A not-for-profit film fund that aims to raise money to support independent film-makers through donations launched in the UK today (July 8).

The Tipping Point Film Fund (TPFF) is seeking donations from campaigning networks, film-goers and social networks to make films and documentaries that “advance public and political debate”. The fund is also supported by UK-based retail and finance group The Co-Operative, which has a 3 million-strong membership base.

Deborah Burton, TPFF co-founder, said it is hoping to recruit between 300 and 500 individuals who are willing to commit about $1,606 (£1000) per year.  This will be supplemented by big donors, seeking to make a one-off contribution, and campaigning for money through social networks.

It is hoped that TPFF will become a rolling, sustainable fund that can support about four to five films at any time. It aims to contribute large enough sums to ensure films are made and to allow creative independence.

Burton added: “As feature documentaries about social and environmental issues find a growing global audience, the struggle for production funding remains constant –despite recognition that such films can and do contribute to significant social change.”

The team behind the fund is led by Burton, a former head of development at Gabriel Byrne’s First Film Foundation and governor of the London Film School who has also been involved in many issue-based social campaigns, is a mix of campaigners and film industry figures. It also includes campaigner Kevin McCullough, playwright and theatre director Justin Butcher, actor Adjoa Andoh, Martin Drewry, director of charity Health Unlimited, and Karen Lee Street, a novelist and screenwriter.

The team were involved with Black Gold, the documentary about the global coffee industry, and it now has a further four films in development. It is also contributing finishing funding to The Road To Bethlehem, which tracks developments in the city over four Christmases. It has been made by Palestinian film-maker Leila Sansour and the fund is planning a Christmas 2010 release.

Meanwhile, it is also developing a project called Here Come’s The Sun, about the potential of solar power. A trailer will be ready to be show at the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December. It is also working with the makers of  Black Gold, Nick and Marc Francis, on a feature-documentary thriller about the hidden impact of the shadow banking system.

Paul Monaghan, head of social goals and sustainability at The Co-operative, said; “We believe that Tipping Point Film Fund can play a unique role in bring important untold stories to people’s attention, and hope that these films will help mobilise our members and the general public.”

Earlier this year, The Co-operative also formed a partnership with distributor Dogwoof to finance and distribute socially-conscious films theatrically. As reported on ScreenDaily, the first release will be Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country this month followed by The Vanishing of The Bees in October.