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Friday, 11 May, 2001, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
BBC signs 100m film deal
Billy Elliot
Billy Elliot has grossed more than 69m world-wide
BBC Films is hoping to build on the success of Billy Elliot with a new deal to fund bigger budget movies with wide international appeal.

The co-venture between BBC Films and Cobalt Media Group will make at least 105m available over the next three years, with the funding of individual films supplemented by deals with US studios.


British directors, writers and actors start out with the BBC and then are lured to Hollywood to make more ambitious projects

David Thompson, BBC Films

The deal was announced at the Cannes film festival on Friday.

The aim is to propel the BBC into the position of a major player in international feature film production, making films with a budget above 8m.

'Smaller budget'

Alan Yentob, BBC director of drama and entertainment, said the deal ensured BBC Films would have the opportunity to make larger, more ambitious films.

He added: "Alongside this venture, we will continue to make smaller budget films like Billy Elliot and Iris, which is currently on production."

Billy Elliot, coproduced by BBC Films, has grossed more than 69m world-wide.

Cobalt Media Group is a London and Beverley Hills-based financing, sales and distribution company.

In the past 18 months it has financed films such as Chicken Run and The World Is Not Enough.

BBC Films produces about eight films a year and is responsible for movies such as Mrs Brown, Ratcatcher and Billy Elliot.

'Attractive opportunity'

Films in production include Roddy Doyle's When Brendan Met Trudy and Julien Temple's Pandaemonium.

David Thompson, head of BBC Films, said the co-venture would help keep talent in Britain.

"Historically, British directors, writers and actors start out with the BBC and then are lured to Hollywood to make more ambitious projects - because there hasn't been the funding available to them in the UK.

"This venture is a way of changing that, of ensuring that we keep the best of British talent by offering them an attractive opportunity."

See also:

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