UK Film Council awards 3m to three films

One year after his short film The Tonto Woman was nominated for an Oscar, young British director Daniel Barber has been awarded more than a million pounds of UK Film Council money towards his first feature.
His film, Harry Brown, is described as an urban Western, set in modern-day Britain, following one man’s (Sir Michael Caine) journey through a world of guns and drugs. It co-stars Emily Mortimer, Charlie Creed-Miles and Liam Cunningham and is produced by, among others, Matthew Vaughn.
The Premiere fund is also backing the debut feature of the artist Sam Taylor-Wood, whose short, Love You More, screened at Cannes last year. Nowhere Boy – a biopic of John Lennon – has been awarded £1.2 million, having already received support from the UK Film Council’s Development Fund. The film concentrates on the previously untold story of the Beatle’s early life and relationship with his mother and aunt. The key cast will be Aarom Johnson, Anne-Marie Duff and Kristin Scott Thomas, respectively. The screenplay, by Matt Greenhalgh, is based on a book by John Lennon’s sister Julia. The producers include Robert Bernstein, Douglas Rae and Kevin Loader.
Another million pounds from the fund is backing Stephen Poliakoff’s 1939, a tense psychological thriller that marks the writer/director’s return to theatrical film after a break of a decade. The film centres on the Keyes family in the run-up to World War 2 and in the present day. The cast includes Romola Garai, Bill Nighy, Julie Christie, David Tennant and Jeremy Northam. 1939, which was filmed in Norfolk and London, will be released this year, to coincide with the seventieth anniversary with the outbreak of war.
The head of the Premiere Fund, Sally Caplan, said the three very different and unique projects had contemporary relevance to audiences.
The fund invests eight million pounds of National Lottery money each year into mainstream, commercially-driven films and has recently supported features including Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky, Bob Weide’s How To Lose Friends and Alienate People, Julian Jarrold’s Brideshead Revisted and Roger Michell’s Venus.
(article by Jason Korsner)

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