First features A Patch of Fog and Beast to receive support from the BFI Film Fund.

The BFI Film Fund is to fund two first-time filmmakers - Michael Lennox with A Patch of Fog and Michael Pearce with Beast, through its First Feature Awards.

The Film Fund considers features from first-time directors, working with budgets under £2m ($3.3m), at quarterly intervals

Lennox is a Belfast-born filmmaker who studied directing at the National Film and Television School (NFTS). His short The Back of Beyond was nominated for best short film at the European Film Awards and won awards at Locarno and the Royal Society of Television Awards.

His latest short Boogaloo & Graham was selected to screen at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Chosen as the winner of Northern Ireland Screen’s New Talent Focus scheme, A Patch of Fog is being produced and financed by The Fyzz Facility and supported by Northern Ireland Screen and Goldcrest Post Production.

The psychological thriller is set in Belfast and follows a celebrated novelist’s slow entrapment within the clutches of an increasingly obsessive security guard.

Producers are Robert Jones, Wayne Marc Godfrey and David Gilbery.

Jersey-born writer and director Pearce was named a Screen International Star of Tomorrow in 2011 and his National Film & Television School graduation film Madrugada film won Best Short Film at the RTS awards.

His next short film, Rite, was nominated at the BAFTAs and BIFAs, screened at 40 international film festivals and won Best Film at the Rushes Soho Film Festival, Message2Man and the Almeria Film Festival.

His recent short, Keeping Up With the Joneses, was produced through the BFI Shorts scheme and was nominated for a BAFTA this year.

Pearce’s first feature film Beast, produced by Kristian Brodie and Myles Payne of Agile Films, is described as a love story trapped within a horror film; a dark fairytale about a an emotionally isolated woman who comes under the spotlight of an island community when she falls in love with a man who is suspected of a series of brutal murders.

Ben Roberts, director of the BFI Film Fund, described the two films as “excellent examples of original filmmaking that will grip audiences”.