The first awards from theUK Film Council's new Development Fund for first features include three complete newcomers to the industry.

The trioare all screenwriters working on features: Neil Knowles for slacker comedyThe Bailey Method; Elena Fuller fordramaGreener about ayoung woman coming to terms with the death of her mother; and Richard Fordyce for his screenGuardian of the Shoreretelling of the story of the Battle Of Hastings. Each receives more than $20,000 (£10,000).

The biggest single award goes tofreelance writer/script editorRuth McCance forCapital based on the Karl Marx and Friederich Engels lives in London.

Other awards go toScreen InternationalUKStar OfTomorrowZam Salim to support his debut feature, deadpan comedyLaid Off.Salim has made a number of acclaimed shorts.

The final recipient is award-winning short film-maker Jocelyn Cammack's for her feature documentary A Necessary Life.

The First Feature Film Development Programme aims to identify and support emerging film-makers.

Alongside the financial support, the fund provides report from mentors, which this year includes Simon Beaufoy, Ayub Khan Din and Pawel Pawlikowski.