BFI Production - the UK funding operation that supported early work from such film-makers as Ratcatcher's Lynne Ramsay, 24/7's Shane Meadows and The Full Monty writer Simon Beaufoy - has unveiled a new feature slate as it moves under the control of newly-created film super body The Film Council.
Wonderland writer Laurence Coriat, Turner-prize winning artist Steve McQueen and leading documentary maker Philippa Lowthorpe are amongst the film-makers on the seven projects. BFI Production is developing the slate with FilmFour Lab, the low-budget unit of the UK's FilmFour. Roger Shannon, head of BFI Production, is finalising a second feature slate that will be developed with BBC Films, the feature arm of public broadcaster the BBC.
BFI Production, which has traditionally supported innovative, art-house fare from such film-makers as Terence Davies, Sally Potter and Peter Greenaway, recently had some commercial success with titles such as Love Is The Devil, Under The Skin and Beautiful People, which sold well overseas.
The operation is widely expected to run a fund for financing the production of cutting-edge films at The Film Council, although it is unclear whether this will encompass features as well as shorts. While BFI Production has continued to develop features and produce shorts, its cash-strapped parent, the British Film Institute (BFI), pulled out of funding feature production under former heads Alan Parker and John Woodward. Parker and Woodward now head the Film Council, which is taking over state-backed support for film and will oversee the BFI.
Shannon anticipates an interim period of six months after the Council launches in April during which BFI Production will continue its current activities. After that, BFI Production - or at least a revamped version of the body - may well fund feature production with cash from the Council in partnership with FilmFour and BBC Films.
"In the discussions that the BFI has had, representatives of the Film Council have shown great interest in supporting funding opportunities for new and cutting-edge film-makers," Shannon said.
The FilmFour slate includes Panic Beach, the story of young woman dealing with her father's imminent death. Simone Horrocks, who directed the short Spindrift for the BFI and Channel 4, will direct from a script by Coriat. Chris Curling will produce.
Lowthorpe is directing I Love My Dad, which is set in Bristol's Italian community and revolves around a father-daughter relationship and food. Kate Iles is producing.
McQueen will direct Timbuktu, about a young black man's fragmented journey through Europe to Mali in Africa. Keith Griffith is producing.
Alrick Riley, director of the short film The Elevator, is directing Burnt, a film about the black creative community in Bristol set against the trip-hop music scene. Stella Nwimo and Stephen Philip will produce.
Dom Rotheroe, director of documentary A Sarajevo Diary, is to shoot My Brother Rob from his own script. Carl Schoenfeld is producing the project, about the intense relationship between two 13 year-olds surrounded by destructive adult forces. The project is to shoot on digital video.
Barnaby Burke, which charts the decline of an English family through the eyes of the son, is part of the debut production slate of art-house distributor Artificial Eye. Piero di Pietro, who has a background in photography and music videos, is directing. Former BFI Production head Ben Gibson is producing.
Documentary film-maker Dan Reed is to direct Straightheads, which satirises a young couple whose consciences are "amputated".