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Thursday, 19 July, 2001, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
UK Film Council funds Frenchman
Billy Elliot
British hit Billy Elliot was part-funded by lottery money
The Film Council has made its first round of single-project development awards, intended to help quality scripts move to production.

The largest award, of 75,000, was awarded to French writer-director Erick Zonca and French company Now Productions for the film Julia.

Seven other projects won five-figure awards in a round of what the Council calls "slate development funding" totalling 265,100.

The fund, which gives away 5m per year, aims are to bring together screenwriters, script editors, directors and producers to increase the number of quality scripts being made into films.

True story

The investment in Erick Zonca' s thriller Julia - his English language debut - is seen as the clearest sign to date of the Council's pledge to invest in European films.

Other projects supported by these awards include Kisses After Dark which Terence Davies is writing and will direct, a comedy based on a true story which secured 65,000.

Canteen Culture is a comedy thriller about six Metropolitan police officers who find themselves in possession of 1m in cash and a suitcase full of cocaine.

Adapted from the novel by Ike Eze-Anyika, it will be directed by Philip John, whose credits include Suckerfish and Sister Lulu, and was awarded 36,800.

An award of 26,000 went to The Dope Priest, an adaptation by Nicholas Blincoe of his own novel.

20,000 went to The Monday Club, a comedy about men failing to deal with life, love and relationships written by and to be directed by James Wood.

The Film Council officially came into existence on 1 April 2000 and distributes almost all public money for the UK film industry, including Lottery funding.

The stated objectives of the Film Council are to develop a coherent strategy for film culture, the development of the film industry and the encouragement of inward investment.

See also:

27 Jun 01 | Arts
Regional film gets 6m boost
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
02 May 00 | UK
22m boost for British films
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