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BFI and DCMS invest over £3.3m into the UK’s independent screen sector in awards from UK Global Screen Fund

Jan 18, 2024

The BFI has made a further 30 awards through its UK Global Screen Fund, backing seven new international co-productions and supporting 23 UK screen content businesses to boost their international activities and enhance the success of their content globally. Financed through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the latest batch of awards sees over £1.3 million being allocated through the fund’s International Co-production strand and over £2 million being allocated through the fund’s International Business Development strand.

This latest round of International Co-production awards sees the UK co-producing with 12 territories and will be the first time the fund has supported collaborations with Hungary, Norway and Spain. The funding will also support partnerships with Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, New Zealand, Poland and Sweden. The awards, in the form of non-recoupable grants, support UK independent companies as minority co-producers for feature films of all genres, and as majority and minority co-producers for TV projects in animation and documentary genres. This latest funding round supports seven feature films, including one documentary.

Financial support for International Business Development will provide the 23 companies from all over the UK with funding via one of two tracks:

  • Film Transformation, for internationally-focused transformational business strategies related to independent UK films, with strategies spanning three to five years
  • General, for business strategies to create, acquire and/or exploit intellectual property (IP) across film, TV, animation, documentary and interactive narrative video games, with strategies spanning three years

The funding, awarded in the form of non-recoupable grants and ranging between £50,000 and £150,000 in total over a three year period, is focused on helping companies achieve new international business partnerships, enhance their profile and reach in the global marketplace, and increase revenue generation through export and international expansion.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “The UK’s film, TV and video game firms are global trailblazers and we are determined to maximise their potential to drive economic growth and showcase their creative excellence across the world. Thanks to our investment through the UK Global Screen Fund, independent films – like the Bafta-nominated Scrapper – are getting the support they need to develop international partnerships, attract investment and reach new audiences on a global stage.”

Denitsa Yordanova, BFI head of the UK Global Screen Fundand International Funds, said

“This latest round of awards demonstrates the inspiring global ambitions of our unique independent screen sector, supporting companies across the UK to forge new international collaborations and implement exciting growth strategies. It is fantastic to also see such a strong slate of co-production projects, working with a diverse range of international territories, many for the first time. The UK Global Screen Fund is proud to back such a wide variety of ambitious plans for creating new content with international resonance and for developing business strategies to reach international audiences and I look forward to following these ambitious projects and companies as they reach their full potential in the global marketplace.”

David Barron, founder and lead producer at DB Films said: “We are honoured that the UK Global Screen Fund is backing our vision to create a sustainable pipeline of quality British genre films with strong global appeal. In spite of challenges faced by the entire industry, commercial genre films continue to resonate with passionate audiences hungry for innovative filmmaking, memorable concepts and relatable characters. We can’t wait to supercharge our hunt for the most exciting ideas and partner with the most intriguing talent from the UK and beyond.”

Jeremy Thomas, producer and founder of Recorded Picture Company said: “UK Global Screen Fund support is an incredibly helpful boost for Good Boy, financially and in other ways. At RPC we work a lot with international auteurs. Having a funder at home who endorses that is encouraging for independent producers. Originality is always the key for us and with the director Jan Komasa we’re excited to commence on Good Boy.

”UK Global Screen Fund strands re-opening dates for 2024 are:

International Co-production
  • Round One – Opening 7 February  
  • Round Two – Opening 30 September

International Business Development

One Round – Opening 4 April

UK Global Screen Fund applications are currently open, and assessed on a rolling basis throughout the year, for:

  • International Distribution Festival Launch Support
  • International Distribution Film Sales Support
  • International Distribution P&A Support
 

Productions to receive UK Global Screen Fund International Co-production awards are: 

A Prayer For The Dying
A minority UK co-production with Norway and Sweden, made under the European Convention of Cinematographic Co-production. The UK producer is The Bureau who will co-produce with Norwegian Eye Eye Pictures and Swedish Garagefilm International. Written and directed by Dara Van Dusen, and based on Stewart O’Nan’s novel of the same name, the feature film is set in a small Wisconsin town still suffering from the repercussions of the recent Civil War, and follows one man forced to make a harrowing choice.

Birthday Party
A minority UK co-production with Greece, Spain and Belgium, made under the European Convention. The UK producer is Raucous Pictures who will be working with majority producers Greek Heretic, alongside Spanish Fasten Films and Belgian Lemming Film. Directed by Miguel Angel Jimenez and based on a novel of the same name by Panos Karnezis, the feature film follows a Greek tycoon celebrating his daughter’s 25th birthday on his private island, where he will face an unpredictable chain of events that will threaten his dominance and shake his very existence.

Butterfly
A minority UK co-production with Norway, Sweden and Germany, made under the European Convention. The UK producer is Quiddity Films, working with majority co-producers Mer Film in Norway, Zentropa in Sweden, and Nordfilm in Germany. Written and directed by Itonje Søimer Guttormsen the feature film tells the story of two sisters, living very separate lives and far-removed from their alternative upbringing in Gran Canaria, who reunite on the island following their mother’s mysterious death. Confirmed cast include Norwegian actors Helena Bjørnebye and Renate Reinsve.

