Film4 announces additional development fund for British comedy films


Friday 11th May: Head of Film4 Tessa Ross last night announced that Channel4 will be investing an additional £1m specifically in the development of new British comedy films under the Film4 banner, with the new slate being commissioned by Shane Allen - Channel 4's Head of Comedy and the executive producer behind The Inbetweeners hit TV series and film.

Allen will develop features for cinema release with an initial annual development budget of £1 million, which is in addition to Film4's annual £15million invested in developing and financing films. Overseeing the growth of The Inbetweeners from cult E4 series to box office hit, Shane has been responsible for some of the biggest comedy hits in recent years including Facejacker, Star Stories, Friday Night Dinner, Black Mirror & Comic Strip: The Hunt for Tony Blair.

Shane Allen, Channel 4's Head of Comedy, says:

"This is a fantastic adrenaline shot for more British film comedy following on from the overwhelming audience appetite we experienced last summer. The recent explosion in live comedy is because it's a very communal experience, so with the huge expertise of Film4 it's a brilliant opportunity to tap the cinematic potential of UK writing and performing talent."

The announcement was made at Film4's annual pre-Cannes industry party in London, where Ross also confirmed that Walter Salles' On the Road - playing In Competition at this year's Cannes - will have its UK premiere on 16th August at Film4 Summer Screen, the annual outdoor cinema season at London's Somerset House.

Tessa Ross, Channel 4's Controller of Film and Drama, says:

"We're thrilled to be working with Shane on developing comedy features - with his impeccable track record and huge wealth of experience we know we are in for some seriously entertaining films.

"In the meantime we're very excited for our three filmmakers who are premiering at this year's Cannes - and I'm delighted that On the Road, our competition film in the festival this year, will have its UK premiere on the opening night of Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House."

Along with On the Road, two other Film4 films will have their worldwide premieres at this year's Cannes: Ben Wheatley's Sightseers, and Fyzal Boulifa's short film The Curse.

Editor's Notes

In 2010 Film4's annual budget was increased from £10million to £15million to develop and co-finance films.

The Inbetweeners Movie was released in 2011 and took over £45 million at the UK box office, setting a record for the most successful opening weekend ever for a UK comedy, and becoming the third highest grossing film of 2011 (after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and The King's Speech). The Inbetweeners Movie was fully financed by Channel 4 through Film4 and 4DVD.

Film4, headed by Tessa Ross, is Channel 4 Television's feature film division. Film4 develops and co-finances films and is known for working with the most innovative talent in the UK, whether new or established. Film4 has developed and co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years, films like Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours, Martin McDonagh's In Bruges, Steve McQueen's Hunger and Shame, Mike Leigh's Another Year, Chris Morris' Four Lions , Richard Ayoade's Submarine, Joe Cornish's directorial debut Attack The Block , Lone Scherfig's One Day, Ben Wheatley's Kill List, and Paddy Considine's debut feature Tyrannosaur.

Recent releases include, Ben Palmer's The Inbetweeners Movie, Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights, Terence Davies' The Deep Blue Sea, Carol Morley's Dreams of a Life, Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady, Steve McQueen's Shame and Pawel Pawlikowski's The Woman In The Fifth.

Forthcoming releases include Bart Layton's The Imposter, Sophie Fiennes' The Pervert's Guide to Ideology, Walter Salles' On The Road, Peter Strickland's Berberian Sound Studio, Roger Michell's Hyde Park on Hudson, Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin, Ben Wheatley's Sightseers, Martin McDonagh's Seven Psychopaths, Danny Boyle's Trance and Michael Winterbottom's untitled Paul Raymond film.

In 2011 Film4 launched its pioneering role in exploring innovation in filmmaking with the appointment of Anna Higgs as Head of Film4.0. Film4.0 is a talent and idea driven hub within Film4 that will work with emerging and established talent, supporting them to tell unique stories and connect with audiences in new ways.

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