both Scottish Screen and the BBC have a terrific reputationfor breaking new talent, and we are delighted to be partnering with them onthis exciting and innovative venture."