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Creative Capital Launches Microwave Filmmaking

Film LondonFilm London, with backing from the BBC, has launched a project to develop ten micro-budget film projects in the capital. Microwave challenges film-makers to shoot a feature with budget of up to UKP75,000 with the option of raising additional "in-kind" support taking the budget to a maximum of UKP100,000.

Microwave is an intensive approach to film-making, with emphasis on tightly focused scripts, short production schedules and commercial potential. It has full backing from a number of influential film organisations and companies within the capital's film industry. 


Adrian WoottonChief Executive of Film London, Adrian Wootton said: "Never before has a scheme attempted to fund feature productions on such a challenging scale. New technologies have significantly reduced the costs of film-making and we hope to build on the recent success of ultra low-budget films such as Tarnation, The Last Horror Movie and Song of Songs, which demonstrate the potential for commercial movie-making at this level."

Gurinder ChadhaBacked by the BBC, the scheme provides up to UKP75,000 of direct funding per project, together with a unique professional mentoring scheme from leading industry figures including directors Stephen Frears (My Beautiful Laundrette, Mrs Henderson Presents), Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice), and John Akomfrah (Seven Songs for Malcolm X); and producers Sandy Lieberson (Performance; Rita, Sue and Bob Too), Jeremy Thomas (The Last Emperor, Sexy Beast) and James Schamus (Brokeback Mountain, Hulk).


Film London and its partners will offer a range of assistance including in-kind support from leading facilities and service companies, waived locations fees from many of London's local authorities, and a `revenue share' model which will return a generous percentage of any revenue back to the film-makers. Completed projects will have the opportunity to showcase at the annual London UK Film Focus sales event as well as at major international markets.

The BBC is the project's broadcast partner and will screen the finished films. BBC Programme Acquisition's Head of Films, Steve Jenkins said: "We're delighted to be backing this innovative drive to discover and nurture the British film talent of tomorrow. Television will bring Microwave to a wider audience, giving viewers across the country the opportunity to appreciate creativity at its best, and most inventive."


Stephen FrearsDirector Stephen Frears said: "I wholeheartedly welcome and support the ethos Film London is trying to develop, to make London a good city to make films in, and look forward to seeing bright young talent emerging from this scheme."

Producer James Schamus said: "The next generation of great film-makers, and my generation's most vibrant film capital, the great city of London, deserve each other - and deserve this exciting new endeavor that brings them together. Its openness to the world, its entrepreneurial ethos, and its targeted mission make Microwave a model of its kind, and I look forward to meeting its film-makers and seeing their work."

Judy Counihan, Director of Film at Skillset said: "Skillset fully endorses Film London's Microwave fund. This is a great initiative, providing quality training to encourage and develop the talents of participants across the value chain of the production process. We applaud this excellent opportunity for the next generation of London's feature film-makers."


Paul Collard, Vice President of Film and Digital Services, Ascent Media said: "We are always keen to ensure the next wave of creative talent is nurtured and given every opportunity to develop their skills. London has always had strong ties with film-making and it's important to ensure that we maintain this reputation for having one of the best pools of creative talent anywhere in the world, through initiatives like Microwave."

Steve Smith, Managing Director, AFM Lighting said: "We are delighted to support this great initiative to encourage new film talent and hope Microwave will discover some of the great film-makers of the future."

Graham Hitchen, Head of Creative London said: "London's film industry employs 100,000 people and generates UKP13.6 billion annually for the capital's economy but there is still a huge amount of untapped talent waiting to be discovered. By working with partners to support projects such as Microwave, we can continue to unleash this potential and ensure that London retains its position as the creative capital."

The first three films in the slate are due for completion by March 2007.