Director Danny Boyle has joined the growing number of mainstream film-makers keen to support the development of digital technology at grassroots level.
Speaking to Screen International editor-in-chief Colin Brown during an on-stage Q&A at the Production Show in London on March 14, the director of Trainspotting and The Beach urged the UK's Film Council to do more for new directors using the medium.
He said: "The Lottery Franchise should be for digital video. It's only if you do something like that and bias it in its favour that you'll truly exploit it. I think it will be a very exciting way of pushing it forward."
Boyle himself has just finished shooting Strumpet and Vacuuming Completely Nude In Paradise for the BBC with digital film, using Dogme cameraman Anthony Dod Mantle on the Manchester-set projects. He praised the format for its low-cost, flexibility and suitability for unconventional stories, and added that he hoped to incorporate it in forthcoming projects.
While championing the digital format, Boyle did not eschew traditional methods: he is believed to be shooting Tick-Tock, a race-against-time thriller written by Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry for Columbia Pictures, in the autumn.
A spokesman for the Film Council said that while the franchises had been set up three years ago under the Arts Council, it still channelled cash through its New Cinema Fund. This week it announced $294,000 for This Is Not A Love Song, which will be shot on digital video, as part of its annual $7.2m (£5m) allocation. He said: "The fund is committed to encouraging film-making using new digital technology and is supporting innovative and ground-breaking techniques in both production and delivery areas of the UK film industry."
Boyle's call comes as more mainstream film-makers become involved in the grass-roots growth of digital film-making. Earlier this month the Robert Zemeckis Center For Digital Arts opened at the University Of Southern California. Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Universal have all given money or equipment, while George Lucas and Steven Spielberg followed director Zemeckis's lead in donating funds for the 35,000-sq foot facility.