In a welcome boost after itsNew Zealand period piece River Queen stalled mid-shoot, UK media concernCivilian Content aims to double its production levels this year after securinga $12.9m (£7m) tranche of funding.

The publicly-listed companyhas accessed the production funding through its partnership with financierSureFire, which has raised the money through UK tax incentives. The twocompanies have already raised development cash through a separate fund for projects such as RiverQueen, the production which had to be postponed this month due to actressSamantha Morton's illness.

Civilian and SureFire willinvest the cash during the second half of this year in films with a grossproduction cost of more than $36.8m (£20m).In consideration for the fund exceeding the minimum agreed level,Civilian will issue SureFire with 333,333 new ordinary shares, bringing thefinancier's shareholding in Civilian to 3.15%.

Civilianaims to earn production fees during the second half of 2004 and, with sales armThe Works handling international rights, sales agency commissions during 2005.

"Theexploitation of both funds will further enhance the fees and commissions thatCivilian Content will earn over the next twelve months, and will effectivelydouble the number of films that we will put into production in 2004," saidChris Auty, CEO of Civilian.

TheSureFire production fund, co-founded byMichael Henry and James Atherton, offers filmmakers up to 50% of a budget once a saleand leaseback deal is factored in. Other Civilian projects likely to benefitinclude Silk, adapted from the best seller by Alessandro Baricco.Francois Girard is to direct, with Domenico Procacci and Nadine Luqueproducing. Meanwhile, An Education is a bitter-sweet coming of age storywritten by best-selling novelist Nick Hornby from a memoir by journalist LynnBarber.