FILM / Rushes

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Last December the Ealing studios were sold to the BBRK Group, which pledged to make the site fully operational as well as producing up to 10 films a year. The pledge is being honoured, though in tentative fashion - the west London facility has set about wooing the private investor with a scheme to bankroll British films at script stage.

Investors can purchase a stake in Ealing's 1994 film slate with the Business Expansion Scheme, a tax-free incentive that gives the option of sinking anything between pounds 500 and pounds 40,000 into new movies. To kick-start the venture, pounds 750,000 is needed. The BES has a track record, having co-financed Vadim Jean's Leon the Pig Farmer and Kenneth Branagh's Henry V. Possible future ventures include a Lord Lucan thriller and a children's film from Bob Hoskins.

Ealing Studios' managing director, Alan Latham, strikes an optimistic note: 'This is all about making new British films that people want to go and see.' While there are obviously no guarantees that any of the films will ever make it to production, those who fancy playing movie mogul should find the offer to underwrite 'quality films that make commercial sense' a temptation.

Beatrice Dalle won't, after all, be turning up for the premiere of La Fille de l'air tonight at the Metro cinema in London. So the distributor, Metro Tartan, is holding a Beatrice Dalle lookalike competition to find a suitable stand-in who can say 'Le singe est dans l'arbre' at the appropriate moment.

Hopefuls should appear at the Metro, Rupert Street W1, tonight at 6.30pm to meet a panel of 'experts' in the ways of French cinema. The winner gets to be enigmatic.

Television favourites made into movies dominate the UK and US. The Fugitive stays at Number 1 here, The Beverly Hillbillies slips to Number 2 Stateside, ousted by Tim Burton's stop-motion venture The Nightmare Before Christmas. Few fancied a Dirty Weekend with Michael Winner, Number 10 in London and around the country. The Piano, however, plays a chart-topping tune: the capital's Number 1, Number 7 nationwide.

(Photograph omitted)