Good Boy
A minority UK co-production with Poland made under the European Convention. The UK producer is Oscar winner Jeremy Thomas of Recorded Picture Company, producing with Oscar nominees Ewa Piaskowska and Jerzy Skolimowski from Poland’s Skopia Film (EO). The feature film, directed by Jan Komasa (Oscar nominated for Corpus Christi) and written by Bartek Bartosik and co-written by Naqqash Khalid, follows a football hooligan as he’s kidnapped by a middle-class family seemingly intent on turning him into a ‘Good Boy’.

Lomu
An official UK-New Zealand co-production. The UK producers are Victoria Barrell and Simon Lazenby of Sylver Entertainment, co-producing with New Zealand based producers Tahi Productions. The documentary feature film, centred on the life and work of late All Black global rugby superstar, Jonah Lomu, will be co-directed by UK based Gavin FitzGerald and NZ based Tongan director Vea Mafile’o.

Nightborn
A minority UK co-production with Finland, Lithuania and France, made under the European Convention. The UK producer is M.I.H.K. (trading as BlueLight) working alongside majority Finnish producers Komeetta, France’s Getaway Films and Lithuania’s Filmai. Written by Ilja Rautsi and directed by Hanna Bergholm (Hatching) the horror fantasy feature film is set over the course of one year, when a couple’s dream of a perfect child spirals into a nightmare as soon as the baby is born. Secured cast include Finland’s Seidi Haarl.

Orphan
A minority UK co-production with Hungary, France and Germany, made under the European Convention. The UK producer is Good Chaos, co-producing with Hungary’s Pioneer Pictures, France’s Agat Films and Germany’s Pallas Film. Written and directed by Laszlo Nemes, the feature film follows a young boy in Budapest in 1957, 12 years after the end of the war and one year after the Hungarian Uprising.

Companies to receive UK Global Screen Fund International Business Development awards are:

Alleycats (Icebox Films trading as Alleycats)
Funding to expand the factual side of the business into high-end content targeted at the US market. The TV production company, based in Derry in Northern Ireland, has a track record in high quality factual and factual entertainment programming. Recent credits include Clive Myrie’s Italian Road Trip, BBC2’s Raiders of the Lost Past with Dr Janina Ramirez and BBC Three’s The Fast and The Farmer-ish.

Big Little Fish Television
Funding for the hire of an Executive to further Big Little Fish’s US market expansion in unscripted programming. Launched in 2019, the London-based independent company is the producer of 10-part observational documentary series Prison Brides, which premiered in America on the Lifetime Network earlier this month. Other credits include history, paranormal, crime and children’s series for UK linear channels as well as global SVODS.

Dare Pictures
Funding towards the full-time employment of a head of scripted development and a scripted development assistant as well as a digital marketing consultant. The production company currently works predominantly in the factual space with recent credits including the high-profile international series co-produced with Tondowski Films in Germany, Crypto Queen (working title) and is actively developing a scripted slate. DARE stands for diversity, allyship, representation and empowerment and the company aims to reflect that ethos on and off screen.

DB Films
Funding to enable the company to build a slate of elevated genre films with strong international appeal. The Yorkshire-based production company, set up by Harry Potter producer David Barron, has a reputation for its output of quality high-end British dramas. Critically successful projects to date include Cinderella, Escape from Pretoria and Emily. DB Films is a division of UK based Envision Entertainment.

FunDay Studios
Funding towards the creation of original intellectual property and widening the global audience reach through marketing, localisation and global partnerships. The new development studio headquartered in Brighton is comprised of industry veterans from Sony, EA and Disney. Specialists in the racing genre, the FunDay collective aims to harness its wealth of experience to deliver pioneering and cutting-edge experiences.

Greenacre Films
Funding towards the hire of an International IP Consultant and to increase the company’s development team. The female-led production company champions diversity both on and off the screen, an approach which has garnered critical acclaim and commercial success, including recent series Riches and the feature Been So Long.

Ground Shatter
Funding towards the hire of an international business development role and for international games market attendance. The Bristol-based video game studio has garnered commercial success and critical acclaim, creating and maintaining its own IP, developing consistently profitable titles, and achieving a nomination for Best British Game at the BAFTA Games Awards with Fights in Tight Spaces.

Hoho Rights
Funding towards dubbing popular series Shane the Chef into German, leading to additional brand partnership and broadcast opportunities in the German speaking markets. The independent children’s production company develops and produces high quality kids’ content that appeals to international audiences, including Cloudbabies and Toad & Friends.

JOI Productions
Funding towards the hire of a creative producer to help expand the company’s slate internationally. The company has carved a unique niche in the industry, focusing on Queer, Black, and female-led content. Credits include critically and commercially successful titles Boxing Day, picked up by Amazon Prime and Sony, and Blue Story which became the highest grossing film of its genre in 2019.

