The major change is now that BBC Films will be managed by a new four-member BBC Films Board rather than by a single Head Of Films. [The previous head, David Thompson, previously announced his plans to depart.] The aim, Tranter said, was 'to avoid the domination of taste that can come from a more traditional pyramid hierarchy.'
The new model is designed to to create a series of gatekeepers. Tranter promised 'a fair forum for decisions on what is to be developed and what films the board wants BBC Films to invest in.' She promised that talent would be judged on its 'overall work,' not just on its last project.
The board is comprised of Christine Langan (commissioning editor, BBC Films), Jamie Laurenson (executive producer, BBC Films), Joe Oppenheimer (executive producer, BBC Films) and Jane Wright (commercial affairs and general manager, BBC Films).
'I know there has been a lot of speculation about what we are doing with BBC Films and what BBC Films means to the BBC,' Tranter acknowledged. She was unable to confirm what level of financing BBC Films will receive in future. (This is expected to be confirmed later this month.)
The budget currently stands at $20 million (£10 million) a year. The signs are that the financing pool will be increased, but by nowhere near the amount that had been envisaged before the less-than-favourable licence fee settlement last year.
Nonetheless, Tranter was striking a resolutely upbeat note. 'What I can confirm is something very simple and very straightforward...the funding from the BBC for its feature film development and production has never been secure at it is now. That funding is there for the rest of the charter period, in place for the next six years.' She added that if the BBC had wanted 'to renegue or dodge or change its commitment to BBC Films, this would have been the moment to do it. It (the BBC) is absolutely, categorically, not doing that.'
Under Tranter, BBC Films is likely to have an even more aggressively UK-oriented focus than before. 'We won't be developing so many films that are entirely set in America because the Americans can do that,'
she commented, although she added that the BBC could potentially still back film projects 'that they (the Americans) don't want to do or say about themselves. We certainly aren't going to be limiting ourselves to just doing films about our island.'
Tranter also explained the thinking behind the imminent re-location of BBC Films from its West End offices on Mortimer Street to BBC Television Centre further west in White City. 'We want it (BBC Films) literally and metaphorically to be at the centre of everything we do at BBC Fiction.'
BBC Films currently has a number of high-profile projects in development or production. These range from Revolutionary Road, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, and The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley, to the long-gestating Edge Of Darkness, which it is now working on with Graham King's GK Films.
Meanwhile, Peter Morgan's new Tony Blair project (following on from The Deal and The Queen) is also likely to find a home at the BBC. Other new projects being pushed forward include Heyday's Is There Anybody There', scripted by Peter Harness and directed by John Crowley, and starring Michael Caine. The US partner on that project - now in pre-production - is Big Beach (the outfit behind Little Miss Sunshine.)
Tranter also signalled a new emphasis on family films. Family-oriented projects in the pipeline include Peter Pan In Scarlet and Swallows and Amazons.
As Controller, BBC Fiction, Jane Tranter is already responsible for BBC Films, and Christine Langan, Jamie Laurenson and Joe Oppenheimer will report to her, with Jane Wright reporting to Claire Evans, Head of Operations and Business Affairs, BBC Fiction.
While the day to day management of BBC Films will be handled collectively by the Board, and all four members of the board will be executive producing projects, the board members will have specific areas of responsibility.
Jane Wright will chair the board and be responsible for day to day operations, finance, and distribution.
Langan will manage the development slate and development team.
Laurenson will work with BBC 4 and Ben Stephenson, head of drama comissioning, on the channel's slate of single films.
Oppenheimer will manage the BBC's relationship with HBO Films.