Film4 boosted by 20% budget increase

Channel 4 is ramping up its film financing budget, with new films involving Danny Boyle, Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan in the pipeline.

Film4, the broadcaster's film financing arm, will have its budget boosted to £10 million from this year, a 20% spending increase on film development and financing in 2009.

Film4 teamed up again with Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle on his new film, 127 Hours, based on the true-life ordeal of mountaineer Aron Ralston, the trapped climber who amputated his own arm.

Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan will also star in Never Let Me Go, based on Kazuo Ishiguro's acclaimed novel of the same name.

The love story following the lives of three children, Kathy, Tommy and Ruth, who spend their childhood at Hailsham, a seemingly idyllic English boarding school.

Shooting is also under way on Red Riding star Paddy Considine's feature debut Tyrannosaur, a story of a man plagued by violence and a rage that is driving him to self-destruction.

Tessa Ross, controller of Film4 and Channel 4 drama, said: "Film has always been in the DNA of Channel 4, but this added protection, through the extended remit, comes at a time when this significant part of our British culture is in particular need of protection.

"To be able to commit an extra £2 million each year to filmmakers and to work that we care about gives us all great hope for the future."

Film4-backed Four Lions, Chris Morris's directorial debut which tackles the subject of suicide bombers, is also about to go on UK release.

The cash injection comes in the wake of the new Digital Economy Act, which enshrines a commitment to film production into Channel 4's public service remit for the first time.

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