Eighteen new film productions have received almost £1 million from the government’s UK Global Screen Fund, which helps UK films reach the international stage.

Funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and administered by the BFI, the £7 million pilot UK Global Screen Fund was launched in April to boost the international competitiveness of UK content by funding international business development, co-production, international distribution and promotional activities in order to increase global reach and revenues. 

Productions to receive UK Global Screen Fund International Distribution awards are:

  • A Banquet, directed by Ruth Paxton from a screenplay by Justin Bull. Starring Sienna Guillory, Jessica Alexander, Ruby Stokes and Lindsay Duncan. The film received its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival and is represented by HanWay Films Limited.
  • Ballywalter, directed by Prasanna Puwanarajah, written by Stacey Gregg and starring Seána Kerslake, Patrick Kielty. The comedy drama set in Northern Ireland is represented by Bankside Films. 
  • Becoming Led Zeppelin, directed by Bernard MacMahon and co-written/produced by Allison McGourty. The documentary feature film received its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and is represented by Altitude Film Sales.
  • Benediction, directed by Terence Davies and starring Jack Lowden as First World War poet Siegfried Sassoon. The biopic received its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and is represented by Bankside Films.
  • Brian and Charles, directed by Jim Archer and written by David Earl and Chris Hayward and starring David Earl, Chris Hayward, Louise Brealey, Lynn Hunter, Jamie Michie and Nina Sonsaya. The film is represented by Bankside Films.  
  • Dalíland, directed by Mary Harron, written by John Walsh and starring Sir Ben Kingsley, Barbara Sukowa, Ezra Miller, Rupert Graves, Christopher Briney, Andrea Pejić and Suki Waterhouse. The Salvador Dalí biopic is represented by Bankside Films.
  • Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, directed by Sophie Hyde from an original screenplay by Katy Brand, starring Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack. The film is represented by Cornerstone.
  • Heart of Darkness, directed by Gerald Conn with voice cast including Bill Nighy, James Norton and Michael Sheen. The animated feature will see production take place across Wales, Ireland and Belgium and is represented by Celsius Entertainment.
  • Kensuke’s Kingdom, directed by Neil Boyle and Kirk Hendry, written by Frank Cottrell Boyce and based on the children’s novel by Michael Morpurgo. The animated international co-production is supported by Ffilm Cymru, Creative Wales and Film Fund Luxembourg with voice-over cast including Sally Hawkins, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy and Raffey Cassidy. Represented by Bankside Films.
  • Spiked!, directed by Sean McCormack and written by David Freedman. The animated feature is represented by Kapers Animation.
  • The Almond and The Seahorse, directed by Celyn Jones and Tom Stern, written by Jones and Kaite O’Reilly and starring Rebel Wilson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Trine Dyrholm, Meera Syal and Celyn Jones. The film is represented by Bankside Films. 
  • The Gentle Sex, a comedy written by Dougie Brimson and Gary Lawrence, directed by John Adams and starring Dame Joan Collins. The film is represented by Evolutionary Films.
  • The Real Charlie Chaplin, directed by Peter Middleton and James Spinney and produced by Ben Limberg, John Battsek and Mike Brett. The documentary feature film received its world premiere at Telluride Film Festival and is represented by Altitude Film Sales.
  • Unwelcome, directed by Jon Wright, written by Mark Stay and starring Hannah John-Kamen and Douglas Booth. The film, set in rural Ireland, is represented by Cornerstone.
  • Pre-sale title to be announced, represented by HanWay Films.
  • Pre-sale title to be announced, represented by Canoe Film.

The first two titles to receive UK Global Screen Fund International Co-production awards are:

  • My Happy Ending, an Israel/UK official co-production. The feature film will shoot in Wales and the grant is awarded to the UK producers Daisy Allsop’s Archface Films with Hannah Leader’s Big Book Media. The film is produced in partnership with Osnat Handelsman Keren and Talia Kleinhendler’s Pie Films.
  • The Coop Troop, a UK/China/France unofficial co-production. The animated TV series will start production in October with overall animation taking place in France and Northern Ireland.

Today’s announcement follows earlier funding from the UK Global Screen Fund for films Ali & Ava and Mothering Sunday, supporting their Official Selection at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and will help ensure the international success of the independent sector – supporting the development of new talent and promoting stories from across the UK to be shared around the world.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has also announced a six month extension to the UK Film and TV Restart Scheme to support approximately 400 additional productions to benefit from the scheme. 

The £500 million UK Film & TV Production Restart Scheme opened last year and has supported 835 productions working across the UK, protecting over 70,000 jobs and £2.3 billion of production spend.

The latest extension, which means the scheme now remains open for applications until 30 April 2022, will provide cover for claims up to 30 June 2022. This will support an additional six months of film and TV production in the UK, protecting around 34,500 jobs and £1.2 billion of production spend.

During the next six months, the government and industry will work together to exit from the UK Film & TV Production scheme. To support the transfer of risk to the market, the scheme fee will increase to 2.5% from 1 November. The increase in fee will ensure that the current needs of the UK production industry are maintained while balancing the need to deliver value for money for taxpayers.

“Our brilliant film and TV industry is creating jobs, driving investment and selling the UK on screens both big and small across the globe,” said Dorries. “Together the UK Global Screen Fund and UK Film & TV Production Restart Scheme are developing new opportunities in the sector and helping British talent and creativity to develop, grow and reach audiences around the world, while protecting and supporting our brilliant producers and screen businesses across the whole country.”

BFI Chief Executive Ben Roberts said: “With the eyes of the world on the UK this week as we launch the BFI London Film Festival and celebrate the release of Bond, today’s announcement is more great news for our screen industries, delivering vital support for UK film & TV and helping independent production reach new heights globally.”

Stephen Kelliher, Managing Director, Bankside Films said: “The UK Global Screen Fund is a dynamic and essential initiative which recognises the importance of support for the British screen sector and for British films internationally. Our nation is blessed with exceptional talent who create some of the most exciting cinema in the world. This award is invaluable in enabling us to amplify the impact of British film in international markets using new and innovative strategies with the objective of growing audiences for British film worldwide which, in turn,  positively impacts the sustained growth of companies within the sector.”

Colin Williams, Creative Director, Sixteen South said: ”We are absolutely thrilled to be one of the first recipients of a very valuable UK Global Screen Fund award. The Coop Troop was created here in the UK by myself and the children’s book author Alex T. Smith with huge ambitions to sell all over the world. We’re thrilled to have the series commissioned by France Télévisions and by the Chinese media giant Tencent, as well as other major international sales even before we start production. The Coop Troop is our first CGI comedy series for 6 to 9s and we’re so delighted to be supported by the fund which really has made this dream become a reality!”

The International Distribution funding strand has re-opened, giving UK sales agents a further opportunity to apply for support to increase their international promotion and sales of live action, animation and documentary UK feature film projects. Applications opened on 14 September and will close on 15 December 2021.