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Thursday, 15 March, 2001, 15:49 GMT
Lottery cash for Bloody Sunday film
Bloody sunday mural
Mural depicting the events of Bloody Sunday
The Film Council has announced the first seven film projects to receive funding for production, including a movie about the Bloody Sunday shootings in Northern Ireland in 1972.

Bloody Sunday, which promises to "piece together the tragic and complex events" of 30 January 1972, will receive 250,000.

James Nesbitt
James Nesbitt will appear in Bloody Sunday
The film body is releasing more than 5m of lottery funds to help fund films from its Premiere fund, for movies that can attract a worldwide audience, and from the New Cinema fund, which aims to encourage unique ideas and new voices.

The largest single grant of 2m goes to esteemed director Robert Altman's planned film Gosford Park, which will be shot entirely on location in the UK and boasts a cast of established British stars.


Bafta-award winning director Paul Greengrass will direct the Bloody Sunday film, which pledges to "track the movement from both sides of the confrontation".

Film Council funding
Premiere fund
Gosford Park 2m
Mike Bassett 1.2m
Miranda 850,000
New Cinema fund
Revenger's Tragedy 500,000
This Is Not A Love Song 202,000
Bloody Sunday 250,000
Ape 150,000

Thirteen civilians were shot dead during a civil rights march in Londonderry after marchers and British paratroopers clashed.

The decision to fund the film comes as an inquiry into the shootings is being held in Londonderry.

James Nesbitt, from ITV comedy drama Cold Feet, will star in the film alongside Tim Piggot-Smith.

The Film Council has pledged to help fund films with a better chance of commercial success.

But Robert Jones, head of the Premiere fund at the Film Council, said investing in film was always a risky business.

He said: "I do not claim to know what is a hit any more than any one else. We hope that everything we chose will be a success.

"But the law of averages tells you not everything will be a success."

He added: "Our remit is not purely commercial. We want to see films that reflect our own culture and play to a very diverse audience.

"We do recognise that people go to the cinema to be entertained and that audiences have not always felt they have been entertained [by British films]."

Tense thriller

Gosford Park will star Kristin Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi, Stephen Fry, Alan Bastes, Richard E Grant and Emily Watson among a host of stars.

Kristin Scott Thomas
Kristin Scott Thomas will star in the Robert Altman film Gosford Park
Films to be funded from the New Cinema fund include a new project from established British director Alex Cox, called The Revenger's Tragedy, a tense thriller called This Is Not A Love Song and an animated feature called Ape.

More than 1m will help fund a Spinal Tap-style film spoof, Mike Bassett: England Manager. Described as a mainstream comedy, it follows the England football squad to the World Cup under the leadership of Ricky Tomlinson, from BBC One comedy The Royle Family.

Miranda, a romantic comedy starring Christina Ricci and John Hurt, will receive 850,000.

The Film Council is in charge of distributing more than 50m of lottery money a year to back new cinema productions.

It took over the job from the Arts Council of England and other bodies last October.

See also:

15 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Bloody Sunday film to be 'non-partisan'
03 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Lottery funds film failures
12 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Boost for black and Asian film
07 Mar 01 | Budget 2001
Budget boosts UK film industry
01 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Film Council eyes the box office
29 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Regions given 6m film aid
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