Luti Media (Portobello Post Ltd trading as Luti Media)
Funding for the hire of a global executive producer and head of production to help expand into the African continent. Luti Media’s strategic growth focuses on producing content that resonates globally while staying true to its mission of amplifying diverse voices. Recent credits include Robyn Hood and Maxxx.

Mallinson Television Productions
Funding towards the creation of a new label focused on writer/director projects with an intersectional approach and stories from diverse themes. The BAFTA-winning Scottish production company is known for its director-led artistic approach, with films having played at Berlinale, Sundance and Venice. The company will merge with Reece Cargan, Screen International Rising Star and RTS award winning producer, and his BAFTA nominated queer focused production company Bombito Productions.

Miracle Tea Studios
Funding towards the hire of a junior programmer and a community manager to increase content development ability and promote IP to additional international territories. The Suffolk-based video game development studio has established itself as a creator of award-winning games, known for their successful IP, including Ruya and Alula, that have garnered international recognition and acclaim.

Moonraker VFX
Funding to build out a successful IMAX / fulldome immersive and TV content strategy, centred on own IP, across multiple platforms and types of content. The Bristol-based company, which specialises in VFX and CGI services, is working to create internationally-appealing factual content focusing on the natural history and earth science genres. Recent successes include the release of Moonbase: The Next Step in fulldome and IMAX formats.

Nosebleed Interactive
Funding towards the hire of a lead coder, allowing the company’s chief technology officer to focus on more international business development, and support towards the hire of an art director. The North-East based games company is known for innovation and high-quality game experiences with previous titles includingVostok Inc., Arcade Paradise and their recently announced collaboration with Meta, Arcade Paradise VR.

Paper Owl Films
Funding for the hire of a head of production to enable the company’s management team to pursue international business opportunities, including further international co-productions. The Northern Irish animation studio is focused on impactful storytelling and inspiring young people. Recent credits include Pablo, Sol, Li Ban, Happy the Hoglet and Ladybird and Bee.

Particle Productions
Funding for the hire of a head of international business development to help the company’s international ambitions, as well as supporting marketing activity. The award-winning production company is focused on producing content for social media as well as their own IP in TV and online, including recent success Look See Wow!, a 26 episode series for Sky Kids.

Ping Online Communications
Funding towards the hire of a data analyst and marketing manager to increase the company’s capacity for narrative game development. The Scottish studio specialises in app development, animation, web experiences and games production, and is currently building its own IP in the mobile games sector with titles such as Super Stretchy Chicken Legs, Nugget Run and Peekaboo Planet.

Pirate Productions
Funding towards the hire of a development executive, a marketing/social media manager and marketing costs. The Scottish independent film and TV company is developing a slate of international projects with writers from Scotland, the USA, Iceland, Greece and Australia and is exploring further opportunities in South Africa following a successful collaboration on Recipes for Love and Murder. A female led company, Pirate wants to bring work by new and emerging writers to light, particularly those with under-represented viewpoints, as well as stories that can travel.

Proper Content
Funding for the hire of a US-facing developer to maximise international opportunities. The multi-award-winning production company, with a track record in producing socially impactful and premium documentaries, has developed an international slate and strategy which builds on its current UK success. Recent credits include eight-part series The Changemakers for Paramount+, Chris Packham: Is it Time to Break the Law? for C4, feature doc Anorexic and series The Queen’s Guard: A Year in Service, both for C5.

RapidEyeMovers
Funding towards the hire of community managers and support for marketing activity to increase international audiences. The game production and publishing company known for its Golden Joystick award nominated debut C-Smash VRS draws on the team’s experience in diverse media – including film, graphic novels and international touring productions – to create work that travels internationally and bridges the gap between the physical and digital.

Severn Screen
Funding towards option fees, research costs and international market attendance, with a view to increasing international co-productions. The Welsh production company has a track record of producing film and television projects in both Welsh and English, with recent credits including Gareth Evans feature Havoc, BBC series Steeltown Murders, and BBC/S4C drama Hidden/Craith.

TAUNT
Funding towards the hire of a business development manager to help attract additional investment into the company’s slate. The Belfast-based animation company has built a strong offering for children’s TV, as well as producing award-winning animations including TOT and Soul Office, and is currently working on expanding its own slate of IP, mostly through co-production.

Tin Roof Media
Contribution towards the expansion of in-house distribution capabilities by hiring a distribution sales manager, in addition to supporting marketing and event attendance.  Tin Roof Media Distribution handles the distribution requirements of Tin Roof Media and its group companies, Blink Films and Outline Productions, which have produced hundreds of hours of award-winning factual programming for UK channels and international broadcasters and streamers. Credits includeRemarkable Places to Eat and Tiny Tearaways for Outline Productions and The Great Sperm Race, Diana, the Truth Behind the Interview and Alan and Miriam in Scotland for Blink Films.

All awards made by the UK Global Screen Fund are published at: www.bfi.org.uk/ukglobalscreenfund

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