Comedians, novelists and playwrights are among those to received first feature film development awards from the UK Film Council.

The recent First Feature Film Development awards will support new films being developed by talent from all areas of the arts across the UK.

Awards range from $9000 to $37,000 with a total of $440,000 given out.

Comedian Catherine Shepherd's comedy Like A Virgin; Turner Prize winning artist Gillian Wearing and playwright Leo Butler's film Self-Made; and writer Matthew Broughton's boxingfilmThe Basildon Brawl are among the 18 projects receiving funding.

Tanya Seghatchian, head of the Development Fund said 'It's always exciting to be involved in the conception of a film, but to be on board from the very start of a new filmmaker's career is a true privilege. The breadth of talent that we are supporting through this programme is genuinely exciting and we hope that nurturing these great new voices will be key for the enrichment of our industry.'