UK film super-body the Film Council has partnered with Hi8us Projects for a new £1m scheme, which aims to give children the opportunity to make short films on digital video.

Birmingham-based Hi8us Projects - a charity with a record in creating film and television projects with young people - will run and manage the UK-wide scheme, dubbed First Light.

The scheme will enable children aged 8 to 18 to make films up to ten minutes long, using a range of low-cost digital technology. Children will also work with film industry mentors and advisors, experiencing all aspects of film production.

There will also be possibilities for broadcasting and exhibition of the films, says the Film Council.

John Woodward, chief executive officer of the Film Council said: "The opportunity to unleash children's creative abilities and encourage links between young people and the film industry is essential for the Film Council's long term aims to build on the UK's already prolific skills and talent base."

Jonnie Turpie, Hi8us' project director said, "[The scheme] will allow us to build on our collaborative production and educational work with young people from all walks of life, right across the UK."

First Light is expected to be open for applications from May 2001.