As part of a short film scheme created last August, The Film Council's New Cinema Fund and FilmFour's experimental arm FilmFour Lab have teamed with Elisabeth Murdoch's film and television company Shine Entertainment to produce the Comedy Shorts Scheme.
Aiming to form links between TV and cinema industries by finding and supporting film talent, the scheme is inviting established comedy writers as well as directors, commercials directors and stand-up comedians to produce a selection of comedy shorts through Shine. The scheme will result in the production of four to five comedy shorts with individual budgets of up to $42,255 (£30,000).
Kenton Allen, Shine's creative director of comedy and entertainment, will executive produce along with Alex Usborne for the New Cinema Fund and Robin Gutch for FilmFour Lab.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to find and develop the next generation of comedy filmmakers," says Allen, whose credits include The Royle Family and Mrs Merton. "There's almost no training in this area in the UK."
Says Robin Gutch, head of FilmFour Lab: "This scheme is a great chance for proven comedy talent from other disciplines to spread their wings into cinema, and in the process hopefully take the comedy genre in Britain onto new terrain in the future."
The New Cinema Fund and FilmFour Lab set up the shorts scheme last year, and are investing $325,125 (£250,000) a year between the four schemes: Cinema Extreme, Comedy, Internet/Viral and a completion fund for shorts.
Shine Entertainment is the film and television production company set up by Elisabeth Murdoch in association with Lord Waheed Alli, whose activities cover film and television production, brand marketing and venture programming and rights exploitation. The company's focus is on the creation, production and distribution of valuable media properties spanning film, international reality and entertainment formats, along with long-running UK drama and comedy series.