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Last Updated: Friday, 14 May, 2004, 09:11 GMT 10:11 UK
British films to get script aid
By Ian Youngs
BBC News Online correspondent in Cannes

Bend it Like Beckham
Bend it Like Beckham was praised for the quality of its script
British film companies will be offered a slice of 7.5m in an attempt to improve the quality of movie scripts.

Many recent homegrown scripts have not been up to scratch, according to the UK Film Council, which will distribute the funds over the next three years.

The council said it also hoped to unite a "fractional" industry and encourage people to work together.

Money will be given to companies from across the industry who work together on new projects from the beginning.

"Development has been overlooked in the past," UK Film Council spokesman Ian Thomson told BBC News Online.

"But the truth is that development and the investment in the script are essential."

Film genres

UK producers often begin projects with little idea of whether other parts of the industry will like them, he said.

So to qualify for money, producers must team up with distributors and sales companies from day one to select and develop films together.

In the process, it is hoped the scheme will "re-educate" people in the industry by encouraging them to join forces, Mr Thomson said.

"It's been so fractional over the last few decades - this is a way of getting people to work together," he said.

"We're hoping there will be some quite exciting partnerships out of this."

The most successful UK film companies will be first in line for the new funds - but the scheme is intended to produce high-quality films in all genres, not just commercial hits, he said.

He cited 28 Days Later and Bend It Like Beckham as examples of British scripts that worked well.

But many recent successes, such as mountaineering documentary Touching the Void, had emerged from unexpected routes.

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