The UK Film Council isclaiming a success for the first year and a half of its p&a fund forspecialised films, unveiling figures showing that titles backed by the £1m fundhave grossed £15m at the box-office.

The fund, which underwroterelease costs on such films as WhaleRider, Goodbye Lenin! and The StationAgent, has helped generate two million admissions across its slate. Thefund is aimed at giving UK cinema-goers a broader diversity of films and thecouncil argues that the initiative has shown audiences want a wider choice.

"Cinema is currently morepopular in the UK than at any time in the past 30 years, but historically therehas often been only a very limited choice of film available to film-goers atany one time, especially outside London," said Pete Buckingham, the council'shead of distribution and exhibition. "This initiative has helped to giveaudiences across the country access to a much wider choice of UK andinternational films."

Critics have accused thefund of chasing after more commercial arthouse films in order to ensure thescheme demonstrates high admissions levels, but Buckingham highlighted therange of releases that have secured support out of the 20 titles to winbacking.

"Whether we are dealing withhits such as Goodbye Lenin! and Girl With A Pearl Earring, or smallerreleases such as The Return or Respiro, it is clear that increasedsupport for the marketing and distribution of these films has brought benefitsfor film-makers, distributors, exhibitors and, most of all, audiences."

The council, whichadministers National Lottery support for film, calculates that the total numberof prints has increased from 601 to 941 through the fund, enabling cinemagoersin regions that normally miss first run titles to see them at the same time asaudiences in major cities.

Title, distributor, award

The Barbarian Invasions (Artificial Eye), £49,900
Belleville Rendez-Vous (Metro),£80,000
Capturing the Friedmans (Tartan),£66,764
Bad Education (Pathe), £100,000
Girl With A Pearl Earring (Pathe), £70,000,
Raising Victor Vargas (Momentum),£75,000
Goodbye Lenin! (UGC), £90,000
Krámpack (Parasol Peccadillo),£15,000
The Motorcycle Diaries (Pathe), £120,000
Whale Rider (Icon), £100,000
Respiro (Metro), £110,415
The Return (UGC), £44,300
Spirited Away (Optimum), £40,000
The Station Agent (BVI), £100,100
The Story Of The Weeping Camel (UGC),£85,000
Swimming Pool (UGC), £70,000
Young Adam (Warner Bros), £60,000
Zatoichi (Artificial Eye), £70,000
Princesa (For All Films Ltd), £10,000
Code 46 (Verve) £75,000