Monday, June 05, 2006

UK Film News

On a small note, I've heard it through the grapevine that Celador Films are looking for an intern for about 3 months, for about £300 a week, and duties to include script reading (and actually writing coverage). Sounds good. Don't know if it's widely advertised or anything so just in case I've just gone and pissed them right off by mentioning it, just look them up, contact them yourself and see how you get on.

On a bigger note, read the below:

UKFC, Pathe and BBC start New Development Fund (article by Wendy Mitchell from

Pathe and BBC Films are working with the UK Film Council’s Development Fund to launch a new fund to develop film projects.

The parties have committed a minimum of $560,000 (£300,000) for the fund’s first 12 months – $280,000 (£150,000) from the UK Film Council and $140,000 (£75,000) each from BBC Films and Pathe. The fund is tied to but separate from the UKFC’s previously announced super slate funding.

The new fund, to be used only for feature films, is functional immediately. The parties said that by “combining resources to identify properties with commercial potential that might previously have been seen as too expensive to either acquire or develop.”

They noted that above and beyond the initial seed funding, Pathe and the BBC would be able to “move quickly to mobilise whatever funds might be necessary to make a decisive move on a property or writer whose market value may be substantially higher than this initial funding commitment.”

“We’ve nothing in development yet - we want the announcement to act as a signal to the industry that we're willing to pay top dollar for the right project. There is no ceiling on the level of investment we might make in the right project,” Pathe deputy managing director Cameron McCracken told

Pathe managing director Francois Ivernel noted that the new fund would help these UK players compete with Hollywood for new talents that could turn out to be the next Richard Curtis or to create the next Harry Potter franchise.

“Such major properties or talent rarely appear on the market, but when they do, we are conscious that too often (and not without some justification) the perception is that only the US studios can afford to bid for such talent or engage in such major developments,” he said.

“We want to make everyone aware -- talent, publishers, agents, whoever -- that we are ready to step up to the plate for the right projects. Given the close personal and business relationship that we have built up with the BBC and the UK Film Council over the past several years (most recently as a recipient of a slate fund award), this partnership to engage in the development of ‘bigger’ properties feels a perfect fit."

David Thompson, head of BBC Films, said the new fund would build on the Beeb’s current relationship with Pathe. “We need key partners at the development stage if we are to be really competitive in the search for the most attractive projects and we are sure that Pathe and the BBC will be a very good fit,” he said.

Added Jenny Borgars, head of the UKFC’s Development Fund: "Providing British producers with real resource to develop partnerships that both benefit their businesses and allow them to acquire attractive film material was one of the prime reasons for setting up the slate funding machinery. I'm absolutely delighted for Pathe and the BBC that the slate funding has been the catalyst for this new partnership which will lead to exciting opportunities for British talent and major new films."


Paul Campbell said...

What does it actually mean?

I've read it several times today, and I can't for the life of me work out what is actually on offer, to whom, and for what.

I bet none of it ends up in my pocket.

Anonymous said...

Hmm and surely the 'next Richard Curtises' (poor sods) are cheap anyway because they're not Richard Curtis yet...

Just another fund to court 'ambition' in writers they're already working with while
real Brit talent continues to flourish and thrive on peanuts.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, good to see that Celador are entrusting the crucial job of finding their next great script to someone who can afford to live on £300 a week in London so is presumably a recent graduate living with their parents who has never written or read a script before! Seriously though, it's a great opportunity and you are right to flag it up and the right person could start a career in the business with it. But why oh why is script reading still treated as an entry level position which anyone can do?? I've lost count of the number of "script editors" whose previous job was secretary/student/"stood next to the company's MD in choir" (seriously).

James Moran said...

It does sound slightly odd - there are many problems we face in the UK industry, but writers being too expensive and getting poached by Hollywood isn't really one of them. It'd be great for us if it was...

The Misanthrope said...

Why oh why is the perfectly serviceable and unspectacular Richard Curtis held up as a touchstone when it comes to British screenwriting? Don’t get me wrong, I like his stuff, I even enjoyed Love Actually, but a “rare talent?” I think not.

And why oh why do Pathe and the Beeb have to spout nonsensical pr like this? The film business is easy - get a decent script, get money, turn the script into a movie using the money. It’s that simple. Less of the “we’re searching for the Holy Grail of screenwriting, but it’s soooooo hard”, enough of the pr already. Just do your job Mr Thompson and Pathe Films and stop blathering asinine corporate crap.