Channel 4 has announced that it will boost Film4’s budget to $23.8m (£15m) per year for the next five years.
This marks at 50% increase on Film4’s current budget for film development and financing. In May 2010, the budget had been bumped up 20% to its previous level of $15.9m (£10m) per year. In comparison, BBC Films has an annual budget of $19m (£12m).
The move comes as Film4-backed Never Let Me Go is set open the BFI London Film Festival tonight; also, Film4’s Sue Bruce-Smith spoke at the Screen UK Film Summit today. She said that the extra funding wouldn’t radically alter the business there, but rather allow them to back more projects for development and production, including the chance to back bigger films.
The news represents especially good news while the UK industry waits to hear the government’s plans for film after abolishing the UK Film Council.
Tessa Ross, Controller of Film4 and Channel 4 Drama, said: “It’s wonderful to be able to deliver some good news to our industry, most importantly because we believe that there is a wealth of great talent here in the UK that this extra money will allow us to support. At a time when funding is increasingly difficult to access it will allow us to extend our reach further towards new voices and new audiences.”
Channel 4 Chief Executive David Abraham, said, “From the opening night film on Channel 4 in 1982, Walter, to tonight’s opening night movie at the London Film Festival, Never Let Me Go, Film4 has played a central role in supporting the British film industry and the current team, led by Tessa Ross, has an unrivalled track record of success in developing and supporting British film making. Film has a special and unique role in UK culture, promoting a wealth of extraordinary British talent from storytellers and producers to directors and actors. I have been determined during the current process of creative renewal to ensure that it plays a commensurate part in Channel 4’s public service delivery.”
Film4’s other recent projects include Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, which will close the LFF; Peter Mullan’s San Sebastian-winning Neds, Toronto hot seller Submarine, and Cannes standout Another Year by Mike Leigh.
Films in the pipeline include Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights, Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block, Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur, Kevin Macdonald’s The Eagle, Miranda July’s The Future, Pawel Pawlikowski’s The Woman In The Fifth and Lone Scherfig’s One Day.