Scottish Screen has selected five production companies to receive substantial finance through the organisation's Slate Fund. Launched in March 2008, the Slate Fund was originally intend to offer a share of $741,325 (£400,000) to a maximum of four companies. The quantity and quality of the applications has led to the five successful companies securing additional finance and market interest in their development slates.

The investment in project development over a two-year period will now amount to $2m (£1.1m).

The five companies to benefit from the Slate Fund are Sigma Films (offered £112,500 investment), the company behind such award-winning features as Red Road and Hallam Foe, Black Camel Pictures (offered £100,000) which made Outpost, Fudakowski Last LLP (offered £150,000), a joint venture between producers Bob Last and Tsotsi producer Peter Fudakowski, Crab Apple Films (offered £99,000) and Tern Television (offered £100,000).

Carole Sheridan, head of talent & creativity at Scottish Screen, said: 'The companies being offered support have very strong industry links. Slate Fund investment will allow these companies to capitalise on pre-existing relationships and help build new ones for the future. In particular we would encourage other producers to seek out these companies and work in partnership with them in developing projects that can be presented to broadcasters, financiers, sales agents and distributors.'

Sheridan has also announced that Scottish Screen has revoked the requirement for producers to pay back a premium on development loans.