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Tuesday, 30 April, 2002, 17:26 GMT 18:26 UK
Arthouse fund to fight Hollywood
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was an arthouse hit
A 17m fund has been set up to help independent cinemas in the UK fight competition from multiplexes, the Film Council has announced.

The Lottery money is intended to make it easier for cinema-goers to escape the commercial diet of Hollywood blockbusters.

Some 14m will be invested in a network of independent cinemas across the country, with money available for refurbishments and new screens.

The other 3m will go be spent on making arthouse films more available, taking independent cinema to isolated areas and education.

Attractive

The Film Council has set up four funds, which it says will expand the range of films on offer to audiences across the UK.

One of the most common complaints of independent filmmakers is that once their movies are made it is extremely difficult to get their movies shown.

The biggest fund will pump 14m into cinemas to help them make "specialised films" more accessible and attractive.

"Specialised films" may be in English or foreign languages, can tackle certain issues, be revivals of classic films or cater for minority audiences.

That money will be used for redevelopments, new screens and capital investment.

Marketing power

A digital fund will spend 1m on providing digital projection equipment to areas that may not have an independent cinema or film societies and clubs.

Another 1m will go to a cinema education fund, and there will be 1m to give specialised films wider releases and more marketing power.

The plans are to tackle structural weaknesses in the UK film industry, the Film Council said.

"It has long been clear that there has been a failure of the market to meet the audience appetite across the UK for a broader range of films," the Council's chief executive John Woodward said.

Hit films

"The key aim is to address the cultural needs of audiences and learners."

The Film Council was set up in 2000 by the government and has a three-year budget of 150m.

Recent films it has helped fund include Mike Bassett: England Manager, Bloody Sunday and Gosford Park.

See also:

24 Apr 02 | Film
UK and US lead Cannes line-up
01 Feb 02 | Film
Film Council denies underspend
20 Sep 01 | Arts
Funding the UK film industry
29 Aug 01 | Film
Hollywood slump hits UK film
02 May 00 | UK
22m boost for British films
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