Verve Pictures announce exciting First Feature Distribution Support Scheme to release six debut feature films across a twelve month period. The scheme is supported by an award from the BFI Audience Fund, using money from the National Lottery, to grow audience appetite, expand access and encourage greater enjoyment of a wide range of cinema. First features often tell important, diverse stories that can connect with new audiences but in the current market such films are increasingly struggling to secure distribution. The scheme is open to fiction and documentary films, from the UK and across the world.

In the UK, film receives financial support at the development and production stage and at the point of exhibition. However, between these stages films are often expected to thrive in a very competitive marketplace. First Feature Distribution Support Scheme, a not-for-profit distribution scheme will enable films to be released and to find an audience, however targeted, whilst allowing the focus to be on achieving the best for the film with effective and creative distribution.

Along with contributing to the P&A budget for the films, the award will cover staffing and overhead costs associated with releasing the 6 titles, ensuring audience choice is not limited by commercial restrictions. Verve will not profit from the films released under the scheme and will only be able to recoup the P&A they have invested in each release, with all profits going to the rights holders in lieu of a minimum guarantee.

The first two titles in the scheme will be Pond Life from acclaimed theatre director Bill Buckhurst and Old Boys from director producer team of Toby Macdonald and Luke Morris.

Colin Burch of Verve Pictures comments: ‘It’s great news that over the next 12 months, with the support of the BFI, we will be able to bring six diverse and heartfelt stories from exciting new talents to a wider audience.’

Ben Luxford, Head of UK Wide Audiences comments: ‘It’s fantastic to see a distributorusing the BFI Audience Fund to address a key industry concern in an exciting and innovative way. Colin and Verve are making it their mission to bring first features to audiences who would otherwise miss out on these festival favourites – and we’re proud to be helping them.’

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