Four feature films pitched using 25 words or less have been granted development funding from UK support body the Film Council.

The films were pitched to the Council as part of their "25 Words or Less" programme which was launched last year and called for applicants to present their concept for a horror, comedy or thriller screenplay in not more than 25 words.

"25 Words or Less" is an adapted Hollywood term to describe an idea where a film is encapsulated in one sentence. For example, Gladiator was pitched as: "When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by a corrupt prince, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge".

The successful projects are:

Egomania by Paul Alexander and Simon Braithwaite - "Hotshot young lawyer Michael Stark becomes so successful, so arrogant and so full of himself that his ego decides to go solo - with disastrous consequences."

The Cleaner by Peter Michael Rosenberg - "When a crime scene cleaner haunted by his past uncovers evidence that suggests LAPD cops are working as assassins, he becomes their next target."

Shoeless Joe by Andrew Clyde - "A holiday of a lifetime across the desolate heart of the Australian outback turns into a living nightmare for five friends."

Storage by Chris Denne and Matt Winn - "Terror stalks a storage facility. Survival for those trapped inside depends on the secrets in those endless units. But some doors are better left locked."

370 applications were submitted in total: 140 for comedy, 114 for thriller and 116 for horror.

Natalie Wreyford of the Film Council's Development Fund commented: "The four projects we have chosen are great examples of good genre writing. I really hope this initiative will encourage UK writers who have the ambition to write commercial genre films and provide some exciting new screenplays for the rest of the industry."

The next round is now open until 1 June. The three new genres are: romantic comedy, science fiction and teen movies.

Applicants must provide a pitch line of 25 words or less outlining the concept, a one-page outline of the whole story and ten pages of sample scenes from the chosen genre to demonstrate their ability to write in that genre. Application forms must come from a recognised UK literary or talent agent to be eligible.

The initiative aims to encourage professional writers across the UK to focus on the concept at the heart of the story and create commercial screenplays with international appeal. The fund aims to invest in 10-12 projects in the first year.

Egomania, The Cleaner and Shoeless Joe received £10,000 each. Storage was awarded £5,000. Each project also received £2,500 to assign a script editor.