The UK's Film Council and the BBC have partnered with Canada's National Film Board (NFB) to create a $2.6m (Euros 2.1m) fund dedicated to the production of feature-length documentaries for theatrical release.
The World Documentary Fund (WDF), unveiled in Cannes, will finance three to four feature documentaries over a period of two years.
The three partners will contribute equal amounts to the fund; in return each will receive certain rights to the resulting projects. The BBC will land broadcast and non-theatrical rights for the UK and Ireland, and the NFB will handle rights for the rest of the world on behalf of the partnership.
The NFB has an agreement with the CBC to broadcast the films in Canada. The first film to be funded by the WDF is Game Over: Kasparov And The Machine by Vikram Jayanti (The Man Who Bought Mustique), an NFB-Alliance Atlantis co-production slated for autumn release. AAC's Momentum Pictures will distribute in the UK.
The selection committee for WDF projects includes Tom Perlmutter, Director General of the NFB's English Program, Nick Fraser, Commissioning Editor of the BBC's international documentary strand, Storyville, and Paul Trijbits, head of the New Cinema Fund at the Film Council. Eligible projects must qualify as Canada-UK treaty co-productions.