This year's Northern Lights Film Festival (NLFF) in Newcastle will serve as a platform for launching a new feature film production prize in the UK worth up to $500,000 (£250,000).

The programme, dubbed The Big Pitch, is a new venture from micro studio Moxie Makers and will provide training and development for six producer/writer/director teams as they compete for the production finance prize. It is supported by Skillset.

The winner will receive guaranteed production finance from Moxie Makers together with a post-production deal with Molinare and UK distribution with Soda Makers, a new label from Soda Pictures.

The selection process will open onFriday at the start of this year's NLFF. Fifteen shortlisted applicants will be selected by an industry panel and eventually whittled down toeight teams. From then, the eight will undergo a four-day intensive workshop after which only six will secure a place onto the project and pitch development stage.

Remaining contestants will work over four months with industry professionals and four of the six teams will then sell their feature film ideas at the NLFF 2008 and compete for the $500,000 (£250,000) production prize.

The winner will see its gala film premiere at the NLFF 2009.

Christine Alderson, the producer/founder of Ipso Facto which manages Moxie Makers and The Big Pitch, said: 'In the short time since its launch, Moxie Makers has already attracted some sensational projects and amazing talent, so the launch of The Big Pitch is a natural progression in enabling us to discover who else is out there.'

The Big Pitch will close for entries on Feb 22, 2008. To register go to