Award winning short film-maker Duane Hopkins has received $486,000 (£255,000) from the UK Film Council's New Cinema Fund towards his debut feature Better Things.
Currently in production, Better Things tells the story of a group of young adults struggling to get ahead in life with limited opportunities. Hopkins' script for the film, which will feature non-professional actors, has already won the Media New Talent Award at Cannes 2004. His previous film Love Me Or Leave Me Alone was also supported by the New Cinema Fund and went on to win several awards, including Best British Short at the Edinburgh film festival.
Other films being supported by the fund include Claudia Solti's first time feature That's For Me! (£149,800 - completion funding), a mockumentary about a celebrity obsessed but talentless actress, Richard Laxton's tale of asylum seekers in The Allotment (£400,000), his second film after Life & Lyrics, Bille Eltringham's comedy Mrs Ratcliffe's Revolution (£700,000) and Peter Greenaway's Nightwatching (£300,000), starring Martin Freeman as Rembrandt.
Previous Cinema Fund supported films include Ken Loach's The Wind That Shakes The Barley (Palme d'Or, Cannes 2006), Andrea Arnold's Red Road (Prix du Jury, Cannes 2006) and Kevin Macdonald's Touching The Void (Best British Film BAFTA).