Since she founded Newcastle-based production company Ipso Facto Films 15 years ago, Christine Alderson has had a successful track record producing 11 independent features and more than 50 shorts and documentaries, including recent European Film Award nominee Irina Palm and Sue Heel's School For Seduction. Now, Alderson is creating a scheme to support low-budget films and new talent in the UK.
She has led the launch of new studio Moxie Makers, which joins Ipso Facto Films with sales company Moviehouse Entertainment and UK distributor Soda Pictures to work on a slate of nine micro-budget - up to $980,000 (£500,000) - feature films over the next three years.
"It's important to leverage low-budget film making," she says. "It's a really important market and could help the UK regain its grasp on what independent film-making is all about."
Moxie has just finished shooting Mad, Sad & Bad, an Asian-British comedy starring Meera Syal and Nitin Ganatra and directed by Avie Luthra, whose 2005 short film Lucky was nominated for a BAFTA. In production is Alan G Parker's documentary Who Killed Nancy', the story of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. And in April, Moxie will start shooting Souled Out, Shimmy Marcus' comedy about the Northern Soul music scene.
Alderson has also been involved with Newcastle's Northern Lights Film Festival (Nlff) and in November 2007 used it as a platform for launching Moxie's new feature film production prize in the UK worth up to $500,000 (£250,000).
"It's such a struggle to get a foot in the door," she explains. "I didn't go to film school and as a company that's not filled with those kind of people that have come from an 'established' system, we feel it's our role to introduce and support others in the film industry who haven't gone down that traditional route."
The programme, dubbed The Big Pitch, will provide training and development for six producer/writer/director teams as they compete for the production finance prize. It is supported by Skillset, and the winner will receive production finance from Moxie Makers together with a post-production deal with Molinare and UK distribution with Soda Makers, a new label from Soda Pictures.
"We're keen on first-time film-makers and we're interested in new talent - that's what we're about," Alderson says.
She adds that Ipso Facto Films is still there to help film-makers in the next stages of their career, especially with internationally viable projects. "By being involved in the first stage, you can build up the second one at the same time," she says. "And as a first-time film-maker, to have that back-up is essential because that's all they think about - where their next film is coming from."