Lottery handout for film projects

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The Independent Online
RHYS WILLIAMS Media Correspondent

More than pounds 1m of lottery money is to be channelled into the three major Scottish film projects, one a joint enterprise with BBC Scotland, the Scottish Arts Council announced last night.

William Brown, chairman of the Scottish Arts Council, said it was the first time that the film industry has benefited from the National Lottery.

A feature-length film adaptation of Alasdair Gray's award-wnning novel Poor Things will receive pounds 1m to help meet its pounds 6.5m production budget.

Described as a comic and ingenious retelling of Pygmalion, the film will be shot in Paris, London, Morocco and Scotland, and directed by Sandy Johnson, whose previous credits include Roughnecks and Leaving for the BBC.

Transition, a Channel 4 documentary charting Scotland's move towards the millennium through timelapse photography, will get pounds 135,000 towards its pounds 250,000 budget; Ring of Truth, a short film co-funded by BBC Scotland, receives pounds 92,000, more than half its total cost.

Announcing the awards, Mr Brown said: "Since its inception, the Lottery Committee of the SAC has done an excellent job of making grants to small and large projects all over the country.

"The guiding principle has been to spread the money widely, both geographically and to benefit as many people as possible. Awards to film-makers fulfil these criteria very well, as film is probably one of the most accessible art forms."

t Planet 24, makers of the Big Breakfast and The Word, could become the first UK independent producer to gain a significant toehold in the US market after signing a deal with Buena Vista International, a subisidiary of Walt Disney. The company has been asked to produce four pilots for syndication.

Planet 24 has already developed a US version of the Big Breakfast for Buena Vista which has yet to be screened.